Author Archive: Karl Cates

Former IEEFA Transition Policy Analyst Karl Cates has been an editor for Bloomberg LP, an editor for the New York Times, and a consultant to the Treasury Department-sanctioned community development financial institution (CDFI) industry.

IEEFA U.S.: Virginia coal plant’s future isn’t bright: preparation for transition should commence now

Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC), one of the newest in U.S., risks closure due to market forces

December 16, 2020 (IEEFA)—Retiring the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC) will bring unnecessarily abrupt economic hardship to Wise County if state and local officials do not begin to plan now for a transition, concludes a report published today by the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis. The 8-year-old coal-fired power plant, owned by […]

IEEFA U.S.: Colorado electric wholesaler is alienating cost-conscious co-ops with its fossil commitments

Tri-State currently plans using coal through 2050 and expanding into gas; projected rate increases of 55% by 2050

Nov. 17, 2020 (IEEFA) — One of the biggest power suppliers to rural electric co-ops in the U.S. is putting its business model at risk as members clamor for better access to renewable energy, more affordable rates, and more say in how they buy or produce power, concludes a report released today by the Institute […]

and November 17, 2020 Read More →

IEEFA U.S.: Bankruptcy of Oakland project marks a bellwether moment for U.S. coal export ambitions

Long-simmering initiative to send Utah product to Asia is dead

A long-shot proposal to send coal 700 miles overland from Utah to Oakland for transoceanic shipment to Asian markets is dead.  A U.S. bankruptcy judge in Kentucky last week approved a plan by the proposed project’s major creditor, Autumn Wind Lending LLC, to take over a sublease at the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT) […]

IEEFA U.S.: How to negotiate responsible tax breaks on renewable energy deals

A guide to best practices in a sector where standards are lacking

Oct. 28, 2020 (IEEFA) — An advisory published today by the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) warns that too few standards exist for renewable energy tax abatement deals, even as utility-scale solar and wind power continue to quickly gain market share across the electricity generation sector. The advisory, Negotiating Responsible Tax Breaks […]

IEEFA U.S.: As utility company exits Four Corners Power Plant, NTEC seeks to keep it open

Avangrid acquisition of PNM signals regional market shift to renewables; coal company in maneuver to stay in business, puts more Navajo Nation finances at risk

In announcing its merger yesterday with renewable energy giant Avangrid, PNM Resources reaffirmed its commitment to end its use of coal, stating that it would continue with the abandonment of the San Juan Generating Station in 2022, and that it was actively working to sell its 13% stake in the Four Corners Power Plant. The […]

and October 22, 2020 Read More →

IEEFA: New Mexico’s biggest utility moves forcefully toward solar

Four projects totaling 950 megawatts will replace San Juan Generating Station; likelihood of coal plant carbon-capture retrofit further diminished

October 12, 2020 (IEEFA) — An aggressive expansion into utility-scale solar by Public Service Company of New Mexico will replace all of the power PNM will lose when the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) closes in June 2022, concludes a research brief published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. PNM’s […]

and October 12, 2020 Read More →

IEEFA update: Dwindling odds of success for retrofit of New Mexico coal plant with carbon capture

Barriers include recent failure of similar experimental project, oppositional market forces, no known investors, no customer base, nowhere to sequester emissions

Sept. 16, 2020 (IEEFA) — The proposed retrofit with carbon capture technology of a coal-fired power plant in San Juan County, N.M., shows dwindling chances of success, according to a briefing note released today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). The analysis concludes that the plan is most likely a lost […]

IEEFA: U.S. land agency is behind the times on utility-scale solar buildout rules

Outdated policies ignore the transition underway across the electricity generation industry

The Bureau of Land Management, the single biggest steward of real estate in the U.S., often finds itself in the crossfire of heated arguments over how best to use and/or protect the more than 250 million acres it is responsible for across the American West. To put these vast holdings in context, BLM lands account […]

and September 11, 2020 Read More →

IEEFA U.S.: Utah bailout of bankrupt California coal-export project likely to fail

Markets, distance, and community opposition pose obstacles - proposal lacks private sector backers

August 19, 2020 (IEEFA) —A proposed $20 million state investment in a bankrupt California coal-export project would most likely result in a loss to the state, concludes a research brief published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The brief—Utah Bailout of Bankrupt California Coal-Export Project Would Likely Fail—describes how weak export […]

IEEFA U.S.: A bankruptcy exception that proves the solar success rule

Government-funded innovation drove competition between technologies that accelerated a boom in renewable energy

In the rush among rival pharmaceutical companies to create an antidote to the COVID-19 virus, one, or some, will probably succeed. Many won’t.  That’s how competition works—why there’s Netflix now and not Blockbuster, the iPhone and not the Blackberry, Amazon and not Sears.  It happens in any industry—renewable energy included—innovation leading to more innovation, one […]

August 13, 2020 Read More →