In the Southeast U.S., Is SEEM What It Seems, or More Utility Monopoly?

Posted by Jeff Dennis on Mar 30, 2021 4:34:13 PM

SEEM is it a market

For the past two years, states, advanced energy developers, and corporate buyers of clean energy have expressed interest in creating competitive wholesale electricity markets in the Southeast. They see these markets as potentially reducing consumer costs and facilitating the cost-effective achievement of state and corporate clean energy goals. As calls in the region to study the creation of competitive wholesale market mechanisms in the region steadily grew, surprising news leaked in July that several utilities in the Southeast, including Southern Co., Duke Energy, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, were talking about a new platform for power trading called the Southeast Energy Exchange Market (SEEM), culminating in a filing with FERC in February. The question now: is SEEM a step toward wholesale market competition and greater access to advanced energy in the region, or a preemptive strike by the region’s utilities to avoid true competition? 

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Topics: Wholesale Markets

In Indiana Battle Over Self-Commitment, Did Money-Losing Plants Win This Round? Not Entirely

Posted by Sarah Steinberg on Mar 25, 2021 11:00:00 AM

IURC Makes Self-Scheduling Bit Harder

Last week, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) issued its final order in a proceeding to examine Duke Energy Indiana’s coal-fired unit commitment decisions during the Fall of 2019. While the IURC ultimately declined to order Duke to refund customers for the financial losses it knowingly incurred, the Commission rightly acknowledged that today’s changing energy landscape has complicated the way coal plants should operate. AEE had hoped that the IURC would go further to protect customers from the financial harm caused by Duke’s uneconomic operating practices, but the Commission did push Duke to move toward a better decision-making process for future commitment decisions. With those now under a bit more scrutiny, we look forward to working with Duke on the alternatives we proposed to help the utility give up its costly coal addiction in its 2021 Integrated Resource Plan.

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Topics: PUCs, Regulatory, Wholesale Markets

ERCOT Cold-Weather Blackouts Point to the Need for More Advanced Energy

Posted by Erica Glenn on Feb 17, 2021 4:54:58 PM

Texas frozen

Texas is in the midst of a severe and historic winter weather event, which has led to the worst outages the state has experienced in decades. With over 4 million Texans losing power, all eyes are on the state’s grid manager and market operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), and market participants like power plant owners and operators, demand side resources, and other grid assets as they work around the clock to restore the grid to normal operating conditions. Defenders of the energy status quo are also using the occasion to cast doubt on advanced energy technologies – especially wind power, on which Texas is a national leader. But they’ve got it exactly backwards. The troubles in Texas point to the need for more advanced energy, not less. 

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Topics: 21st Century Electricity System, Wholesale Markets, Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance, Texas

To Unlock More Corporate Advanced Energy Procurement, Look to RTOs and ISOs

Posted by Caitlin Marquis on Feb 3, 2021 11:56:59 AM

To Unlock More Corporate Advanced Energy Procurement, Look to RTOs and ISOs

It’s no secret that Fortune 500 companies want more advanced energy. Over the past five years, these companies have signed contracts for more than 24 GW of large-scale renewable energy, pursued thousands of onsite solar installations, and embraced newer technologies like battery storage. The role of organized competitive wholesale markets as enablers of advanced energy procurement by large buyers is, however, a bit of a trade secret. Which is too bad, because policymakers could meet the needs of businesses and accelerate the transition to a cleaner economy all at once by expanding and reforming these markets. Here’s how.

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Topics: Wholesale Markets, Advanced Energy Buyers Group

Time to Stop Sticking Hoosiers with the Bill for Running Coal Plants at a Loss

Posted by Sarah Steinberg on Jan 13, 2021 11:23:50 AM

IN Self-Scheduling proposed order-745

Over the past several months, our Indiana team has been intervening in a proceeding before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to examine Duke Energy Indiana’s coal self-commitment practices. Self-commitment refers to a process by which a utility instructs the regional market within which it operates – in this case, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) – to dispatch the utility’s own resource unit regardless of whether or not it is the cheapest available at the time. Many vertically integrated utilities have been using this mechanism to run their expensive coal plants more frequently than economics would otherwise dictate. They do this because it is not their shareholders who suffer financial losses, but rather their captive ratepayers: When the cost to operate these units exceeds the market clearing price, utilities pass along the difference to customers, in part through fuel adjustment clause proceedings. AEE is working to curb this self-serving utility practice.

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Topics: PUCs, Regulatory, Wholesale Markets