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: Coal Is Dying, and EPA’s Clean Power Plan Reversal Can’t Save It

Energy Policy From Washington Drifts Toward Irrelevance

By turning the clock back on American energy policy through reversal of the Clean Power Plan, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — if he succeeds — will end up making electricity for everyday Americans more expensive. And as power bills rise so will the coal industry’s harmful impacts public health and the environment. I say “if […]

October 13, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Texas: Latest U.S. Coal Plant Shutdown Stems From a Saga in Which Investors Failed to See Change Coming

IEEFA Texas: Latest U.S. Coal Plant Shutdown Stems From a Saga in Which Investors Failed to See Change Coming

Markets Rendered a Harsh Judgment on a Bad Private-Equity Deal, Cheap Natural Gas, and the Rise of Wind-Powered Electricity

[First of two parts.] Last week Luminant and its new parent company, Vistra, announced the imminent closure of the 1,800-megawatts Monticello Power Plant in North Texas, near the Arkansas and Oklahoma state lines. It’s been a long time coming. The plant has operated at a loss for years, having failed to compete with low natural […]

IEEFA Update: In Campaign to Prop Up Navajo Generating Station, Peabody Energy Seeks a Victory Again at Somebody Else’s Expense

IEEFA Update: In Campaign to Prop Up Navajo Generating Station, Peabody Energy Seeks a Victory Again at Somebody Else’s Expense

Calculated Misinformation by a Coal Company Chasing Fading Profits

The last time Peabody Energy got involved with developing a new power plant it ended in financial chaos for 200 Midwest communities that had been talked into taking part. Peabody was the lead proponent of the Prairie State Generating Center in Marisa, Illinois, which opened in 2012 promising cheap electricity for the towns and cities […]

IEEFA Update: In West Virginia Governor’s Scheme, a Bailout Disguised as a National-Security Program That Would Cost Taxpayers $60 Billion Over Five Years

A Flimsy and Dangerous Rationale Rooted in a Denial of Modern Energy Market Trends

Just how big a giveaway to the Appalachian coal industry is West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice talking about as he lobbies the White House for a $15-per-ton subsidy for coal producers in the region? Central and Northern Appalachia coal fields produced 167 million tons in 2016, which not incidentally was its lowest year of production […]

IEEFA Update: The U.S. Nuclear Project Cancellation Announcement Heard ’Round the World

IEEFA Update: The U.S. Nuclear Project Cancellation Announcement Heard ’Round the World

Reverberations in Decision on V.C. Summer Project; Similar Reactor Construction in Georgia Is at Risk; Implications for India's Ambitions

Hindsight being 20/20, it’s clear that the developers of the V.C. Summer nuclear-energy project in South Carolina had no choice but to pull the plug on the project, as they announced yesterday they had done. Reasonable foresight would have better served ratepayers of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. as well those of Santee Cooper, […]

IEEFA Update: A Texas Coal Domino Teeters

IEEFA Update: A Texas Coal Domino Teeters

‘If It's Not Economic for Us, It Won't be Economic for Anybody Else’

Conceding finally that it is uneconomical to operate the Gibbons Creek coal plant except during the hottest months of the year, the owners of the plant have announced it will run now only from June through September. The news is emblematic of a broad shift nationally away from coal-fired electricity and is notable for being […]

IEEFA Update: Will Southern Company Refund Mississippi Ratepayers for Failed $7.5 Billion Kemper ‘Clean Coal’ Experiment?

IEEFA Update: Will Southern Company Refund Mississippi Ratepayers for Failed $7.5 Billion Kemper ‘Clean Coal’ Experiment?

Red Flags Ignored in Long Run-up to Power Plant Debacle

Call it what you will: fiasco, debacle, calamity, misadventure. But not a surprise. Georgia-based Southern Company and its regulators in Mississippi were warned years ago that the experimental and now infamous “clean coal” Kemper power plant project was a shot in the dark. They kept at it anyway, pushing the price tag to $7.5 billion, […]

IEEFA Update: Electricity Auctions Across Major Swaths of U.S. Spell Further Distress for Fading Coal Plants

More Capacity From Gas-Fired Generation and Renewable Sources Creates an Existential Problem for the Old Order

Coal-fired electricity plants across much of the U.S. earn their revenues by selling megawatt hours (MWh) into competitive wholesale capacity markets in the capacity that generation represents in megawatts (MW). The trends in the revenue these plants earn through selling their capacity in periodic auctions are increasingly worrisome for their owners.  Energy market prices have […]

IEEFA Update: Even Without Tax Credits, Prices for U.S. Wind and Solar Are on a Downward Slope

IEEFA Update: Even Without Tax Credits, Prices for U.S. Wind and Solar Are on a Downward Slope

By the Early 2020s, Unsubsidized Wind and Solar Prices Will Beat the Variable Costs of Operating Coal and Natural Gas Plants

Wind and solar power purchase agreement (PPA) prices have declined dramatically in recent years, establishing a trend that continues. The levelized prices for power from utility-scale solar projects (5 MW and larger) declined by 73 percent from a capacity-weighted average of $154.20 levelized (in real $2015 dollars) in 2009 to an average of $41.10 per […]

IEEFA Update: Full Retirement of Plant Hammond Remains the Best Outcome for Georgia Ratepayers

IEEFA Update: Full Retirement of Plant Hammond Remains the Best Outcome for Georgia Ratepayers

As Staffing Is Cut by Half, Cost of Operations Remain Uncompetitive

“Economic and market conditions” are the reasons cited by Georgia Power authority this week in announcing it will cut about half the 140-employee staff at the coal-fired Plant Hammond in the Northwest part of the state. Georgia Power, however, is still struggling to accept that the plant ought to be completely shut down, and for […]