Sunday, May 25, 2014

US Court throws out Energy Saving Rule

Appeals Court Throws Out Energy Saving Rule Ruling is a Blow to Electricity Conservation Efforts | WSJ (subscription)
A federal appeals court dealt a blow to electricity-conservation efforts on Friday when it struck down a rule allowing big energy consumers to reap special payments in exchange for cutting their power use.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nullified a 2011 order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that promoted paying businesses to reduce electricity consumption during heavy times of demand. The court ruled that as a federal regulator FERC had gone too far, encroaching in retail electricity markets that are under the exclusive jurisdiction of states.
The FERC order was considered integral to federal efforts to curb carbon emissions from power plants and support energy-efficiency investments by big consumers, from grocery store chains to aluminum manufacturers. But electricity suppliers struggling against low power prices and lackluster demand said those payments had become excessive.
The Electric Power Supply Association filed the lawsuit on behalf of power generators that sell electricity into wholesale markets regulated by FERC. The group's executive director John Shelk praised the court's ruling, saying it "vindicates what we and so many others said about this ill-advised order all along."
Although the court didn't directly rule on negawatt prices paid to consumers, it said payments looked like a "potential windfall" for allowing customers to collect sums of money comparable to what electricity generators get for actually providing power, which the court inferred had a higher value.

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