New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision and Environmental Control Initiatives

.by Roger Caiazza

The excellent series of posts on energy planning by Planning Engineer and Rud Istavan, a similar series at the Science of Doom and a recent post by Peter Lang all outline the difficulties implementing renewable energy and other components of the so-called energy system of the future.

This post describes a potential collision of this renewable energy future with the reality of today’s often competing interests. Specifically, this post will describe a looming issue with New York State energy policy and environmental regulations that will bear watching in the next few years.

New York State is proposing to change how electricity is generated, distributed, managed and consumed in its Reforming the Energy Initiative  (REV). According to the website summary:

“New York is actively spurring clean energy innovation, bringing new investments into the State and improving consumer choice and affordability. The REV initiative will lead to regulatory changes that promote more efficient use of energy, deeper penetration of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar, wider deployment of “distributed” energy resources, such as micro grids, roof-top solar and other on-site power supplies, and storage. It will also promote markets to achieve greater use of advanced energy management products to enhance demand elasticity and efficiencies. These changes, in turn, will empower customers by allowing them more choice in how they manage and consume electric energy.” Recently Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Public Service to start implementing a Clean Energy Standard to meet “the State’s long term goal to provide 50% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030. In other words this is pretty much the approach that renewable advocates have been proposing.

An interview with New York’s ‘energy czar’ Richard Kauffman [link] provides further context:

“We recognized that business as usual is bad public policy,” explains Richard Kauffman, who is leading the effort as the chairman of energy and finance for New York State.

New York saw REV as an opportunity to make the most of clean energy’s economic and environmental potential. Without some big changes, the power industry was headed for trouble in the form of rising utility bills and growing customer dissatisfaction. Policymakers feared the emergence of a socially unjust clean energy economy, one made up of haves-and-have-nots.

“It requires a change in culture and business model for the whole system,” Kauffman says.

REV moves the electric industry away from a monopoly, top-down and incentive driven system to one that is governed by the market and emphasizes distributed energy.

One of the most interesting changes is a new job created for utilities. They will run a distributed system platform, a kind of market exchange, where microgrids, solar, energy efficiency and other distributed energy resources will compete to serve the grid.

“The polices being undertaken are pro-consumer, pro-innovation, markets-based. And they have as an effect, a system which over time will become more affordable and resilient and more valuable to customers. And it will also be cleaner,” Kauffman says.

Under REV, utilities won’t own distributed energy (except under rare circumstances.) They will instead achieve their capital efficiencies – and earn profit — in the management of the distributed system platform. The utilities might, for example, achieve capital efficiencies by encouraging more distributed energy, demand response or energy efficiency in areas where the grid is congested.

My particular expertise is the regulatory interface of environmental regulations on the operation of electric generating units. I believe that implementing new EPA initiatives to control ozone will bring some shortcomings of these energy initiatives to a head in unanticipated ways sooner than many expect.

In particular, the control of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) to reduce ozone pollution is going to require changes to the electric generating sector that are at odds with implementation of the energy policies. On October 1, 2015, EPA lowered the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from 75 ppb. On November 16, 2015, EPA proposed an update to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) to address interstate transport of air pollution under the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The CSAPR update revises the rule to address interstate transport for the ozone standard and requires 25 states including New York to adjust their 2017 Ozone Season allowance limits for NOx. The bottom line is that these initiatives will require further NOx reductions from NY Electric Generating Units (EGUs).

However there are implementation issues. In its proposal to further reduce New York emissions, EPA did not recognize that New York has already implemented its own regulations that reduced EGU emissions 67% since 2005. More importantly, because of the reductions implemented for existing NY programs there simply are no cost-effective reductions available to realistically meet the proposed CSAPR EPA budget. If you want to look at my projection for emissions and operations in New York for the CSAPR rule, go to and search for EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0500-0322 in the docket.

However, the CSAPR problem pales relative to meeting the lower ozone standard problem. I believe that meeting this limit will require actions that directly contradict the plan for the reformed energy electric system in New York. Peak ozone is an episodic problem with the highest concentrations observed during high energy demand periods. The hazy, hot and humid heat waves when everyone wants to run their air conditioners are the periods of high ozone. Therefore, controlling units that only operate during those peak demand periods will be necessary to meet the new standard.

In particular, NY state environmental regulators have indicated that they think that the 82 simple cycle combustion turbines at four different facilities used for peaking power in New York City cannot continue to operate as they do now and plans have to be developed for their retirement and replacement. Those units are so old that it is very unlikely that cost-effective add-on controls can be implemented. At the same time REV claims that it will reduce the cost of power during high energy demand periods by shaving the peak demand and which will reduce the price paid to generators during those periods. Unfortunately high prices in peak periods is the current business model for viable peaking generation. If you don’t pay them for that service how will they survive absent direct subsidy?

In order to understand the New York problem, consider July 19, 2013 when an all-time record for state-side energy demand was set. New York City is a general load pocket and within the city there also are smaller embedded load pockets so in-city generation is necessary during these high energy demand days. The Astoria (504.2 MW summer capability), Gowanus (550.3 MW), Narrows (283.4 MW) and Ravenswood (289.2 MW) combustion turbine facilities are located within the city and only provide energy to in-City sources. On July 19, 2013 the capacity of those turbines was 48% of their maximum capability and they produced 18,874 MWh of gross load.

We have to see numbers to determine if the claim that REV could replace peaking turbines is reasonable. In general the claim is that renewables or distributed generation is going to “solve” the problem that prices are high during peaking periods and that is unfair to consumers. First consider solar photo-voltaic power. Assuming 0.75 kWH per day per square yard, then 8.1 square miles of solar photovoltaics would be needed to cover the 18,874 MWh load demand which is not something that can be done within the City. What about wind energy? On the peak hour (5 PM) the peaking turbines were at 83% of full capacity generating or 1,354 MW. According to the NYISO “more than 1,000 megawatts was generated on July 19, 2013” which means that the entire current wind energy capability of New York State would not have provided enough power for the peak hour. Moreover, neither of these gross estimates considers whether either intermittent resource could match the load shape.

Now consider distributed generation. The Berkeley Lab describes examples of  microgrid distributed generation.   In order for the following microgrids included in that summary to provide enough power for the peak hour, it would require the following: 1,297 Mesa del Sol systems (mixed commercial-residential microgrid in Albuquerque, NM), 192 Santa Rita systems (Jail on 0.5 km2 site in Dublin, CA), 640 Sendai systems (Microgrid supplying the teaching hospital of Tohuku Fukushi University in Japan), or 36 New York University systems (On-site power and Combined Heat and Power for the NYU campus).

Clearly REV plans to use all these different generating types and reduce power consumption through energy efficiency and conservation programs. However, these back-of-the envelope calculations suggest that New York should demonstrate how they anticipate their energy vision will address this particular issue. Clearly in-city renewable energy cannot solve this problem. Ultimately, if REV will in fact encourage renewable energy development, then the particular problem of getting this power to New York City must be addressed. As a result, the State should demonstrate how existing transmission constraints will be removed to allow more renewable power to be transmitted to replace in-city generation. Also it must be kept in mind that there are limitations on power transmission requiring in-city generation necessary to prevent a reoccurrence of the NYC blackout caused by the loss of transmission lines.

