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: 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 […]

IEEFA Update: The Texas Electricity Transition Gains Pace

IEEFA Update: The Texas Electricity Transition Gains Pace

More Coal Plant Closings on the Horizon; Wind and Solar on the Rise

Texas continues its remarkable transition away from coal-fired electricity generation. And the trend is gaining momentum because market forces are in the driver’s seat, which is to say coal plants for the most part are no longer competitive with other sources of energy. A report we published last fall—“The Beginning of the End: Fundamental Changes […]

IEEFA Update: Kemper, Edwardsport, and ‘Clean Coal’

Construction Delays and Budget Overruns; Productivity Problems; High Operating Costs

If the “clean coal” integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology promoted at home and abroad by the U.S. utility industry sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. That’s why Moody’s Investors Services warned the other day that it might downgrade the credit of Mississippi Power Company because of the declining competitiveness of […]

February 28, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Indiana: Another Coal-Fired Plant That Should Be Retired

IEEFA Indiana: Another Coal-Fired Plant That Should Be Retired

Saving the Petersburg Generating Station Would Cost Indianapolis Power & Light Ratepayers $80 Million. It’s Not Worth It.

Indianapolis Power & Light Company, a subsidiary of Virginia-based AES Corp. that provides electricity to almost a half million people in central Indiana, isn’t known for always doing right by its ratepayers. A spectacular case in point is the company’s current campaign to get the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to allow what in essence is […]

January 27, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals

IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals

Production Declining by as Much as 40 Million Tons; Prices Failing to Benefit Shareholders or Stimulate New Investment; Anemic Exports; Little or No Gain From Regulatory Relief; Increasingly Dim Employment Prospects

We’re out this morning with our annual outlook for U.S. coal markets, and the picture isn’t pretty. We see the potential for some short-lived strength in the current uptick for coal producers but the title of our assessment sums up the larger view: “Short-Term Gains Will Be Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals.” You can […]

IEEFA Update: As U.S. Electricity-Generation Transition Continues, Signs of Tough Year Ahead for Coal-Power Sector

IEEFA Update: As U.S. Electricity-Generation Transition Continues, Signs of Tough Year Ahead for Coal-Power Sector

Low Natural Gas Prices and Increasingly Inexpensive Renewable Generation Technologies

The New Year has barely broken but headlines around the electricity-generation transition that is occurring across the U.S. already suggest a year for the record books. Indications are that coal-fired generation, specifically, will suffer significant additional setbacks as competition from natural gas and renewables continues to take away market share. Publications specializing in energy-development and […]

January 13, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Wind Is Blowing Away Fossil-Generated Power in Middle America

IEEFA Update: Wind Is Blowing Away Fossil-Generated Power in Middle America

From Deep in the Heart of Texas to North Dakota, a Historic Shift in U.S. Electricity Production

Wind generation has grown by more than 11 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in just a year in the huge ERCOT market of Texas. The increase, which has driven wind’s share of generation to 48 million MWh in the first 11 months of 2016 from 36 million MWh in the first 11 months of 2015, has displaced […]

December 21, 2016 Read More →