Wait – Ohio utility regulators did what?
The $6-billion bailout of uneconomical coal and nuclear plants is bad enough. But the decision by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to let two power companies saddle ratepayers with their bad debt also sets a dangerous precedent that could have ramifications for consumers in other states.
This is more than a local rate case. It’s about traditional utilities going on the offense against new and cleaner power providers that offer cheaper rates in a competitive energy market – a drama playing out nationwide.
All eyes are now on the federal agency overseeing wholesale electricity markets to see if the Ohio deal will stand or fall.
If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should side with Ohio and the two utilities, it could set off a domino effect of fossil fuel plant bailouts that will hurt the environment and consumer pocket books. There are indications similar utility subsidy deals are on the horizon in Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Texas.
That’s why it’s so important to get this one right.
Protecting corporate profits at consumers’ expense
In essence, the Ohio deal forces power customers in the state – including those serviced by other providers – to buy electricity from FirstEnergy’s and American Electric Power’s uneconomical plants, and regardless of cost.
Here’s how the scheme works: FirstEnergy and AEP’s plants can’t compete in the marketplace because the power they produce is too expensive. So the utilities convinced state regulators to guarantee the purchase of the electricity, and to pass on the cost to Ohio ratepayers. The bill to consumers comes to $6 billion over the life of the contracts.
The power companies have defended the deal, saying their coal and nuclear plants need to keep running to maintain a reliable supply of electricity, steady market prices, and job security for plant workers.
Of course, this is not how it’s supposed to work in a competitive marketplace.
The truth is, the Ohio u
Solar power generation is now cheaper than coal power generation, India’s energy minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday.
The latest auction of solar energy capacity in India achieved a record low price of 4.34 rupees per kilowatt hour, a record low price, which prompted Goyal to say that solar energy is now cheaper than coal-fired energy generation. Climate Home reported that Goyal, whose official title is the Minister of Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy, predicted a surge in solar energy in the near future.
“I think a new coal plant would give you costlier power than a solar plant,” he said. “Of course there are challenges of 24/7 power. We accept all of that – but we have been able to come up with a solar-based long term vision that is not subsidy based.”
According to Climate Home, solar energy prices in India is 4.34 rupees a kilowatt-hour, in comparison to coal tariffs range of three to five rupees a kilowatt-hour.
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MidAmerican Energy reveals record $3.6 billion wind energy plan
MidAmerican Energy Company officials and Gov. Terry Branstad announced a wind energy project Thursday that would the largest development investment in state history.
This proposed project will increase company's wind energy equal to 85 percent of annual customer use.
MidAmerican Energy is filing a request with the Iowa Utilities Board to build Wind XI, a project that will add up to 2,000 megawatts of wind generation in Iowa. The proposed $3.6 billion project is being done without asking for an increase in customer rates or financial assistance from the state to pay for it. The announcement is a big step toward realizing the company's vision of 100 percent renewable energy for customers in the state.
The locations for the new turbines have not yet been announced, but most of the existing MidAmerican turbines are scattered around western Iowa.
Branstad said he is proud of MidAmerican Energy's long-standing and ongoing commitment to clean energy, which has helped make Iowa a national leader in renewable energy.
"This project puts Iowa on track to be the first state in the nation to generate more than 40 percent of its energy needs from wind power -- far ahead of any other state. Today, Iowa is the only state to have crossed the 30 percent mark," he said. "We welcome this opportunity to expand Iowa's renewable energy and thank MidAmerican Energy for making this investment in our great state. Every wind turbine you see in Iowa means income for farmers, revenue for counties and jobs for Iowa families."
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, while on an overseas Republican Lt. Governors Association economic development delegation, added her thoughts as well.
"The announcement today shows the level of commitment MidAmerican Energy has for providing an even greater amount of renewable energy to their customers," said Reynolds. "Companies that we recruit from all over the world cite our reliable cost of renewable energy a
I hear a lot of WHINE! Obama this, Obama that! Nice temper tantrums....
Businessmen screwed up coal companies. Screwed workers. Will screw America...
The republicans let the management screw the employees over.....
The Republican Congress crashed coal......
COAL IS DEAD!