Saturday, September 27, 2014

The precursor: Massachusetts' Electric Rates Soar

A 37% electricity rate hike for Christmas.
New England, with its protectionism opposing Quebec's hydro power and anti-everything reliable positions, must have done something bad.

Massachusetts' Electric Rates Soar | NECN:
For years energy experts have warned that New England would pay a price for wanting to use more and more natural gas for heating buildings and to replace dirty coal-fired power plants for producing electricity, while not making any investments in expanding gas pipelines.

Tuesday came shocking word of just how much that situation will cost in a matter of weeks, as National Grid, Massachusetts’s biggest utility, said it needs to seek a 37 percent rate hike for the six months beginning November 1.
...a monthly increase of $33 a month for a homeowner or business using 500 kilowatt-hours of power monthly, or a 37 percent increase in the overall bill. The big driver is that the cost of electricity – which is added to delivery charges and green energy fees to become the total bill – has jumped to 16.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, up from 10 cents last winter and 8.3 cents under the current warm-weather rates.
The entire story can be read at NECN

or just watch it:

I expect New York is next in line for enormous price spikes. They allowed utilities to kick recovering the cost of last winter's pricing down the line, but that may simply exacerbate the coming hikes. New York may lose baseload plants, as at least 3 nuclear plants are threatened there by expiring contracts, licenses, and an enemy in the governor's office.

Addendum: I'm not looking for an Old England either

The Barrel blog has a post on Europe, and particularly the U.K., that seems very much related.
Keeping the electricity flowing in Europe and the UK…or at least trying:
Among the many brilliant and baffling woodcuts by the Dutch artist MC Escher is a depiction of what appears to be a triangle made of three sections of wood, which is in fact an impossible construct owing to the way the joints appear to fit together.
If it existed at all, it would resemble the leg of an insect, which viewed from one position only would appear to enclose a triangle, but in reality it would form a three-part zigzag in space, two of its ends far apart.
Escher’s heirs have obviously been at work on the European electricity market, whose three pillars– sustainability, affordability and security–are clearly incompatible with each other, but it has been presented nevertheless as a coherent whole.
Nobody knows yet what the margin of comfort for this winter is in the UK. The national energy regulator Ofgem is poised shortly to produce its calculation of available capacity and likely maximum demand, to produce the percentage of surplus generation.
Some sources of supply are very certain to deliver at peak (gas, coal, nuclear) while others (wind) are not, and Ofgem takes that into account in its calculations as well.
But the feeling is that the supply surplus will be very thin, as delays to the UK’s new energy market law, and debates about capacity mechanisms, have come too late to put new plants in place for the coming few winters.
Meanwhile, older plants have closed or been mothballed faster than new ones have opened. And affordable electricity generated overseas will only arrive in the UK if there is nobody on the continent with a different, higher idea of affordability, always an uncertain proposition.
The question being asked now in Britain is whether the lights will stay on this winter.

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