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Charlotte Business Journal: How Duke Energy Could Join other Power Giants to Remake Southeast Markets

Posted by John Downey on Jul 17, 2020

Charlotte Business Journal covered the possibility of an energy imbalance market exchange between Duke Energy and other Southeastern energy companies that could span 10 states and 32 million customers, quoting AEE's Jeff Dennis. Read excerpts below and the entire Charlotte Business Journal piece here. 

The market contemplated by Duke Energy Corp. and other Southeastern power companies could create a massive energy exchange across parts of 10 states with more than 32 million customers from eastern Oklahoma to south Georgia... Skeptics say the devil is in the details. And the power companies say there aren’t enough details yet to share much with regulators, state governments, energy advocates, consumer groups and other interested parties...

Duke has been involved in discussions with stakeholders in both Carolinas about regulatory reform. That includes structured markets, from strictly governed Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) to less tightly run Electric Imbalance Markets (EIMs) like the exchange market Southern has been discussing with Duke and more than a dozen other Southeastern utilities. Many involved in those Carolinas discussions worry Duke’s potential interest in SEEM may be a ploy by Duke to avoid some of the more involved regulatory schemes being discussed. Duke disclaims any such motive. But it is clear that if the nearly 20 utility companies now in talks do opt for the exchange market, the group would likely be resistant to changing that structure quickly after adopting it...

Jeff Dennis, a managing director with Washington-based Advanced Energy Economy, says it is possible an EIM could grow into a more involved structured market. He notes the California-based Western Energy Imbalance Market, which covers parts of several western states and a bit of Western Canada, has started looking at expanding its market activities and has even increased interest in the region for a possible RTO. He notes Western already has a robust and active governance board made up of regulators, utilities and other stakeholders. 

He also notes that, while details are scarce, it seems clear the utilities discussing SEEM are not interested in a new layer of governance outside the utilities. That would be unfortunate, he says. The Western EIM, started in 2014, has had measurable impacts — about $800 million in customer savings and a clear reduction in carbon emissions in the market. But an important intangible contributing to those benefits has been the strength of its governance board and the cooperation it has fostered among the participating utilities...

Read the entire Charlotte Business Journal piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News