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 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 […]

IEEFA update: A perilous rush toward natural gas dependency in Puerto Rico

Reliance on imported fuel is not in the public’s best energy-security interest

IEEFA is urging the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) of Puerto Rico to halt the rush to natural gas infrastructure development in Puerto Rico. We’ve sent an open letter to board members warning this ill-advised strategy after recent news reports of PREPA discussions around potential new liquefied natural gas import terminals—at San Juan, Mayaguez […]

September 18, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Puerto Rico: Regulators must move roadblocks to renewable energy for market redesign to succeed

Energy Bureau should reject outdated market structures from mainland states; avoid trap of promoting large natural gas facilities

Puerto Rico has a historic opportunity to rebuild its electrical system and phase out its obsolete oil-fired generation in favor of a much more decentralized and reliable system based on renewable energy. To do that, the island must design a regulatory framework that maximizes the penetration of renewable energy and empowers the creation of locally-based […]

August 28, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA op-ed: Plan to turn to imported natural gas will cost Puerto Rico dearly

More ratepayer-subsidized profits for companies well-represented in Congress

A series of announcements over the past couple of weeks by Puerto Rican officials signals a new—and misguided—push for greater reliance on imported natural gas for electricity production. If these plans come to fruition, they will saddle Puerto Rico with far too much expensive natural gas-generated power while crowding out cheaper renewable energy. The plan, […]

IEEFA update: New debt deal throws Puerto Rico under the bus

A reckless proposal to benefit creditors while sapping the economy

In a deal it announced this week between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and some of its creditors, the federal Financial Oversight and Management Board, PREPA and the bondholders are only kicking the can down the road. The agreement means that businesses and households across Puerto Rico will be hit with a 10% increase […]

IEEFA update: An influential congressman impedes Puerto Rico’s recovery

Rep. Rob Bishop is interfering at the behest of oil and gas interests

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has abandoned the sound fiscal stewardship that once made him a leader on fiscal solvency and responsible economic recovery for Puerto Rico. Instead, Bishop has succumbed to the special-interest quagmire in Washington and is now actively promoting unsustainable policies for the battered U.S. commonwealth. […]

IEEFA update: PREPA privatization law invites more contracting scandals

The door is wide open for conflicts of interest and political hires; New law will not lead to much-needed transformation of energy generation mix

The law that Puerto Rico enacted last month to privatize the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has many flaws, including labor protections that are too weak, an unnecessary restructuring of the Puerto Rico Energy Commission and a lack of commitment to strong energy planning. And it is likely to lead to more contracting scandals […]