In my opinion, however, the ultimate unaddressed issue is how will REV incentivize investments in peaking turbines if that plan cannot replace the peaking turbine resource? What kind of business case can New York make to de-regulated generators to have them make the investments in New York City peaking generation given the REV goal to shave high energy demand prices? I can’t see how this will get resolved other than the State providing guaranteed contracts which ultimately re-regulates the market and sure as heck will cost NY consumers more because not only will we subsidize renewables and distributed generation but also the energy resources necessary to maintain reliable power.

This post is my personal opinion and not the Environmental Energy Alliance of New York (EEANY). In no way do they reflect the position of any of my employers, either present or past, nor do they reflect the position of EEANY member companies.

JC comment:  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments civil and relevant.



158 responses to “New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision and Environmental Control Initiatives

  1. > In my opinion, however, the ultimate unaddressed issue is how will REV incentivize investments in peaking turbines if that plan cannot replace the peaking turbine resource?

    You seem to have asked the right question – “announceables” such as this REV issue have always left large bits out (even small bits, such as *how* to “shave” demand ?)

    But you appear not to have mentioned one of the biggies. These schemes always burble on about cleaner, greener, cheaper but never address reliability. Unpredictable intermittency is both uncivilised and very dangerous

    Here in Aus we have politicians earnestly telling us that they “won’t let the lights go out”. The fact that they think it necessary to even state this most obvious of civilised anchors is what scares me about them, since how this is to be achieved by cleaner, greener, cheaper methods is *never* stated

    • Because it cannot be.
      Renewables are not cheaper stand alone, else they woild not still need massive subsidies after all these years. Neither wind nor solar are in their infancy anymore.
      They are not net greener, because intermittency requires fossil fueled backup over half the time (solar) to maybe 70-75 percent of the time.
      And favoring them over dispatchable generation drive that reliable cost up as reliable utilization goes down.
      When this music finally stops, it will be very ugly for warmunist politicians and their renewable rent seekers. New York (this post), California (PE and I, UK (euan Mearns and Paul Homewood with me kibbitzing), and South Australia (province?) seem like prime candidates for the equivalent of the French Revolution. Regards as always to down under from up over. Enjoyed every business trip there after shaking off jet lag. And great business people. Heck, my star business protege from my years in Germany permanently immigrated to Melbourne after I returned to the US for the sake of my kids.

      • > … and South Australia (province?) seem like prime candidates for the equivalent of the French Revolution

        Indeed so

        Just today:

        South Australia is now a mendicant State, with no water and heaps of desert (geographically challenged), govt-subsidised industry now gone, mining projects dependent mostly on uranium and a zillion subsidised windmills that require “backup” power from the lignite coalfields of an adjacent State about 99% of the time. It does have the famous wine-growing Barossa Valley but this is dependent on imported water

        Still, I expect not perhaps the guillotine from the French Revolution but rather persistent migration to other States, eventually leaving the politicians and bureaucrats all to themselves :)

      • South Australia? Sounds like the EU.

      • The fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies sure have their knickers in a knot over the switch to wind power in South Australia. I can understand why the competition is not welcomed, but it seems mean spirited to hope for it to fail.

      • @max10k

        > … it seems mean spirited to hope for it to fail

        It already has

        This is why I noted my opening comment that no AGW activist actually ever addresses this issue

        Truly childish …

      • Not from what I read. Perhaps we define “failure” differently.

      • @ max10k

        > Perhaps we define “failure” differently

        Nope. I just understand what I read

        “South Australia is now a mendicant State, with no water and heaps of desert (geographically challenged), govt-subsidised industry now gone, mining projects dependent mostly on uranium and a zillion subsidised windmills that require “backup” power from the lignite coalfields of an adjacent State about 99% of the time”

        What is there about that list of FACTS you don’t get ?

        There has already been one “unexpected” widespread grid failure. The dills in Govt are now running around screaming for more interstate connectors so that lignite-fired power stations can save them

        Thinking this is success is a guaranteed diagnostic for a greenie troll

      • Sorry, but I am skeptical about Catallaxy Files being a reliable source of facts. It seems to be a good source of opinions.

      • How can the concept of ELCC not even be mentioned here? — especially where New York is considered a leader in developing this analytical approach to engineering economics (including things like a solar load controller to coordinate renewable energy and efficiency measures).

    • As noted in the other comments, reliability is pretty much the forgotten aspect of REV and the other plans. I suspect it will be much the same case as Germany. The lights may stay on but only because of increased reliance on New York’s neighbors.

    • Why not just replace the peaking turbines with better models that have no particular problem with low-NOx requirements (e.g. LM6000 and LMS100)?

      As noted earlier, there is no possible way for renewables to cover the peaking needs of the city.

      Looks to me like the leftist politations are hell-bent on running businesses out of New York. Done a pretty good job already with the exorbitant taxes on everybody and everything.

      • PS As I recall, a large number of the peaking turbines are Frame 5 & 6 units that are not particularly efficient. New aero -derivative units are vastly superior.

      • Vastly superior turbines still suck, not generate, when the wind does not blow.

      • kellermfk,

        The issue that Caiazza is making is that all this new stuff costs $$$$$, and nobody wants to pay for it.

        The bottom line is that people:

        1) want something for nothing, and believe that somebody else can always be made to pay,

        2) believe that if they can create a non-centralized, non-hierarchical “horizontal” society that nirvana can be ahcieved, or

        3) have been seduced by the magical thinking of “progress,” and believe that the only thing standing between them and the glorious future are those big, bad, evil utility companies.

        One thing’s for sure, and that is there are no shortage of demagogues and preachers of the faith out there.

      • Vastly superior turbines still suck, not generate, when the wind does not blow.

        GAS turbines generate whenever they’re needed.

      • Kellermfk – I agree with the reasons that Glenn Stehle gave – replacement gas turbines will cost money. As far as I can see no one in the Cuomo Administration has even figured out that they will be needed much less that their plan destroys the business case for making the investments to replace them.

      • Vastly superior turbines still suck, not generate, when the wind does not blow. I did mean to say superior turbines are very expensive and it’ is costly to pay for superior turbines when they are not being used due to power from the wind. That usless stuff never delivers full capacity and cost a huge additional huge amount. If they cannot carry the full load 24/7 then get rid of the wind option. It sucks to pay for superior turbines that are only used as a backup.

  2. Another good energy post. Cuomo clearly does not understand. Perhaps after the UK goes dark (if not this winter, then surely next given announced dispatchable generation closures) he might. Another issue is that (unlike Texas ERCOT) New YorK state is not a grid. It is a part of the Northeast grid which also includes Ontario (Toronto). Perhaps some of the other states and provinces on that grid will be less than pleased footing part of the bill for Cuomo’s foolish aspirations. Ohio, probably not. Maine, probably not. Taxachusetts, maybe. Vermont has Bernie Sanders already, so they probably will chip in. And then raise all their tourist prices and taxes on vacationing New Yorkers to get even.

  3. Thank you for explaining the reality, something the renewable energy promoting politicians never do. Afterall, they don’t sacrifice anything personally. They have good-paying jobs and political power, if costs go up and/or energy dependabilitydrops, they won’t be in an insecure or unsafe position. As always, the poor and middle class will suffer, as well as foot the bill.

