Entries by Scott Carlberg

“Strip Away the Blue-sky Spin” in the RTO Debate

Having a grid operator makes a lot of sense according to one energy expert. That grid operator is an RTO – regional transmission organization. There’s a catch, though. “So far nobody has figured out how to do it the right way,” says Ed Hirs, an energy economics expert. In my last column – Policymakers Have […]

Policymakers Have a Habit of Making Inefficient Markets

“An RTO is an industrial purchasing bureau, similar to the Soviet construction.” RTO = regional transmission organization, and it is being “studied” as something to implement in the Carolinas, if not the whole Southeast. The person who compares RTOs and old Soviet economics is Ed Hirs, who teaches energy economics at the University of Houston […]

Energy Jobs Will Grow

The top two fastest-growing jobs in the next 10 years that do not require a college degree are in energy. That is what a Bureau of Labor Statistics report says. Those jobs are in new energy technologies – wind energy technicians and solar panel installers. Finding a career niche without college is a big deal, […]

Changing Our Energy System Requires Some Give

Mention solar energy even a few years ago and angels sang, the sky was deep blue, and all was right with the world. Not so much anymore. That burnish has worn off in some places. NIMBYism – Not In My Backyard – has hit solar development. A story in the Salisbury [NC] newspaper, Solar farm […]

Four Things to Like About the NC Energy Bill

North Carolina has an energy bill – Energy Solutions for North Carolina. The vote in the Senate Wednesday followed a huge public debate, sparked by Governor Cooper’s 2019 Clean Energy Plan. The House voted on the compromise bill and Cooper now has it to sign. Everyone seems to get something, no one got everything asked. Seems […]

A Single State RTO is South Carolina’s One Car Parade

Have you ever seen a one-car parade? Get ready. South Carolina takes its first step in an electric market restructuring process. It could change how South Carolinians get their electricity, how much electricity, and what they pay. A legislative committee will study whether to create or join a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO). Regional is an […]

Throw the BS Flag on Part of the Energy Debate

Someone needs to throw the BS flag on a part of the energy debate in the Carolinas. Consider it thrown. Last week the South Carolina legislature’s committee to investigate a regional transmission organization (RTO) convened. Perhaps investigate should be in quotes. One comment made in the session was that no pre-conceived outcome has been determined […]

It’s Chilling! Energy Markets and Higher Costs

The energy market is showing that supply and demand are still in effect. Right now, the highlight is the price of natural gas, used in homes but also by many utilities to make electricity. The price of natural gas is 70% above recent lows; in the second week of September, it was a new 8-year […]