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U.S. Department of Energy Announces First Awards under Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program

LCG, October 16, 2020--The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) this week announced it has selected two U.S.-based teams to receive $160 million in initial funding under the new Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP).

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PSEG Files Application to Extend Zero Emission Certificates (ZECs) for New Jersey's Carbon-Free Nuclear Power Facilities

LCG, October 2, 2020--PSEG yesterday filed applications to extend Zero Emission Certificates (ZECs) for the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants in Salem County in order to preserve New Jersey's largest carbon-free source of electricity and to help New Jersey achieve its clean energy goal of 100 percent carbon-free energy supply by 2050.

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Industry News

What FERC Found Wrong with California Regulation

LCG, Nov. 3, 2000--An investigation into the California electricity market by the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found a lot of things wrong with the ways in which state regulators and politicians have handled the deregulated power industry, but three problems cause most of the trouble.

In the first place, there were no identifiable bogeymen behind the run-up in electricity prices this past summer. The high wholesale prices -- ultimately high retail prices to customers of San Diego Gas & Electric Co. -- were the work of competitive market forces, known to economists as the law of supply and demand.

FERC's staff said that unusually high temperatures for protracted periods coupled with an insufficiency of generation resources were the main cause of the high prices, though increased power production costs played a part.

In the second place, FERC found that the way the California Independent System Operator handles the problem of replacement reserves -- going into the market to buy power when margins fall below specified levels -- actually increases market prices. The staff recommended an overhaul of Cal-ISO's market rules.

Third, and possibly most significant, was FERC's finding that the deregulation law's requirement that the state's three investor-owned utilities make all their electricity transactions through the California Power Exchange placed the companies at the mercy of the volatile spot market while denying them risk management options such as long-term power supply contacts to replace capacity lost when they were forced to divest generation assets.

George Sladoje, chief executive of Cal-PX, agreed with FERC and implied that his exchange should have been a voluntary market all along. "The proposed elimination of the mandatory must buy-sell requirement is consistent with independent governance and the market and regulatory flexibility that the Cal-PX had anticipated," he said.

The FERC staff also noted with some dismay that there seemed to be no response on the part of the load to the high prices. Apparently times are so good that electricity customers shrugged their shoulders and kept burning power during peak periods, and then complained to regulators and politicians who just made matters worse.

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