  4. “It requires a change in culture and business model for the whole system,” Kauffman says.


    “It will no longer be immoral, unethical nor will it be bad business or bad for business to rob from Peter to pay Paul because Joe is picking up the tab.” ~Uncle Sam

  5. The very negative realities associated with Governor Cuomo’s mad push for the ‘Unreliables’ is already evident in New York State (NYS). I began documenting the madness here in NYS over a decade ago now.

    According to NYSERDA, the average NYS residential electricity rate in 1999 was 13.3 cents per kilowatt hour. The first NYS wind factories went up in 2000 – Wethersfield & Madison. You can read about how that whole mess is turning out now that Madison’s PILOT has expired 15 years later, here:

    New York’s Madison Wind Farm: A Cautionary Tale:

    Twenty wind factories later across New York State, and the average residential electricity rate in NYS as of February 2015 has risen to 19.8 cents per kWh (according to the EIA, as cited by NYSERDA). That is one of the highest rates in the nation, and nearly a 50% increase since NYS began mindlessly plastering countrysides with industrial wind factories. (Only 2% of NYS’s electricity comes from coal, and we have an endless supply of hydro.)

    Wind energy’s actual performance shows it is a LEMON by any measure. Indeed, New York State’s wind factories have been averaging a pathetic 24% of rated capacity – many days providing NOTHING AT ALL.

    Any other piece of equipment – be it a machine, person or animal – that operated only 24% of the time would have been put out to pasture long ago! Unfortunately, when the state and federal government are in charge of spending OUR money, economic reality doesn’t seem to matter.

    Adding insult to injury, few, if any jobs are created by these projects. There are 308 industrial wind turbines sprawling throughout five towns on the west side of the Warsaw Valley here in Wyoming County in Western NY. Few – if any, meaningful permanent jobs were created here – maybe a few dead bird and bat collectors. The only thing that HAS been generated by these giant wealth transfer machines is complete & utter civil discord. People now hate one another. Even families have been divided. Lawsuits persist.

    New York State has yet to do any health studies while continuing to criminally site these giant machines only hundreds of feet from peoples’ homes, though NYS officials admitted they knew ‘infrasound’ from wind turbines IS a problem worldwide back in 2009.

    And yet, Governor Cuomo just kicked off ANOTHER Multi-$Billion dollar ‘green’ fund to further escalate the madness:

    Here are just a few articles documenting the mess going on in New York State thanks to Governor Cuomo and his crony pals:

    ‘Clean’ Power Plan Problem – Wind Power Destruction in New York State:

    Industrial Wind vs. Rural America, Electricity Markets:

    Wherever Sited, Industrial Wind is a Loser:

    NY’s Push for the ‘Unreliables’:

    New York Wind Wars – Hiding the Facts:

    NYS’ Multi-Billion Dollar Energy S-WIND-LE:

    • marykaybarton, your links were interesting, albeit one sided. I thought the limit here is 2 links. You posted 6 or 7. If I misunderstood the rules I’m glad to know I can link a lot.

      • I was unaware of the rule, but greatly appreciate Dr. Curry’s exception to allow the inclusion of some of the history regarding the destruction of rural New York State communities by industrial wind sprawl over the years – for no net benefit.

      • The intermittency, the power undensity, the infrasound. These are monuments to man’s folly, and will endure as a warning.

      • marykaybarton, wind farms are built to generate electricity, not generate jobs. If in Texas one job was created for every 1.7 million dollars invested in a wind farm, that just shows wind farms are not labor intensive, which is a good thing.

    • When it comes to the development of renewables in New York state to date, the most that can said about it is that it is unremarkable.

      • Exactly! Many $Billions of taxpayer & ratepayer dollars have been wasted, NYS electricity & tax rates continue to “skyrocket,” many peoples’ property values & quality of life have been stolen from them – sacrificed on the altar of ‘green’ energy, and rural-residential communities absolutely devastated, for no net benefit.

        New York State was already getting nearly 50% of its electricity from emissions-free sources of nuclear and hydro before the mad rush for the ‘unreliables’ began. Apparently Governor Cuomo — who has already overseen the closing of the Fitzpatrick nuclear plant and continues to push for the closure of Indian Point nuclear plant — believes that we can somehow replace these nuclear power plants by covering all of Upstate, Central & Western NY with giant bird-chopping wind lemons.

      • Lemons, bah. They are war memorials, and we should bow our heads.

    • When it comes to renewables, Texas is the big success story, achieving a fairly large renewables footprint while at the same time maintianing electric prices low.

      How did it do this?

    • And California is the great failure when it comes to the implmentation of renewables.

      It has achieved about the same amount of power generation from renewables as Texas.

    • But California has done this by inflicting a great deal of harm on its citizens.

      • All New England States, except Maine, have higher electricity prices than California. So do New York and Alaska. I’m not sure the residents of these states find the price of electricity more painful than the prices of anything else they buy. Comparing prices by State doesn’t mean much unless you also compare incomes and consumption.

  6. No problems here that cannot be solved by simply trucking fully-charged commercial-sized Tesla Powerwall batteries from the desert.

  7. Much of the “so-called energy system of the future” is demonstrably an energy system of the past.

  8. Better lay in a load of candles ‘n maybe a Hibachi stove.

    • Beth, I wonder how the clothes the boy is wearing were made? Did he make enough energy with his “energy resilience” to supply the manufacturing, transport and supply the produced and supplied him with the clothes he’s wearing? Just asking :). However, I guess it’s better than wind and solar; at least his thing can provide energy on demand, unlike wind and solar.

      • Peter Lang advocates nuclear power. He is afraid wind and solar are a threat to the future of nuclear, and he may be right. Europe favors wind and solar over nuclear for new power.

        By 10 years of age, the report found that the contribution of an average UK windfarm towards meeting electricity demand had declined by a third.

        That reduction in performance leads the study team to believe that it will be uneconomic to operate windfarms for more than 12 to 15 years — at odds with industry predictions of a 20- to 25-year lifespan.

        It’s like this.
        New wind, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric, and landfill gas plants are eligible to receive either: (1) a $23.0/MWh ($11.0/MWh for technologies other than wind, geothermal and closed-loop biomass) inflation-adjusted production tax credit over the plant’s first ten years of service or (2) a 30% investment tax credit,

        Wind power for new installation is estimated by the EIA to be about $23 dollars per megawatt hour cheaper than nuclear.
        1. The tax credits are more than the difference.
        2. The wind is non-dispatchable
        3. Windmills have a 1/3 reduction in output in 10 years and replacement is recommended in 12-15 years.
        4. The LCOE is computed on 30 years. The nuclear plants last 40-60 years and wind only lasts 15 if you are willing to put up with less than 66% of output for half a decade.
        5. China’s HTG-PM nuclear reactors (200 MW) have a target price of $1500/KWe. For a 40 year reactor that has significantly less O&M (no refueling outages – much like LFTR) that is around 1/3 the LCOE cost for US PWR nuclear reactors. Just to be clear – the cost per MWe of name-plate capacity for the HTG-PM is projected about the same as wind and the HTG-PM maximum capacity factor is virtually 100% vs 0% to 36% for wind.

        Renewables are flat out uncompetitive with some of the new nuclear technologies, and given that land will become an ever more precious commodity, that will never change.

