Author Archive: Cathy Kunkel

Energy Analyst Cathy Kunkel is an independent consultant with Kunkel Energy Research. She has testified before regulatory bodies and was a senior research associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She has undergraduate and master’s degrees in physics.

IEEFA Puerto Rico: PREPA privatization plan overlooks unionized workers as best asset

Honoring collective bargaining agreements is fiscally sound and economically necessary

Puerto Rico’s Senate and House of Representatives are finalizing an energy policy bill that amends the existing privatization plan for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). One of the remaining issues is whether to require future private utility owners to honor existing PREPA collective bargaining agreements with labor unions. The legislature should protect these […]

and February 25, 2019 Read More →

IEEFA update: Andrew Cuomo got it right on New York’s fracking ban

Despite opponents’ fears, ban likely saved investors billions

New York State, under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, instituted a ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in 2014. Not surprisingly, the ban was hotly contested. Opponents had portrayed fracking as a silver bullet that would create jobs and promote economic development.  They predicted the state’s citizens would regret Cuomo’s decision. A retrospective analysis of […]

IEEFA Puerto Rico: PREPA privatization means crushingly high electric rates

IEEFA Puerto Rico: PREPA privatization means crushingly high electric rates

“Nonpolitical” plan is poorly regulated and likely means more corrupt contracts

The Puerto Rican government is moving full-steam ahead with a series of privatization contracts for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) that are likely to lock customers into even more expensive electric rates than they currently pay. Instead of taking this opportunity to make electricity affordable and resilient, the government plan will tie the […]

and February 1, 2019 Read More →

IEEFA Puerto Rico: New natural gas deal fits same old pattern for choosing contractors

Lack of transparency, subversion of planning process, award to small company with questionable track record all sound familiar

The government of Puerto Rico is moving forward with plans to convert two units at the San Juan power plant from oil to natural gas. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) plans to contract with a third party that will make the necessary upgrades to the power plant to convert it and invest in […]

and January 22, 2019 Read More →

IEEFA Puerto Rico: PREPA keeps relying on expensive consultants

Instead of building up its own staff expertise on key continuing issues

So far, the limited use and short shelf life of Puerto Rico’s bevy of high-cost consultants has not contributed to solving its energy and finance problems.  As a prime example, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) overreliance on outside advisors continues to undercut its ability to invest in the people needed in Puerto Rico […]

December 19, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Puerto Rico:  Massive liquefied natural gas project dead

IEEFA Puerto Rico: Massive liquefied natural gas project dead

Finally, some good news for electricity ratepayers in Puerto Rico

A massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Puerto Rico that would have diverted funds from badly needed development of solar power and would have kept electric power costs high has been officially cancelled. Last week, Excelerate Energy, the company that planned to develop a natural gas import terminal in Puerto Rico, requested that the […]

November 30, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA U.S.: Why are Virginia energy coop customers paying as much as 50% over market?

45-year supply contract is not publicly available and has no transparency

Customers of a rural electric cooperative in northern Virginia are locked into paying 23% to 50% above-market rates for power under a forty-five year contract, even though the supplier to the coop buys the majority of its power at market rates. That’s the main conclusion of an IEEFA briefing note released earlier this month on […]

November 13, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Puerto Rico: PREPA preliminary energy plan modeling says maximize renewables

Senate should change its energy bill to support, not hinder, this goal

Over the near term, Puerto Rico should invest as much as possible in renewable energy and storage. That is a key takeaway from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) preliminary modeling results for its integrated resource plan (IRP), which it plans to file with the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau in late January. PREPA’s preliminary […]

November 5, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Puerto Rico: A step toward renewables or another scandal waiting to happen?

Energy bill is a limp gesture toward true reform

A bill put forth last week by leading Puerto Rico senators pushing for major energy policy reform for the island makes some noteworthy commitments to renewable energy. Unfortunately it would do little to shut down the rush to natural gas development that threatens to crowd out investment in renewables. On the one hand, the bill […]

October 26, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA update: The unsustainable debt deal that won’t die

Magical debt thinking persists even with Puerto Rico’s economy declining and PREPA losing money

July’s proposal to pay bondholders 77 cents on the dollar for about a third of the debt of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) straggles on, neither approved nor rejected despite deadlines passing. If the measure of success of a debt settlement is that it offers realistic payouts to bondholders while allowing the debtor […]