The Transformer – Washington regulators' rulings on Puget Sound Energy set national precedents

In June, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission issued a package of orders on three different Puget Sound Energy cases. The settlement and orders address PSE’s expedited rate filing, its proposed purchase of “coal transition power” from TransAlta Corp.’s coal plant in Centralia, Wash., and – perhaps most significantly – electric and gas decoupling to facilitate increased energy efficiency efforts by the utility.

This package of decisions ranks among the most important utility regulatory victories in decades for clean and affordable energy. The new edition of The Transformer summarizes the rulings and outlines the decoupling mechanism, the expedited rate filing and the TransAlta power purchase agreement…

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The Transformer – January 4, 2011

Customers right to be wary of smart grid
“Cyberfying” the electric system is one of the biggest topics in today’s energy world. Article after article extols the wonderful things the smart grid will do for customers, from heightening energy system reliability and safety, to capturing energy efficiencies, to more easily incorporating renewable resources and facilitating electric vehicles, etc.

Given all these assumed benefits, smart grid proponents seem surprised that so many consumer advocacy organizations — particularly those concerned about low-income ratepayers – are urging caution.

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The Transformer – August 18, 2010

How green is my electron? Overcoming the smart grid’s color blindness
Energy journals and, increasingly, the popular media now teem with updates and predictions on developing “smart grid” technologies … how they will help smooth power demand, greatly improve efficiency and outage/service response, and reward consumers with lower bills.

This issue of The Transformer tackles the question of why the smart grid isn’t necessarily a green grid and, in fact, could actually foster greater demand for power from coal-fueled or nuclear baseload plants. It also presents one proposed means of dealing with the problem: buying green electrons…

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The Transformer – A bridge to somewhere? Natural gas, LNG and our clean energy future

More and more utilities are rushing to substitute gas-fired combustion turbines for coal in their resource plans while rapidly expanding their use of renewables and efficiency. But are the assumptions behind this change correct? The new rush to gas is raising serious questions about domestic and international supply, price and price volatility, and lifecycle carbon emissions. This edition of The Transformer addresses those questions and considers the controversy surrounding liquefied natural gas.

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The Transformer – August 6, 2008

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are a step beyond traditional hybrid vehicles. Much of their fuel comes directly from the electric grid, and thus their extensive employment has significant implications for the electric power system.

This issue of The Transformer considers those implications…

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The Transformer – June 11, 2008

Vol. 5, No. 3 When big money talks, it pays to listen: Financiers cast critical eye on coal plant proposals Background This February, a press release from four of the country’s largest financial institutions caught utilities’ attention. Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Chase and Bank of America announced they had endorsed a set of carbon principles to…

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The Transformer – February 25, 2008

Points and counterpoints on decoupling Transformer Background Our Nov. 28 Transformer on decoupling, a strategy for overcoming potential revenue losses for utilities that invest in energy efficiency, elicited a flurry of electronic responses. Several writers were complimentary; others sought clarifications of insider terminology (we’ll keep working on that!) or additional information, which we supplied them…

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