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On What a Waste – Vermont Yankee is in Beautiful Condition

So the subsidy should be larger? (that's actually a real question)

To the original point - the idea that the PTC is some conspiracy to encourage moral decay through the development of wind and solar remains, to my limited understanding, absurd.

April 2, 2014    View Comment    

On What a Waste – Vermont Yankee is in Beautiful Condition

Nuclear has had the support of a PTC for several years, w/o the sunset issues of renewables and there are exactly two plants in construction based on that (plus a huge loan guarantee and rate recovery backstop), but I am sure you are right that the PTC is Bernie Sanders' diabolical plan to make us live in hamlets.

April 2, 2014    View Comment    

On What a Waste – Vermont Yankee is in Beautiful Condition

Undermining public confidence can be costly - http://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/articles/2010/02/24/nrc_confirms_2005_tritium_leak_at_vermont_yankee_plant/

Regarding the leak: "Plant officials admitted last month that they had misled state officials, sometimes under oath, by saying the plant did not have the sort of underground pipes that could carry tritium."

March 31, 2014    View Comment    

On Is A Super El Niño Coming That Will Shatter Extreme Weather And Global Temperature Records?

On the bright side it'll rain in California...

March 31, 2014    View Comment    

On With Dark Clouds on the Horizon, Can Financial Innovation Keep Distributed Solar Shining?

That's right (not sure anyone has quanitified the possible impact on T&D capex needs), and especially since we're still basing all this on emission cost of zero (which is of course entirely absurd if we're trying to lay out the true economics). I look forward to the analysis!

March 11, 2014    View Comment    

On With Dark Clouds on the Horizon, Can Financial Innovation Keep Distributed Solar Shining?

Are you assuming there is adequate built fossil fuel capacity to meet future electric demand? Fuel only seems a strange comparison.  Also, assuming static pricing in a young a growing industry doesnt' seem quite right either.  

March 11, 2014    View Comment    

On With Dark Clouds on the Horizon, Can Financial Innovation Keep Distributed Solar Shining?

Geoffrey,

I don’t think it is all that much of a risk.  Here are a couple of points to consider:

1        All of the residential pools right now are using fairly high and stable credit scores (680+ at least), so not anything like sub-prime. 

 

2        People pay their electric bills before mortgage payments and car bills (smaller payments, and it is easier to shut off power than to foreclose or even repossess a car).

 

3        Much of the financial crisis was built on secondary instruments traded against asset backed securities – the basic idea of a pool of asset backed obligations doesn’t create the same kind of risk that the layers of derivatives in the mortgage crisis did.

 

As with any market if abused and manipulated into something altogether different than it’s shaping up to be would create some risk – similarly if the underlying credit risk slides deep into high risk credit – selling junk backed securities as asset backed equivalents still seems like a bad idea whether it is tied to real estate or solar – then there would be some risk, but that all seems awfully remote against the value of this evolving market.   

 

March 10, 2014    View Comment    

On The Solar Energy Industry is Red Hot - Will it Get Hotter?

Maybe you can break out the calculation in a little more detail - still not sure I am following this.

December 18, 2013    View Comment    

On The Solar Energy Industry is Red Hot - Will it Get Hotter?

$76 seems pretty optimistic – is that just capex (and at what discount rate?). History would suggest $9 and $15 are not final numbers.

 

December 18, 2013    View Comment    

On The Solar Energy Industry is Red Hot - Will it Get Hotter?

$76 seems pretty optimistic – is that just capex (and at what discount rate?). History would suggest $9 and $15 are not final numbers.

 

December 18, 2013    View Comment    

On The Solar Energy Industry is Red Hot - Will it Get Hotter?

Is there a link you can share to the IEA $1.3 trillion in solar subsidies by 2035 number?

December 17, 2013    View Comment    

On The Solar Energy Industry is Red Hot - Will it Get Hotter?

I don’t agree with your take on insurance – relevant measure is not historical claims – it’s the cost to insure against possible claims, so at a minimum the right measure is something closer to Fukushima (and anticipating the “that could never happen here claim” I’ll just point out that it did in fact happen, so suggestions of something of similar magnitude can’t happen misses the point of insurance).

There is a similar dynamic at work in offshore oil risk (though there it is an actual liability cap) the government is subsidizing the risk management cost by backstopping catastrophe. I think this is less a question of whether this is or isn’t a good idea but what the actual cost of this backstop really is to taxpayers and how to transfer this cost away from the taxpayer and back to the generation cost.

December 17, 2013    View Comment