Author Archive: David Schlissel

Director of Resource Planning Analysis David Schlissel is a long-time consultant, expert witness, and attorney on engineering and economic issues related to energy. He has testified in more than 100 court proceedings or cases before regulatory bodies.

IEEFA update: Where are the customers for the Navajo Generating Station?

IEEFA update: Where are the customers for the Navajo Generating Station?

Lack of “revenue certainty,” continuing market risks, and over $150 million in deferred maintenance costs raise further doubts

As debate intensifies around the merits of Navajo Transitional Energy Company’s (NTEC) plan to acquire the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) power plant and associated Kayenta mine, fundamental questions about its ability to attract customers and cover liabilities connected with the enterprise remain unanswered. A closer look at the evolution of the deal, however, offers several […]

IEEFA Arizona: 10 follow-up questions for the Navajo Transitional Energy Company

Who runs the company, will Navajo Nation be left holding the bag, how many jobs will be lost, and will employee benefits be eliminated?

As the Navajo Transitional Energy Company presses forward with its proposition to acquire the failing Navajo Generating Station (NGS) and its supplier, the Peabody Energy-owned Kayenta Mine, concerns persist about the substance of the proposal and the liabilities that would come with it. While NTEC’s general counsel, Bernard Masters, revealed some fresh details yesterday before […]

IEEFA update: Big risk to taxpayers in FirstEnergy settlement on coal plants

IEEFA update: Big risk to taxpayers in FirstEnergy settlement on coal plants

Who will pay for cleanup and reclamation at sites in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia?

The overriding risk that remains from a federal court settlement this week around the FirstEnergy Solutions bankruptcy in Ohio is that taxpayers in three states will be left holding the bag on cleaning up after the company. This is no small-ticket item. It’s impossible to say what it will cost to decommission and do the […]

September 28, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA update: Duke Energy’s costly Edwardsport coal-gasification project continues to underperform

IEEFA update: Duke Energy’s costly Edwardsport coal-gasification project continues to underperform

A multibillion-dollar hit to Indiana ratepayers

Duke Energy’s 5-year-old gasified coal power experiment in Edwardsport, Ind., has turned out to be a catastrophe for ratepayers. That’s the main conclusion of the testimony I submitted yesterday to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on the plant, which was sold at the outset as a cost-effective integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) project that burns […]

IEEFA update: The hurdles to an economically viable Navajo Generating Station remain

High-priced power is difficult, if not impossible, to sell

Word is that a deal is still in the works to keep the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station open past 2019. It’s not an impossible task, but it would come at a high cost and it would require the owners to pull off two near-Herculean feats. First, production costs would have to be severely slashed. Tucson […]

IEEFA op-ed: A U.S. coal bailout wouldn’t stop electric sector transition

A blatant misuse of the law and a phony national-defense argument

It seems a waste of time and resources to call on a nearly 70-year-old defense law to rescue certain failing and outdated sectors of the energy industry. Yet that is precisely what has been proposed. The Trump administration is floating a plan to use the Defense Production Act of 1950, enacted as a drastic national-security measure to […]

IEEFA update: The American wind-energy horse is out of the barn

IEEFA update: The American wind-energy horse is out of the barn

Power purchase agreement prices fall

Almost a decade has gone by now since U.S. wind-turbine power purchase agreements were priced at $70 per megawatt-hour. Technology advances and efficiency gains have since driven a seemingly relentless drop in such prices. Average wind power purchase agreements had fallen to $20 per megawatt-hour (MWh) by 2016, and in December 2017, Xcel Energy—the Minnesota […]

IEEFA Update: Modernization Is the Ticket to National Energy Security

Propping Up Outdated Models Is Not in the Country’s Best Interest

Most discussion around the possibility of the federal government invoking the Defense Production Act of 1950 in order to keep failing coal-fired and nuclear electricity plants alive has avoided exploring more sensible policy recommendations. For months, the Trump administration has been floating various proposals aimed at propping up aging plants and their suppliers. All of […]

IEEFA Update: An Effort in Congress to Bail Out the U.S. Coal Industry at Taxpayers’ Expense

A Bill to Ostensibly Enhance National Energy Security Would Actually Benefit Only a Select Few

Having failed to obtain bailouts for failing coal plants and mines by way of policy actions from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the coal industry has now turned to its friends in Congress. Rep. Larry Bucshon, a Republican from Indiana, is promoting House Bill HR 5270, the Electricity Reliability […]

IEEFA Update: America’s Coal Industry Is in Trouble

IEEFA Update: America’s Coal Industry Is in Trouble

Little Evidence That Exports Will Save the Day

American coal industry executives have been working hard to restore investor confidence by arguing for a business-recovery rationale based on increased demand in export markets. There’s not much evidence for this case. Exports did help the industry in 2017, as several companies noted in their latest earnings reports, but U.S. coal producers are facing major […]