The manhunt marked the dramatic close to a saga that made TransÉnergie a poster child for the confusion that reigns in the U.S. power market. In the early 1990s, the U.S. Congress threw wholesale power markets open to competition, enabling state utilities to buy bulk power from generators located hundreds or thousands of kilometers away (much of New England and New York’s power, for example, comes from Québec). But regional coördination of power grids to accommodate long-distance power delivery has stalled. All too often, coördination has fallen victim to interests that stand to lose from increased competition; and federal law gives states the upper hand in regu-lating electrical transmission, thwarting the best efforts of power regulators in Washington. “It’s really a mess,” says Sally Hunt, a power-industry expert affiliated with National Economic Research Associates, a consultancy in New York. TransÉnergie’s project got caught in a tussle between Connecticut and New York. “We were stuck in the middle of a much larger policy debate,” says Trans-Énergie U.S. president Jeff Donahue. What makes the gridlock tragic is that it’s stifling the application of advanced transmission technologies that promise to not only facilitate power sharing across the continent’s aging power grids but also… Read full this story
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