        We need to remove the renewable energy subsidies immediately to stop an indefensible misdeployment of energy resources.

      • I don’t what a wind farm in my back yard, of anywhere near me, or feeding into a grid I draw my electricity from, or anywhere in the country where I have to pay taxes, or anwhere in any country in the world that produces the goods I buy – (for anyone who doesn’t understand the reason, its because of the higher cost of electricity and the higher costs of the goods produced in that country). The UN should do something useful for once and ban uneconomic renewables.

      • max1ok said:

        Europe favors wind and solar over nuclear for new power.

        Right. At least until they got a little taste of the sticker shock for renewables.

        Spain was the first to feel the pain.

      • Glenn, those are nice charts, but who expects investment in anything new to go up up up and nothing but up forever. I imagine if you looked at a chart for investment in nuclear power back when it was new you would see a curve similar to those your charts for wind power.

      • @max10k

        “Europe favors wind and solar over nuclear for new power.”

        Oh really? You mean INSTALLED power?… like the “p” in Wp of PV?… the power that is NEVER EVER generated?… not even for 1 minute? :-)

        As a matter of fact, this is the official statistics about EU electricity production:

        … and as you can see nuclear is no.1 electricity source in Europe, pal!

        Nice try, though.

      • Robert, something is missing from your post.

      • He’s a boy scout playing at back ter nay-chur, Peter,
        kinda’ like mid-city greens wishing ter return to low
        energy suss-tainable living.

    • Local and sustainable too!

      • Glenn Stehle said,

        “Spain was the first to feel the pain”

        Yes, and that’s why Spain’s Iberdrola came to the U.S. – to harvest the lucrative tax incentives and subsidies still being offered here in the U.S. Guess it’s too much to hope that our officials might learn from the expensive lessons already learned by others.

        Sen Chuck Schumer pushed for Iberdrola’s purchase of power distributor Energy East (NYSEG & RG&E) here in New York State. As reported by former employees, Iberdrola has gutted previously-existing maintenance programs on substations and transmission lanes (greatly increasing hazardous conditions for employees, and further undermining the safety & reliability of our grid system here). Instead, Iberdrola is aggressively focusing on building more wind factories across New York State, since that’s where they deem the ‘easy money’ is. It is a lose-lose situation for New York State ratepayers and taxpayers, and our environment.

      • This administration deliberately ignored the lessons from Spain, in fact, it conspired to lie about the situation in Spain.

        You could look it up.

      • The pain in Spain is mainly in your brain.

      • Ineffective ‘n intermittier,
        unsustainable ‘n costlier,
        anybody knows
        that’s how it goes…
        unless for raisons d’etat
        it’s politic to look the other way.

  9. James Taranto’s Best of the Web column in the WSJ has a feature called Metaphor Alert. The REV takes the prize.

    clean energy innovation
    improving consumer choice and affordability
    more efficient use of energy
    deeper penetration of renewable energy resources
    wider deployment of “distributed” energy resources
    micro grids
    roof-top solar
    on-site power supplies and storage
    promote markets
    advanced energy management
    enhance demand elasticity and efficiencies
    empower customers
    more choice
    50% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030
    business as usual
    bad public policy
    clean energy’s economic and environmental potential
    the power industry was headed for trouble
    rising utility bills
    growing customer dissatisfaction
    socially unjust clean energy economy
    change in culture
    business model for the whole system
    moves the electric industry away from a monopoly, top-down and incentive driven system
    governed by the market
    emphasizes distributed energy
    a distributed system platform
    market exchange
    energy efficiency
    distributed energy resources
    compete to serve the grid
    more affordable
    capital efficiencies
    encouraging more distributed energy
    demand response
    energy efficiency

  10. Don’t know how other solar companies are doing, but Sun Edison is circling the ole drain.

    • Reminds me of Chesapeake Energy which fell from about $30 a share to $2 a share in a year and a half. The reasons are different. Sun Edison has legal problems. Chesapeake was hurt by the oil price drop.

      • Sun Edison’s “legal problems” are due to its failure to meet multiple dead lines for the building of solar “farms” in Hawaii. They brought this on themselves by promising more than they could deliver and the contract stipulated these results if the deadlines weren’t met.

      • Looks like the company had other problems before this event. From the document:

        Sellers had been in default under the PPAs and had not cured important missed milestones. Hawaiian Electric made many accommodations in an effort to see the Waipio PV Project. Lanikuhana Solar Project, and Kawailoa Solar Project (the “Projects*’) completed as promised. Beginning in October of 2015, Company allowed several extensions and deferrals of
        milestones and conditions precedent to try and ensure the Projects stayed on track and provided the intended benefits for Hawaiian Electric’s customers. Despite these efforts. Sellers continuously failed to meet Guaranteed Project Milestones. Seller’s Conditions Precedent and
        Reporting Milestones under the PPAs. In addition. Sellers* parent company, SunEdison appears to be distress

      • max10k,

        Some oil and gas producers have weathered the oil price crash without too much damage to their stock prices.

        The magical combination seems to be.

        1) Little debt, and

        2) Assets in the Permian Basin

        An example of this is Diamondback Energy.

        You’ll never make a believer out of the peak oil faithful, but there it is.

      • jim2, thanks for the details on Sun. I didn’t know all that.

        Glenn, I mentioned Chesapeake Resources because I get monthly royalty checks from the company and have felt the pain of the price decline.

    • Solar city ain’t setting the world on fire either.

  11. David L. Hagen

    Roger Caiazze
    Thanks for explaining the conflicts between claims and current power generation reality.
    California’s goal of 50% “solar” by 2030 will create a 20,000 MW “Duck Curve” ramp over 30 hours as the sun goes down! – Up >500% from ~4,000 MW in 2012!
    Re: “there simply are no cost-effective reductions available to realistically meet the proposed CSAPR EPA budget”
    VAST Power Systems, Inc., has patented methods to:

    * increase simple cycle gas turbine net power by > 70%
    * increase single gas turbine efficiency from ~ 42% to ~ 52%
    * reduce emissions from 25 ppm to < 1 ppm for both NOx and CO without catalysts
    * improve ROI.

    Now to commercialize them to provide those “cost-effective reductions”!

  12. New York has decided the external costs of dirty energy makes clean energy compelling, despite arguments to the contrary. I believe New York’s REV initiative is a step in the right direction. I hope it works out well.

    • Destroying the environment you claim you wish to save by supporting the building of sprawling, unreliable, inefficient, bird-chopping wind factories is as stupid as it gets. There is nothing ‘clean’ about the dirty wind business.

  13. I live out here in CA and I put solar panels on my roof. It cost a lot, but the Federal government gave me a 30% tax credit. And my first years electric bill dropped about 85%. I figure I’ll be able to pay it off in 7 years maximum, more likely 6 years, then it’s all ROI from there on out.

    But, I’ll be able to pay it off even MORE quickly if the cost of electricity goes up. That’s why I’m such a big fan of CA’s 50% energy from renewables, and all that energy storage technology to make it practical. It will make my investment worth even more!

    Of course, some people might have a hard time paying to keep the lights on, but that’s there problem. Let them use LEDs.

    • edbarbar said:

      Of course, some people might have a hard time paying to keep the lights on, but that’s there problem.

      That pretty much sums up the prevailing attitude of Team Greeners: screw the poorest and most politically disenfranchised segment of society, just so long as I get mine.

