Wind Energy Weekly Vol 15, #703, 24 June 1996


The following is the electronic edition of WIND ENERGY WEEKLY, Vol. 15, #703, 24 June 1996, published by the American Wind Energy Association. The full text of the WEEKLY is available in hardcopy form for $595/year and is recommended for those with a serious commercial interest in wind (the electronic edition contains only excerpts). A monthly hardcopy publication, the WINDLETTER, more suitable for those interested in residential wind systems is included with a $50/year individual membership in the Association. AWEA's goal is to promote wind energy as a clean and environmentally superior source of electricity. Anyone sharing this goal is invited to become a member--please help!. For more information on the Association, contact AWEA, 122 C Street, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20001, USA, phone (202) 383-2500, fax (202) 383-2505, email Or visit our World Wide Web site at ENERGY OUTLOOK

New Hampshire woman is first to get direct access Power exchange transmission proposal stirs dogfight Utilities join to back federal utility deregulation Renewables get support from public interest groups


Victoria Baker, an aeronautical engineer living in Salem, N.H., became the first person in the United States to receive power from an energy supplier of her choice--Granite State Energy (GSE)--June 17 in the country's only statewide pilot program testing retail competition for the electric utility industry.

The New Hampshire pilot is the first in the nation to allow randomly chosen residential and business customers, along with those residing in six designated communities, to choose their energy supplier. (In Illinois, a similar program for both residents and businesses restricts pilot competition to five defined areas.)

Baker will pay 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for the next two years. Billing will reflect the cost for supplying electricity to her home (GSE's price) and the cost for delivering the electricity (Granite State Electric's price).

"Granite State Energy learned that power flowed to Baker's residence first, approximately five days before the other utility currently servicing pilot participants began to send power to their customers," noted GSE Manager Arthur Pearson, who added that meter reader information confirmed Baker as the first in the country to benefit from the unique pilot.

In addition, GSE announced that four companies, three Newport municipal departments, and the town of Warren have signed up with the power supplier.


Southern California Gas Co. (SoCal Gas), the nation's largest natural gas distributor, and the Coalition for Comparable Transmission (CCT) of which it is a member joined last week in criticizing the proposals of California's major electric utilities for a single transmission access fee for the Western Power Exchange (WEPEX) (see WIND ENERGY WEEKLY #702, June 17, 1996).

Both SoCal Gas and the CCT filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) June 14 which argued that a two-tiered transmission fee structure that distinguishes between local and regional transmission service would be more equitable. Not coincidentally, a two-tiered fee would also have the effect of making out-of-state power slightly more expensive.

CCT spokesman George Minter said in a news release that "FERC is seeking to create a competitive market for electric generation, which we support. But many generators in California could be blocked out of the marketplace by a transmission pricing scheme which favors long-distance transmission and out-of-state power." Members of CCT besides SoCal Gas include several cogeneration companies, among them AES Placerita, Harbor Cogeneration, FPB Cogeneration, Watson Cogeneration, and Pacific Energy.

SoCal Gas said June 11 that an economic study of a deregulated California electricity market indicates that electric generation in the southern part of the state will be displaced by power from other regions. Under one of three scenarios in the study, the company said, it would lose approximately 5% of its business due to the establishment of a statewide power pool, and another 5% if a single transmission access fee is adopted. The study also found that consumer savings from the power pool would be only $15-30 million per year.

The study, "Simulating Electricity Restructuring in California: Interactions With the Regional Market," was conducted by the University of California Energy Institute, under contract to the California Energy Commission.

The study "does not bode well for southland cities with electric generating facilities or for Southern California Gas Co.'s throughput to electric generating customers," SoCal Gas said. The lost power would be replaced by out-of-area electric imports, it said.

Lee Stewart, senior vice president of SoCal Gas, reiterated his company's support for restructuring and retail access, but added, "It's apparent that transmission pricing is a key factor in the generation and dispatch of electricity, and should be closely evaluated by [FERC]."

AWEA has previously endorsed a single transmission access fee (sometimes referred to as "postage-stamp pricing") for transmission within a regional power exchange. Wind energy technology generally would benefit from such an approach, it is thought, because wind plants are "location-sensitive" and must be sited where wind resources exist, often at some distance from urban load centers.

Operators of existing wind power plants in California would conceivably also be damaged by low-cost out-of-state competition. However, AWEA proposes to address the problem with the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS), under which electricity suppliers would be required to obtain a certain minimum percentage of their power from renewable resources.


Seven major investor-owned electric utilities said June 18 that they have formed the "Partnership for Customer Choice" (PCC), which will push for federal legislation to enact full retail access by the end of the year 2000.

Members of the coalition include Allegheny Power, Cinergy, PacifiCorp, Pennsylvania Power & Light, UtiliCorp United, Wisconsin Energy Corp., and Wisconsin Power & Light. The coalition's "Statement of Common Principles" is as follows:


A coalition of national and state public interest groups called June 19 for making environmental and consumer protection top priorities in any efforts to introduce competition in the electric utility sector.

The coalition released POWER FOR THE PEOPLE, a blueprint outlining what it called "a comprehensive set of policies designed to protect consumers from higher bills, promote energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, guarantee service for low-income and rural customers and ensure that utilities do not receive full recovery of costs associated with uneconomical investments."

The document "represents a road map for moving towards a competitive market that will benefit consumers and the environment without bailing out utilities or abandoning strong commitments to energy efficiency, renewable energy and low-income consumers," said Matthew Freedman, Energy Policy Analyst for Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Project.

Policies to develop cleaner energy sources are addressed in the blueprint, which calls for all electricity sellers to support a minimum portfolio of renewable energy resources at levels higher than exist today. "States must make renewable energy development a priority because of its substantial environmental and long-term economic benefits. These benefits are likely to be tossed aside if policymakers focus on short-term costs and ignore the consequences of emissions from fossil and nuclear plants," said Wenona Hauter, Environmental Program Director for Citizen Action. The move to competition has already frozen many utility commitments to new renewable resource development and threatens to result in the loss of existing solar, wind, biomass and geothermal projects across the country.

POWER FOR THE PEOPLE also contains a number of other strongly pro-renewables provisions, including:

Copies of POWER FOR THE PEOPLE can be obtained from Public Citizen, phone (202) 833-3000, at a price of $20.

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