The mandatory purchase feature of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978 should be repealed. Utilities should not be forced to buy power from non-utility generators. I expressed this opinion in a column earlier this year and readers responded with some spirited opinions of their own which we published in our letters column. I`d like to continue the discussion because I think this is a central issue for power producers.
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In the July 25 Wall Street Journal, John A. Hill, former deputy administrator of the Federal Energy Administration, said, "There is simply no rationale for a government role in the energy field outside of nuclear weapons." I couldn`t agree less. Hill based his assertion, that congress should dump the Depart ment of Energy (DOE), on the premise that it was created out of the energy shortage crisis of the early `70s, and now that crisis is past. However, since its creation the DOE has done much mo

The utility restructuring movement appears to be moving steadily in the direction of wholesale competition and away from retail wheeling. The California Public Utilities Commission, which started the retail wheeling furor a year ago, has backed away from direct access. A recent pronouncement said that a majority of the California commissioners favors setting up a wholesale power pool in the state with "virtual" direct access to lower rates for all customers. Real direct access is put off for two

Roger Naill, vice president of AES, the large independent power producer, reports that his firm has lost on projects lately on bids of three cents a kilowatt-hour, adding, "Prices are ridiculous. This market is unbelievably competitive."

I am happy to see that the headlong rush to introduce full-blown competition in the electric industry at the retail level has slowed down a little. The California Public Utility Commission is not moving as quickly as it thought it would a year ago, and now the Michigan commission is indicating caution. "While retail wheeling may get here it won`t get here as fast as some think, based on the Michigan experience," said Jim Padgett, Michigan Public Service Commission supervisor of electric operatio

I think the mandatory purchase requirement in the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) should be repealed. It requires electric utilities to purchase electricity produced by independent power producers (IPPs) which are qualifying facilities and can beat a utility`s so-called avoided cost.
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There?s talk the new Republican Congress will repeal the Clean Air Act (CAA) or maybe just repeal Phase 2. In early March, the House passed a bill that attacks the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop new regulations to enforce the CAA and similar laws. If enacted this bill would freeze all new regulations until a new cost/benefit standard for regulations was put into place.
Emissions

I heard an interesting comment from the audience at a recent nuclear power meeting. The session topic was improving the performance of operating nuclear plants. The audience member said that his firm was taking advantage of design conservatism built into the type of reactor his plant used by increasing output with relatively low-cost modifications. His plant would be able to generate an extra 50 MW at a cost of only $25 million.
Coal

Global competition and new information technologies are at the center of the U.S. power generation industry of the 1990s. Costs are falling, schedules are being compressed, and productivity is climbing. That was the message from Robert Ruisch, Black & Veatch managing partner in charge of the energy group, at the recent POWER-GEN Americas meeting in Orlando, Fla.
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Competition in electric power production and delivery has caused profound changes in the way we view our industry. A speaker from the Edison Electric Institute observed at a recent meeting that competition has pulled the rug out from under integrated resource planning. Cost-driven, cut-throat competitors are going to have little regard for some central planner?s notion of what kind of new capacity should be built. If central planners remain in control, then there will not be the kind of open ent