      Been reading much Ayn Rand lately?

      The Edison Foundation did a study of distributed solar in California which confirmed what you are saying:

      1) The average distributed PV solar system installed in California in 2014 cost $14,586

      2) Of this, the entity investing in these systems (this can be either the homeowner or the lessor who leases the system to the homeowner) receives an immediate federal tax credit of $4,376

      3) Then on top of this, the party making the investment receives NEM subsidies — mandated by the state of California — which have a present value of slightly over $20,000.

      4) The households which benefit from these subsides are affluent households. Their average energy consumption is more than twice that of the average California household.

      5) The subsidies are paid for by less wealthy households.

      6) The subsidies are paid for by households that are not energy hogs.

      7) Most of the subsidies do not accrue to any household, rich or poor, but to the finance companies that lease the systems to homeowners.

      And you don’t see anything wrong with this arrangement, all imposed by the long arm of the law?

  14. Roger Caiazza,

    Thank you for this interesting post. It’s great that Climate Etc. is including posts like this and others on energy systems and energy policy. Yours provides a window into one of probably millions of issues that have to be addressed at the ‘coal face’ when bureaucrats have what they think are great ideas and all they need to do is regulate to enforce them – in the name of better fairness and equity, or whatever.

    I laughed at this bit you quoted from ” New York’s ‘energy czar’ Richard Kauffman”:

    REV moves the electric industry away from a monopoly, top-down and incentive driven system to one that is governed by the market and emphasizes distributed energy.

    Bureaucrats invariably argue that their interference is to “away from a monopoly, top-down and incentive driven system to one that is governed by the market “.

    Of course, the opposite is the case.

    • Yep.

      As Michael Allen Gillespie put it in The Theological Origins of Modernity:

      The French Revolution, with its extravagant claims for the rule of reason and its abysmal realization of these claims in the Terror, only made the limitations of the modern project publicly apparent.

  15. Roger Caiazzia — We’ve been over this so many times here at CE. Integrated System Planning (e.g., the integrated grid) using engineering economics is a highly complex process.

    In New York’s actual decisions, planning engineers had to present testimony based on modelling results using industry accepted engineering software such as GE MAPS (or something like it).

    In order to have an objective and meaningful discussion on this here at CE, two things need to occur:

    (1) You need to list your specific problems with the presented results of the integrated system planning model(s) (e.g., GE MAPS).

    (2) You need to get a lead engineer in New York who presented testimony using the model’s results to respond to your opinions (or present links to testimony where this was already discussed).

    With some specific point/counter-points, we could have some objective discussion on this here at CE.

    • In order to have an objective and meaningful discussion on this here at CE, two things need to occur:

      (1) You need to list your specific problems with the presented results of the integrated system planning model(s) (e.g., GE MAPS).

      (2) You need to get a lead engineer in New York who presented testimony using the model’s results to respond to your opinions (or present links to testimony where this was already discussed).

      Nonsense. Down in the weeds, BS. The things that need to occur for policy analysis are:

      1. define the objectives the electricity system has to deliver, e.g., essential objectives are:
      – energy security (long term)
      – reliability of supply (short term)
      – low cost electricity
      secondary objectives (for most of the world) are:
      – health and safety
      – minimise environmental impacts

      2. design the system to meet those objectives

      3. estimate the total system cost, cost of electricity (and CO2 abatement cost if reducing CO2 emissions is an objective).

      The ERP analysis is a good example;discussed here:
      Is nuclear the cheapest way to decarbonise electricity?

      The results from this analysis suggest it is!

    • Stephen – I agree completely with your recommendations for an integrated power system analysis. There are a couple of caveats to consider that should have been noted in the post:
      1. The EPA changes to the ozone standard came out in October and the Department of Environmental Conservation has not formally stated their intent to force the existing peaking turbines to control or retire. As a result, none of the agencies have had a regulatory rationale to do the analysis you suggest so I cannot list specific problems.
      2. I have raised this issue in my comments on REV and no one has acknowledged that this is an issue. None of the agencies have had a rationale to respond to this public comment.
      So the work you suggest has not been done and I cannot respond to your specific concerns.

      Nonetheless, even when we know how much replacement turbine power will be required after the power system modeling is complete, the point of the post is that the issue remains that the business model to make the investments for conventional replacement fossil power likely needed for reliability is undercut by the REV goals.

      • Hi Roger

        Your two points are puzzlesome — not saying incorrect, but puzzlesome.

        (1.) Has the EPA come out with their implementation schedule? I’m not aware that they have.

        (2.) Every Regulatory Process that I’ve been associated with has an avenue for intervention for parties that have standing (e.g., large industrials, etc.). Sounds like you requested to have standing in the procedures an were denied? Did you approach an Industry Group to show your concerns and ask to represent them?

      • Stephen,
        In response to your questions:
        (1.) Has the EPA come out with their implementation schedule? No they haven’t for the latest revision. The agencies have been working on the 2008 standard and have told the electric generating sector that they don’t see any other way to proceed. Our response is that the models show that the problems are not so much from the electric sector – see my comments in the docket and check out the Alpine Geophysics report.

        (2.) Every Regulatory Process that I’ve been associated with has an avenue for intervention for parties that have standing (e.g., large industrials, etc.). The New York process is rife with political pressure and a Governor that takes negative feedback personally. In my personal opinion the process can be perverted to generate whatever answer the politicians want. As far as I can see my personal request as a party that the REV proceeding specifically address this particular issue has been ignored. This is not a topic for my organization (we deal with technical environmental issues not policy issues like REV) and even if it were, there are so many down sides to going against the Governor that companies are not arguing against REV.

      • Roger — Links to the two references you cited: “see my comments in the docket and check out the Alpine Geophysics report.”

      • When I tried to put in the direct link to the EEANY comments on the CSAPR update rule the link would not work. However if you go to and search for EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0500-0322 you will find the link to those comments. The Alpine source attribution analysis is the document called Independent, Sector-Specific Source Apportionment Modeling of the 2017 Cross State Air Pollution Rule Modeling Platform (EEANY) in the list of nine attachments. The EEANY comments themselves are the last document in the list.

      • Seems to work. Was that what you were trying to link to?

      • Yes – thanks AK

  16. We made the mistake of teaching our Green Betters to say “market”. It was hard for them to say it at first, now it’s the first thing they say. Whenever something is being subsidised, repressed, overtaxed, rigged, fudged or fiddled (like, say, the EU carbon price) it’s the “market” doing it. And “choice” is in there too, along with “consumer”.

    Here are some words we should have taught them:
    Intermittent, Diffuse, Feeble, Expensive, Fetishistic, Intrusive, Incompatible, Chaotic…

    Look, I’m thinking of starting a party called The Australian Browns. Anyone can join, Yanks, Canucks, Poms…even Kiwis. Chicks and Trans-gender, no problem. You just send me money and I keep it. No white elephants, no whoosh-whoosh, so the misery ends with the expense. Has to be a better deal, right?

    Support The Browns! Fight Green Blob! No more South Australias! Bandiera Bruna trionfera! Send money!

    • mosomoso, a better name for your party might be the Australian Dirties or the Down-under dirties. Count me out. I’ll stick with Green Peace.

