A blog about Northeast energy issues, and in support of nuclear power.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Myth of the Polar Vortex: My Upcoming Webinar
Energy and Enviornment
Date: Thursday, November 6, 2014 | Length: 60 Minutes
Time:1 pm ET | 12 pm CT | 11 am MT | 10 am PT
Speaker - Meredith Joan Angwin
Last winter (2013-2014) the freezing weather of the polar vortex drove grid electricity prices to new heights in the Northeast. In subzero weather, natural gas was used for home heating: therefore gas-fired power plants could not obtain the fuel they needed. Utilities made up for the missing natural gas by burning oil and even jet fuel. Expensive fuels made expensive electricity. At the end of the winter, many utilities announced electricity price rises.
Though the Polar Vortex caused a major temporary price rise, the Polar Vortex was not the true cause. Even without a polar vortex, electricity costs will probably rise rapidly in the near future, in many areas of the country. Cost drivers include coal and nuclear plant closings, overreliance on gas-fired electricity, and a strong possibility of increased prices for natural gas from shale. This course will use the Northeast as an example, but also address how similar issues are arising in other parts of the country.
As the cost of electricity increases, electricity production and distribution companies will be faced with unhappy consumers and regulators. These companies will have to meet the challenge of explaining the price increases to their customers, regulators, and the press. They will need to be effective at describing the overall situation with regard to electricity and natural gas supply. (Natural gas suppliers will face some of the same challenges). Many energy company employees have to work with regulatory bodies or members of the public. Each person in this position should know the concepts in this course. Hockey-stick price rises are probably in the near future. People, who face the public ranging from industry lobbyists to customer service representatives, need to be ready and able to explain this price rise. Join Meredith Joan Angwin, in this riveting session to learn:
Electricity supply is constricting, due to coal and nuclear plants retirements and over-dependence on gas fired power plants
Gas-fired plants are subject to seasonal shortages and price spikes
Gas prices set the overall grid price. All generators who bid into the grid market get the "market-clearing" price. This is the highest price that the grid operator accepts for that time period. All bidders get this price, whatever they bid
Incentives for renewables may meet certain goals that society holds, but they tend to increase the price of power and do very little to alleviate supply crunches
Grid operators attempt to ensure reliability, but this often means encouraging the use of more expensive fuels, such as oil or jet fuel
Only partial cost protection is possible at end-user levels. This will probably increase local outrage against the power plants, power companies, etc.
Learn three key points about the electricity supply that can be used to explain the de facto shortages and actual price rises.
Learn three strategies that end-users can use to partially control their electric bills.
Meredith Joan Angwin
has thirty years of experience covering almost every aspect of utility operations. She is inventor on two patents in pollution control methods for gas-fired power plants. She was a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in renewable (geothermal) energy. In that position, she supervised building a computer code to predict corrosion in geothermal systems, and assessed the economic viability of the Los Alamos Hot Dry Rock project, and of potential projects in the Gulf Coast geopressured zone. Read More!
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