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Remember back when everybody hated electricity deregulation?

October 8th, 2014 by James Bushnell, University of California at Davies

A brief post concerning electricity restructuring that looks back over the last 20 years. Around that time I started giving a talk titled “If electricity restructuring is so great, why does everybody hate it?” Back then, several states like Illinois and Maryland were actively pursuing options to “re-regulate” markets that they had at least partially restructured.
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The main challenges to achieve an integrated European smart-grid

September 19th, 2014 by Tamar Gomez, Research assistant, IFP School

The EU commission faces several challenges in order to convert a budding yet timely effort in smart grid research into a full grown market with its infrastructures and set of rules They are are of different nature: regulatory, economic and social.
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Paying for kWh, kW or km?

September 8th, 2014 by Claude Crampes, Toulouse School of Economics

Traditionally, the distribution charge paid by consumers of electricity connected to a grid is based on the capacity for which they subscribe and the number of kWh withdrawn during a given period. Energy consumption is however actually a poor approximation of the willingness to pay for being connected. Additionally, except for thermal losses, the cost incurred by distribution system operators (DSO) does not depend on the quantity transported. The main raison d’être of the kWh index is that it is indispensable for producers and suppliers. Since it is an existing gauge provided by installed meters, why not use it for distribution? Continue reading »

Nuclear Construction: Never On Time, Or Budget

August 29th, 2014 by Fereidoon Sioshansi, EEnergy Informer

After years where nobody was building any, 4 new reactors are under construction in the US, supported by all manner of support, subsidies, government loan guarantees and you name it. Much rests on how these 4 reactors will turn out in terms of getting built on schedule and on budget. But as often happens with complicated construction projects, they are falling behind, and by all indications, will cost more than originally estimated.
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Extending the life of ageing nuclear reactors could help bridge the energy gap

June 6th, 2014 by William Nuttall, Professor at Open University

Changing the rules by which nuclear power stations are judged to be safe or not may sound unpalatable to some, even outright dangerous. But this is what the Office of Nuclear Regulation is considering in order to extend the life of Britain’s ageing reactor fleet. Rest assured, however, such things are done carefully. Continue reading »

Money for Nothing

May 14th, 2014 by Severin Borenstein, Haas Business School, UC Berkekey

Since the beginning of electricity grids, demand has fluctuated and supply has been made to follow along. But for decades, economists and some grid engineers have dreamed of having demand play a more active role in balancing the system. With increasing use of intermittent renewable energy resources, now is the time to make that demand-response dream come true. But we can only get there if we clear up a common misconception in the world of electricity policy.
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European Electricity Prices Rising

April 23rd, 2014 by Fereidoon Sioshansi, EEnergy Informer

“European consumers’ electricity and gas prices have risen and are still rising,” is a good summary of a recent report, Energy Costs & Prices in Europe, released by the European Commission in Brussels. Moreover, whilst almost all Member States have seen a consistent rise in consumer prices of electricity and gas, the differences between national prices remain large: consumers in the highest priced Member States are paying 2.5 to 4 times as much as those in the lowest priced Member States.

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Ukraine – Russia: EU should examine every possibility to put an end to present crisis, says Dominique Ristori

March 23rd, 2014 by François Lévêque, Ecole des mines de Paris

Harmonizing electricity TSO regulation: the case of North-West EU

February 16th, 2014 by Jean-Michel Glachant, European University Institute

The study of five EU regulatory regimes for electricity TSOs (Belgium, Germany, Great-Britain, France and the Netherlands) suggests that their designs encompass strong tensions and trade-offs and that they are significantly heterogeneous. However, this heterogeneity should no longer be valid, as the European Union is pushing more than ever to prompt for wider integration and increasing interactions between power networks and power systems. In any regional EU market, the economic properties of national regulatory regimes must consequently be realigned and harmonized as to deliver more EU common good. Continue reading »

The costs of nuclear energy in Europe

February 10th, 2014 by William d'Haeseleer, KU Leuven

Nuclear new build is highly capital intensive and currently not cheap, but it may be anticipated that the capital cost will come down in the future (in particular compared to ongoing new build construction in the EU, depending on return of experience and learning effects, ‘fleet effects’, standardization, strict construction schedules, competition in the supply chain,…). Analysis of past cost escalation and opportunities for learning and ‘fleet effects’, suggests that negative learning is not necessarily an ‘intrinsic property’ of nuclear-reactor construction. Nevertheless, it is up to the nuclear sector itself to demonstrate on the ground that cost-effective construction is possible. Continue reading »