      Greens may understand markets better than you think. I believe they know production and consumption of marketed goods and services have external cost and benefits that frequently aren’t included in prices. Failure to address externalities can be harmful to a market. Look at what has happened to coal.

      • maxtok

        greens do understand how to scam the rest of us. You did get that right.
        You do understand unfair tax credits and subsidies.

        Coal will survive because coal is the fuel that made our lives wonderful and that will continue.

      • Externalities are only a bother if left in their original state. Just paint ’em green, silly! Join the Browns and we’ll show you how to do a convincing Fake Green. Your impressed neighbours will exclaim they can’t believe it’s not Green.

        It’s a strategy called the Merkel Re-wende or (for exporters) the Norwegian Fudge. A fresh coat of green makes those irritating externalities invisible to the, er…you know…to the consumers of the market choices and the productionised goods and stuff.

        Plus, citoyen, you get to feel all European and non-rube! Break out the scarf and the beret!

        For more explanations just send money. You’ll never see it again, as our party slogan goes.

        Send money! You’ll never see it again!

  17. Sure coal will survive, like horses have survived.

    Of course I understand unfair tax credits and subsides.If you get ’em it’s unfair. If I get ’em it’s fair.

    • I read somewhere that there are more horses in existence in the US now than there were at the turn of the 20th century.

      Fortunately we are not relying on them for transportation and industry.

  18. For Peter Lang, Peter Davies, PE, Rud, AK, and several others. Thought this might be of interest:

    • Danny. While your linked article was a bit long for me I was interested in this conclusion …..”any strong conclusions about future nuclear power costs based on one country’s experience – especially the US experience in the 1970s and 1980s – would be ill-advised.”…….. Or were you thinking of my twin in the UK? Cheers, Peter M

      • Peter M Davies,

        The learning rates over the period 1953 to about 1970 show what can be achieved in the absence of the ridiculous impediments that have been imposed on nuclear power since, first in USA but then in all countries via IAEA and the strong influence of USA.

    • [repost in correct place]

      Danny, Yes, It’s an excellent paper. I’ve been doing some analyses using the data in it. There’s a fantastic story to tell. Watch this space.

      • PL, you can reply. My general pro Gen 4 nuclear position was made clear in the ebook essay on same, and have nothing useful further to contribute without additional research deemed not worth doing until politicians get serious about the need for nucs.

      • Rud,

        Thank you. I’ll have more to say when I’ve finished. I am not advocating for any one type or generation of nuclear power. It will be quite a while until Gen IV has demonstrated it is the commercial choice of utilities. However, we’ll get there fastest if we avoid attempts to pick winners and instead remove the impediments that are holding back progress and have been for 45 years. The market will find the cheapest way to meet the requirements of the electricity system. I am arguing for a different policy approach than has been tried and failed for the past 45 years.

  19. Danny, Yes, It’s an excellent paper. I’ve been doing some analyses using the data in it. There’s a fantastic story to tell. Watch this space.

  20. From the article:

    Solar stocks were getting destroyed on Wednesday, led by SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ: SCTY)’s more than 25 percent decline. In fact, SolarCity’s stock hit a multi-year low of $18.76 and the last time its shares at traded at these levels was back in April 2013.

    SolarCity reported a better-than-expected fourth quarter print on Tuesday, but issued a disappointing outlook.

    Shares of Sunedison Inc (NYSE: SUNE) were trading lower by more than 6 percent after Wednesday’s market open, while shares of SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) were lower by around 5 percent.

  21. Richard Kauffman said:

    REV moves the electric industry away from a monopoly, top-down and incentive driven system to one that is governed by the market and emphasizes distributed energy.

    It is instructive to see how this fits within the cultural “memes” that Andy West speaks of, and to explore the origins of the cultural meme.

    The quest for a non-hierarchical society has been with us for a long time. Rousseau first carried the torch, then Thomas Jefferson, then Marx and the anarchists, and today the libertarians of the right and left.

    The quest, however, has always proved quixotic.

    In his latest documentary, All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace, Adam Curtis explores some of the latest manifestations of the meme:

    Part 1: Ayn Rand’s Objectivist ideas were popular, and influenced people working in the technology sector of California. The Californian Ideology, a techno-utopian belief that computer networks could measure, control and help to stabilise societies, without hierarchical political control, and that people could become ‘Randian heroes’, only working for their own happiness, became widespread in Silicon Valley…..

    Curtis ends the piece by pointing out that not only has the idea of market stability failed to bear out in practice, but that the Californian Ideology has also been unable to stabilise it. Indeed, the ideology has not led to people being Randian heroes, but has trapped them in a rigid system of control from which they are unable to escape.

    Part 2: This episode investigates how machine ideas such as cybernetics and systems theory were applied to natural ecosystems, and how this relates to the false idea that there is a balance of nature. Cybernetics has been applied to human beings in an attempt to build societies without central control, self organising networks built of people, based on a fantasy view of nature….

    The scientific idea had thus been shown to fail, but the popular idea remained in currency, and even grew as it apparently offered the possibility of a new egalitarian world order.

    The documentary can be seen on the internet here:

    • Maybe the meme even pre-dates Rousseau. Here’s how Michael Allen Gillespie explains it in Nihilism before Nietzsche:

      Early modern thought was principally concerned with human preservation and prosperity, but even in this context some thinkers recognized that freedom was essential.

      This was implicit in Descartes and became explicit in Rousseau. The relation of this freedom to nature, however, was left largely unexamined.

      Kant faced this problem and tried to provide a ground for their mutual coexistence.

      In the thought of Fichte, we witness the turn away from coexistence toward the assertion of freedom as absolute and the consequent demand that objective nature be annihilated.

      Freedom and freedom alone must rule, a pure will of activity that shapes only itself and abides by no laws, that knows in its heart of hearts that it is the source of all laws, of all logic, and of all ontology.

    • Thanks for this. Read the summary, now want to watch the series.

  22. If you are going to start from the assumption that people are somehow entitled to as much electric power as they want, any time they want it, then of course efforts to eliminate the use of fossil fuels will fail. However, as President Obama has said, we face the probability of the Earth becoming uninhabitable unless we reduce our CO2 emissions dramatically in short order. In the face of this looming catastrophe what does it matter if we can’t have A/C in August? What does it matter if we can’t take air travel vacations to far away places? What does it matter if we need to bicycle instead of drive? (Bicycles are healthier anyway.)

    I just wish our leaders would be more honest with people about the need for sacrifice. I’m sure people would respond with enthusiasm if just asked.

    • Dear Leader honest?

    • John Carpenter

      “If you are going to start from the assumption that people are somehow entitled to as much electric power as they want, any time they want it, then of course efforts to eliminate the use of fossil fuels will fail.”

      I can only assume this very conservative position was meant without the unintentional irony it presents.


    • S.C., I believe policy calls for reducing fossil fuel usage. Eliminating it altogether would not be practical in the foreseeable future if at all. Reduced usage has both environmental and fuel conservation benefits.

    • If you are going to start from the assumption that people are somehow entitled to as much electric power as they want, any time they want it, then of course efforts to eliminate the use of fossil fuels will fail.

      If I expressed my honest and complete contempt for this position in clear english I would be banned. So I will take a different tack.

