Today in Cleantech

What’s going on in the world of competitive electricity markets? To find out, I’ve come to Houston, where the Texas Electricity Professionals Association is holding its fall conference. TEPA is a group of retail electricity providers and “ABCs” — aggregators, brokers and consultants — that serve the deregulated-slash-“competitive” Texas power market, the biggest in the United States. Still, it’s not the only one — Taff Tschamler, executive director of KEMA, told the audience that competitive U.S. markets make up about $45 billion, or 600 terawatt-hours of the country’s roughly 3,800 TWhs. That share should rise to about 700 TWhs by 2015, with New England and Mid-Atlantic states included, and Pennsylvania and Ohio moving to open up their power markets more completely. KEMA sees another 1,300 TWhs in the U.S. being “eligible” for a shift to competitive markets, Tschamler said. Of course, with the general public’s concept of power market deregulation mainly being the Enron/California fiasco in 2000 and 2001, deregulation advocates will need to take their message to regulators and customers, and show that deregulation works to lower prices and improve reliability.