Power Lines Blog

When Coal is Off the Rails

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Delays on railroad shipments of coal have been increasing substantially, and may pose a threat to grid reliability if action is not taken. Thirty-seven percent of electricity generated in the United States is from coal, two-thirds of which is moved from the mine to plant via rail. The amount of coal stocks, measured in “days-of-burn,” is down significantly, due in large part to congestion on the railroads. Utilities generally build up these coal stockpiles during autumn to prepare for the high winter demand. Weather forecasters are already predicting a cold winter, and a lack of stockpiled coal will make it more difficult and more expensive for the electric utility industry to keep the lights on.

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EPA’s Double Jeopardy for Modified/Reconstructed Electric Generating Units

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Environmental stewardship is a priority for public power utilities. But the onslaught of capricious — and sometimes unnecessary — Environmental Protection Agency regulations often hurts rather than helps our mission. And threatens to raise costs for electricity customers.

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2014 Midterm Elections: The Public Power Forecast (UPDATED)

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All eyes are on the 2014 midterm elections and how they will define the new balance of power in Congress. While we can’t predict the which party will control the Senate, we can say with certainty that no matter what happens, there will be a lot of change on House and Senate congressional committees with jurisdiction over policy issues important to public power utilities.

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Why Is EPA Penalizing Nuclear, the Nation’s Third Largest Energy Source?

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Power providers are being penalized for developing new nuclear generation facilities when they should be encouraged to diversify energy sources. During Nuclear Science Week, a national week-long celebration of local, regional, and national interest in all aspects of nuclear science, public power applauds advanced nuclear technologies in energy, and wants to tell you why fossil fuel-free nuclear energy is an essential component of America’s generation mix.

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Smart Meters Are Smart Enough to Protect Your Privacy

Since 2012, utilities in the United States have set up more than 43 million Advanced Meter Installations (AMI), aka “smart meters” in homes and businesses, and more such meters are being installed every day. Why smart meters? What can they do and not do? Do they threaten your privacy? Do they give others control over how you use electricity? Let’s find out.

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