      We live in a free market economy. Competition is expected, assumed, and in point of fact delivers products at the lowest cost and at a quality that the consumers demand. Much more efficiently than a command economy ever will.

      The Public Utilities are expected to produce as much power as is consumed at the lowest cost. They are expected to cover their cost + profit.

      The consumers are expected to consume as much energy as they want and can afford. “Entitled” is a ridiculous word to use in the context of a transaction where someone is paying greenbacks, of their own free will, for something that a seller is willing to sell at his price, of his own free will.

      Further, there is no reason to eliminate the use of fossil fuel, and it is just asinine and perverse to replace fossil fuel with expensive land-wasting undependable pollution-generating grid-upgrade-requiring renewables.

      • “The Public Utilities are expected to produce as much power as is consumed at the lowest cost.”

        “The consumers are expected to consume as much energy as they want and can afford.”

        Sounds like a good recipe for pollution and lots of it.

        Also a good recipe for depleting fossil fuel reserves.

      • Also a good recipe for depleting fossil fuel reserves.

        The greens are trying to ban fossil fuel consumption. Sufficient or desirable levels of depletion will never happen given their foot dragging. The CO2 is beneficial so extraction of 100% of commercially extractable fossil fuel is a reasonable depletion goal.

      • PA and others who took my post seriously: Sorry, I thought my sarcasm was obvious. And yet I was not being completely sarcastic. Although Greens rarely say so openly the points I made are, I think, the real implications of their policies. Of course if they admitted this there would be very little support for their policies. If they can get away with slowly tightening the noose I’m afraid they’ll succeed.

      • Good one, S. C. You are right; it worked because there are fools spouting such outrage. I’ve seen it pretty often.

    • You are nuts. Tell you what. You sacrifice first. Off the internet since you are wasting electrons as your science is settled. Lights out at 8, since children like you need extra sleep. No plane travel. Cars limited to tiny Fiat 500, drive radius limited to 10 miles. Enjoy your staycations. Heck, we didn’t want you where we go (drive/ fly) anyway.
      Oh, and tell Obama to lose his Hawaii vacations on Air Force One. You know, to set an example like he wants the rest of the US to do. I’ll stop flying after he does, not before.

  23. John Carpenter

    How you gonna keep em down on the farm… after they’ve seen paree?

    • John Carpenter

      meant to be a reply to S.C. Schwartz comment

    • Exactly. Once people have experienced the benefits of electrification and the internal combustion engine, why would anyone think they could be talked into doing with less?

    • Exactly. Once people have been exposed to the benefits of electrification and the internal combustion engine, why would anyone believe that talking them into having less of either is realistic.

      • Electricity would be hard to do without, but using it more efficiently is good, which could mean using less. The same goes for the fuel used in internal combustion engines. I can’t imagine electricity being replaced by something else, but I’m not so sure about the internal combustion engine.

      • Electricity would be hard to do without, but using it more efficiently is good

        Depends. Large volumes are cheaper so reducing energy consumption given the large infrastructure involved only makes energy more expensive.

        If the reason is to stretch fossil fuel supplies, energy conservation makes sense. That is pushing cheap power and life-giving CO2 into the future which is altruistic but can be justified.

        If the reason is eliminate fossil fuel consumption, then energy efficiency doesn’t make much sense because it is wasting a valuable resource by leaving it in the ground to make current power more expensive.

  24. Great experiment available to all. I tried my hand at it. You should try it.

    Take a look at the jump to article on Twitter: ‘Polarization in the scientific debate on the health effects of salt…’ now, 6 hours ago.

    Then, replace ‘salt’ with global warming and fears of too much CO2 as appropriate and you end up with a revealing new and quite readable article about the current climate change debate.

    • The anti-salt people are liars. Flat out.

      A friend of mine died from low salt. He didn’t smoke or drink, drank lots of water and had healthy diet (no salt, no prepared food). He drove his salt level down to 100.

      A person with a 100 salt level acts like a stroke victim. I took him to the hospital twice. They would spend a week getting him back to normal.

      When he got back i told him, “You have got to develop a taste for margaritas, salsa, and salted tortilla chips, stat, or you are going to die”.

      He went down to the shore by himself and apparently his salt level had dropped again and complications killed him.

      His poor golden retriever looked so lost without him.

      Anyway – when someone argues for low salt cuff them on the back of the head and they will stop.

  25. Here’s how it begins:

    For years, the federal government has advised Americans that humanity must stop using fossil fuel, and that this consumption is warming the planet with disastrous consequences for the Earth and all living things on the Earth.

    However, unknown to many consumers urged to buy electric cars and pay higher taxes to subsidize more expensive alternative fuels, this longstanding warning about too much warming has come under assault by scientists who say that a higher concentration of atmospheric CO2 is without risk.

    Moreover, according to studies published in recent years by pillars of the academic community, the lower utilization of fossil fuel recommended by the government might actually be dangerous.

    “There is no longer any valid basis for the current warnings about releasing too much CO2,” said Wagathon, a blog contributor at ‘Climate Etc.’ and one of many non-government scientists involved in exposing the global warming hoax. “So why are we still scaring people about global warming?”

  26. “the lower utilization of fossil fuel recommended by the government might actually be dangerous”


    • How? It will be forced upon us by government fiat. That’s a loss of individual freedom and it’s dangerous.

      • Well, that’s not as important as the loss of freedom to drive while drinking beer and throw empty cans out the window. I got over the loss of that one, and I bet you can get over the loss of freedom to waste fossil fuel. Let’s face it, sometimes exercising our freedom hurts others in some way or another.

      • “freedom to waste”

        What about the lost freedom of gubbermint bureaucracy to waste taxpayer money. Oh they still have that.


      • I don’t know why you think tax money is wasted. I don’t. Spending the money doesn’t make it vanish. But if you burn oil. it’s gone

      • “I don’t know why you think tax money is wasted.”

        “$930 Million: On unnecessary printing costs.

        Federal agencies spend an estimated $2.6 billion on printing. Many of those trees could have been spared–such as the ones used in the $28 million spent on the daily printing of over 4,500 copies of the congressional records, which are also available online.”


      • Max Carey,

        Are you more a statist than an enviornmentalist?


      • Max Carey | February 19, 2016 at 4:46 pm |
        I don’t know why you think tax money is wasted. I don’t. Spending the money doesn’t make it vanish. But if you burn oil. it’s gone

        Tax money is spent by bureaucrats. Of course it is wasted.

        If you lived near DC you wouldn’t ask that question.

        The money spent on climate change and renewable energy is like filling RFK stadium full of money and burning it. You have wasted the money and have nothing to show for it but an eyesore.

        Both projects have the same outcome. Only greens feel good about climate change and renewable spending, and I would prefer to burn the money in RFK because it would generate CO2 and a spot for a new stadium for the Redskins.

      • Webster’s Definition
        ” wasted: not used, spent, etc., in a good, useful, or effective way.”

        People differ on what way is good, useful, and effective. I’m not sure I would agree much with Bad Andrew and LA on what way, but we probably have some common ground.

        PA, even burning tax dollars has its benefit, since fewer dollars in circulation would mean everyone’s dollars are
        worth more.

  27. “In political science, statism is the belief that the state should control either economic or social policy, or both, to some degree.”

    By that definition, I am a statist to some degree.

