August 13, 2013: this Motley Fool article is confusing, hard to read, poorly written, but close reading gives one an idea of where utility prices are headed. I'm not sure if I'm reading what Motley Fool has to say, but it sounds like natural gas is subsidizing the high cost of renewable energy. Wind is the least expensive renewable energy source out there, and it still requires huge government intervention to make it "profitable." If the link breaks:
Despite the rising supply of higher-priced coal-based energy and its nuclear problems, Duke did not end North Carolina's renewable energy program.
It is buying 7 megawatts of commercially-produced solar, for instance, and will continue to purchase solar power from rooftop owners. The company also has installed over 1,000 megawatts of wind power. Duke's policy of grabbing energy with both hands for re-sale to others should be subject to question, because the Energy Information Agency notes that wind farms are becoming more efficient, and total demand is down.
Efficiency pays, it's the cheapest renewable fuel there is, and the more efficient the economy gets the harder it will be for marginal electricity suppliers to profit on their investments.May 22, 2012: I have no idea how accurate this politically-charged message is but I will archive it, allowing us to to check it out later.
Last week PJM Interconnection, the company that operates the electric grid for 13 states (Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia) held its 2015 capacity auction. These are the first real, market prices that take Obama’s most recent anti-coal regulations into account, and they prove that he is keeping his 2008 campaign promise to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”
The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity – almost all natural gas – was $136 per megawatt. That’s eight times higher than the price for 2012, which was just $16 per megawatt. In the mid-Atlantic area covering New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and DC the new price is $167 per megawatt. For the northern Ohio territory served by FirstEnergy, the price is a shocking $357 per megawatt.
Why the massive price increases? Andy Ott from PJM stated the obvious: “Capacity prices were higher than last year's because of retirements of existing coal-fired generation resulting largely from environmental regulations which go into effect in 2015.” Northern Ohio is suffering from more forced coal-plant retirements than the rest of the region, hence the even higher price.
Link here to campaign fulfillment story.
Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, an advocacy group fighting coal-fired power, said in an interview that the regulation shows that President Barack Obama is moving to a cleaner energy future.
"It's a strong move," Brune said. "It means there will never be another coal plant built without new technology and it probably means even those won't be built because they can't compete."