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[Episode #105] – Can Competition Decarbonize Electricity?

In this third part of a trilogy of shows about how to decarbonize grid power, former utility regulator Travis Kavulla offers his thoughts on how wholesale electricity markets can use competition to deliver clean electricity. Following our discussion about reforming wholesale markets in Episode #90, and our exploration of how state policies can directly choose clean power in Episode #97, Travis offers some deep thoughts on the respective roles of FERC and state regulators, proposed reforms to PURPA, FERC’s showdown with PJM, the politicization of FERC, the recent battle in Ohio over HB6 (bailing out its nukes and coal plants), and other regulatory battles du jour. So much power market wonkery in such a small package!


Travis Kavulla is the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at NRG Energy. Previously, he was the energy and environmental policy director of the R Street Institute, a think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he served eight years as a commissioner on Montana’s Public Service Commission, including as chairman and vice-chairman of the commission. While a utility regulator, Commissioner Kavulla was president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Today, in addition to other duties, Travis is a member of the governing body of the Western Energy Imbalance Market, the real-time electricity marketplace started in 2014 using the California ISO’s platform. Earlier in his career, he was a writer and editor for National Review and other publications. Travis is a fourth-generation Montanan, and a graduate of Harvard and the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar.

On Twitter: @TKavulla

On the Web:  Travis’ page at R Street Institute

Recording date: August 7, 2019

Air date: October 2, 2019

Geek rating: 9