    • Going further down the list of Google entries it seems that the term statism has several degrees of meaning, none of which appeals to me.

      Statism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      In political science, statism is the belief that the state should control either economic or social policy, or both, to some degree. Statism is effectively the opposite of anarchism, an individual who supports the existence of the state is a statist.
      ‎State, society and individuals – ‎Economic statism – ‎See also – ‎References
      People also ask
      What is a statist?
      What is the opposite of capitalism?
      What is the difference between socialism and communism and fascism?
      Statism | Define Statism at
      1. the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty. 2. support of or belief in the sovereignty of a state, usually a republic. Origin of statism Expand.
      Statism | Definition of Statism by Merriam-Webster
      concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often extending to government ownership of industry.
      Statism – definition of statism by The Free Dictionary
      The practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy. stat′ist adj. & n. American Heritage® Dictionary of the …
      Statism — Ayn Rand Lexicon
      The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, …

      • Is there a centralized government which has no economic policy to control?

      • It is agreed that all governments have powers for the control of economic policies but the ideal degree of centralism seems moot. A decentralised system of government seems likely to be more responsive and accountable to their regional and local communities IMO.

      • Today the state passes out Common Core, for the kids. If you want to become successful in life you need to answer this question first: If you had had a box of Q-tips that has 18 still in the box what does this mean to you today?
        Now show your proof to the class.

    • The larger issue with statism happens when the state becomes it’s own keeper.

      When the state appeals to itself for authority, and gets to answer its own questions, we fall right back into good ol tyranny.

      And that happens when statists get in power. It’s their goal.


  28. As with almost all these threads on possible practical means of “lowering carbon emissions”, the comments herd themselves into a few well tested categories:

    the unreliability and soaring costs of “WIND ‘n SOLAR”

    greenie trolls avoiding that point at all costs

    other nutters who think that forcing people to make significant drops in their living standards won’t cause blowback

    the bottomless tar pit of nuclear power (both fission and fusion). There does seem to be some progress in this area with the development of modular units

    We’ve been at this for over 3 decades now. I really cannot see much useful headway. A $50k Tesla powerwall to run my electric toothbrush at 2am ?

    • Coal is yum, and the Permian black from Qld and NSW is poetry. It’s got the sheen, the Lapsang aroma…and it’s got the potency.

      And it’s right there in our backyard. No geopolitics, no pipelines, no territorial disputes, no sea-lane tensions, no OPEC, no war zones, no sand islands. (Little wonder Big Oil/Gas hates coal almost as much as Big Green does. Little wonder Big Oil tips Big Dollar into Big Green!)

      I salute coal, Ian, and all those who have contributed to Australia’s marvellous coal industries.

      • My comment was meant to counter-point that out. If you knew my work history of the last 40 years …

        Obviously, I failed by being too circumlocutious … or something

      • No, I knew you were a coal man, Ian. I was merely reinforcing. (I always feel like saying good things about coal.)

  29. Ode ter coal. Write a poem about it moso. )

    • I’m down with the brown, but once you try black…

      – dedicated to Charles Smith and the Waratah Colliers of 1873. (Desperately hard and dangerous work, but they got it done.)

  30. To Max Carey above, from the article:

    The United States has fallen to 20th place in the respected Human Freedom Index, produced annually by the Cato Institute and Canada’s Fraser Institute. The index measures nations on personal, civil and economic freedom. The United States has fallen three spots since Barack Obama became President.

  31. Not sure what the author means by this: “In my opinion, however, the ultimate unaddressed issue is how will REV incentivize investments in peaking turbines if that plan cannot replace the peaking turbine resource?”

    If REV incentivized investments in peaking turbines (and why would it want to do that, by the way?), then it would certainly have the opposite effect to replacing that resource – it would, in fact, expand it.

    Perhaps the author’s intent got garbled here.

    I don’t think you can reasonably expect that NYS’s “Energy Vision” will have all the details of how this plan will unfold laid out for you in exquisite, workable detail. It is, after all, a “vision”, but one driven by the realities of an antiquated grid in need of a major overhaul. To the extent that that overhaul can incorporate REV while reducing and evening out peak loads, it’s laudable. I’m willing to cut them some slack while the challenges of re-working our electric energy matrix are worked out in a manner that is rational, fair, and protective of the environment.

  32. The problem with our energy policies is that they are developed within a framework of lies and distortions. The biggest lie of all starts with the US DOE’s levelized cost of electricity (LOE). In real economics, the value of an item is determined by the price customers are willing to pay for that item WHEN they need it, not how much it costs to produce. By its very nature and given the high cost of storage, electricity from non-dispatchable renewable generators is not worth as much as electricity from dispatchable generators. Unfortunately, economists have not provided an unambiguous way of assigning a value to the output from a non-dispatchable generator.

    Part of the problem is that the value of the electricity produced by a solar panel or a wind turbine (or conventional generators) depends on the system in which it is built: other generators supplying the same grid, power lines to move power within the grid, variation in demand, variation in weather, arrangements for suppressing demand, etc. The cost of electricity from a fossil fuel plant rises if it is run less often because renewable electricity is given priority. At some point, the cost can become prohibitive and the plant will shut down unless bribed to stay open. This appears to be happening in Great Britain right now. As the penetrance of wind and solar power increases their value decreases, because the new production is most likely to be delivered during times of surplus, not shortage.

    Finally, we need to recognize that we can’t magically jump from today’s system to an ideal future. Each step on the path to greater renewable power needs to meet current demand for power at a financially sensible price.

    • Good points – I agree.

    • Franktoo,

      Well said. Regarding this point:

      Unfortunately, economists have not provided an unambiguous way of assigning a value to the output from a non-dispatchable generator.

      The ERP report (I discussed here ) estimates the total system cost for various mixes of electricity supply technologies. It’s an interesting analysis and report. The results show that all or mostly nuclear is the cheapest way to decarbonise electricity, but the cost is huge – more than $100/t CO2 would be required to emissions intensity down to the same as France.

  33. Interesting article, but misses the point. Peak load power generation is not necessary for air conditioning needs if and when the air conditioning is provided by ice or chilled water that was made and stored earlier.

    New York City already has several commercial buildings that do this, to good economic advantage.

    “In New York City in the last five or six years we did the new Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, the Goldman Sachs world headquarters, the New School building and about a dozen others in NYC.” — see 2014 Forbes article on Ice Storage for cooling commercial buildings

    NYC is not alone here. Los Angeles also does this, with two notable examples the University of Southern California’s chilled underground storage tank (under an athletic field), and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) recently installed utility plant upgrade with a chilled water storage tank.

    Time-shifting electrical load from periods of high peak prices to periods of low off-peak prices is an excellent way to reduce or eliminate the need for peaking power plants. This works even better when wind energy drives the off-peak power to zero or negative prices. In essence, the utility pays the consumer to run his ice-machine at night.

    Unfortunately, utilities grant time-of-use power pricing to their large customers, and generally do not do the same for residential customers.

    • Roger: I worked at a site with facilities for generating and storing large amounts of chilled water for air conditioning and reducing peak demand on summer days. Who paid for these facilities? Not my employer! My company received discounts bigger than their cost. Hopefully, the utility’s other customers paid a lot less for power from “peaking plants”, because my employer was paying a whole lot less. There clearly is a limit to the benefits of such peak reduction.