A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from December 0

Electricity Progressive Income Tax: California’s Answer to High Rates?

By Kennedy Maize -- April 26, 2023

“These too-high electricity prices are slowing progress on electrification and straining the pocketbooks of lower-income households.” (- Meredith Fowlie, University of California at Berkeley)

California electric customers could be seeing a radical new approach to electricity rates by 2025, if state regulators adopt a plan by the state’s three large investor-owned utilities. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) have jointly filed a plan to comply with a state law enacted last June (Assembly Bill 205), that would combine a fixed, monthly recurring bill based on household income, not on how much electricity the household uses, along with a more conventional consumption-based charge.

The utilities will lower their consumption rates, making up the losses through the income-taxation mechanism.

Under Assembly Bill 205, the three investor-owned utilities must reduce their sky-high retail electric rates, using an income-related fixed charge mechanism.…

New Nuclear: Three Projects, Three Problems

By Kennedy Maize -- March 9, 2023

“NuScale’s estimated ‘levelized cost of energy’ (LCOE) … jumped by one-half last December (to $89/MWh from $58/WMh). The total cost for the project is estimated at a bit over $9 billion, but $1.4 billion is offset by DOE funding, which could increase in the future.”

More news, more problems regarding the live projects being counted on as the beginning of a new era of nuclear power. Back in the 1950s/1960s, the expectation was that learning-by-doing and scale economies would bring parity with fossil-fuel plants. Today, that same goal seems distant.


NuScale Power’s small modular reactor project, designed to provide electricity to Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, a joint action agency serving 50 municipal utilities in Utah, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming, has survived another near-death experience. Facing a vote by the participants in its project for six light-water pressurized reactors, totaling 462-MW on the grounds of the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls.…

Still More Vogtle Nuclear Delays (how will it end?)

By Kennedy Maize -- February 20, 2023

“The failure of the uncompleted V.C. Summer Units #2 and #3 ($10 billion), and the continuing woes at Vogtle, have marked the complete failure of Congress to create a ‘nuclear renaissance’ through the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The act provided for up to $8 billion each in ‘loan guarantees’ for new nuclear plants.”

“Nuclear ‘loan guarantees,’ it turns out, is a politically constructed term to cover the fact that the ‘guarantees’ are actually Treasury funds, and loan payments are made to the Treasury.”

The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. And Southern Company announces further delays in the startup of Georgia Power’s Vogtle Units 3 and 4, the only nuclear power plant under construction in the U.S.

In its annual financial report issued Feb. 16, Southern said it will push back the startup date for Unit 3 of the two-unit, Westinghouse AP-1000 reactor project to May or June of this year. …

Waste-to-Energy: Air Pollution Renewable in Decline

By Kennedy Maize -- June 26, 2019

Nuclear’s Latest: Project, Company, Consumer Troubles

By Kennedy Maize -- February 20, 2017