Monopoly Area Monday

Welcome to Grid Brief! Today, we’re looking at power generation in America’s traditional monopoly areas with relevant news items.

Monopoly Area Monday

Here’s a snapshot of generation nation-wide:

Total generation rose over the week, with natural gas serving as the top generator for the nation and nuclear firmly in second. Wind and coal swapped third place.

And here’s a map to orient you as we move through the areas:


Nuclear, natural gas, and coal kept the Carolinas humming as total generation rose. Solar punched into second place twice: once on the 14th and again two days later.


Nuclear was the top generator in America’s largest power power entity. Notice that natural gas, hydro, and coal all ramped to meet rising demand.

The TVA is considering four different routes to decarbonization by 2050:

  • The community resiliency route relies on homeowners and businesses to upgrade their efficiency and weatherization to decrease power demand. This is the least aggressive of the four pathways.

  • The accelerated electrification pathway commits to greater electrification in transportation, manufacturing, and residencies. This would increase the power demand in the TVA’s footprint, but also contribute to a greater projected decrease in the TVA’s emissions.

  • The low-carbon breakthrough path relies on currently experimental technologies: green hydrogen, small scale nuclear reactors, and grid-scale batteries. This scenario would garner less favorable decarbonization results than the accelerated electrification route.

  • The combined scenario weds the previous two pathways to incur the most profound decarbonization within the TVA. A study commissioned by the TVA suggests that this is the most likely direction the TVA will take.


Natural gas, nuclear, and coal were the workhorses of the Southeast.

The AP1000 Unit 4 reactor at Southern Company’s Vogtle plant reached criticality last week, which puts it on track to begin supplying power to the grid by the second quarter of this year.

“Unit 4 is one of two Westinghouse AP1000 units being built at the Vogtle site near Waynesboro in Georgia, which is already home to two operating pressurised water reactors,” reports World Nuclear News. “Unit 3 - the first new nuclear unit to be built in the USA for more than three decades - reached initial criticality in March 2023, and began commercial operation in July.”

"The new Vogtle units are an essential part of Georgia Power's commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to its 2.7 million customers. When operating, each of the new units can produce enough electricity to power an estimated 500,000 homes and businesses,” Southern Company said in a statement.


Natural gas was far and away the biggest power generator in the Sunshine state with solar and nuclear as second and third.


Hydropower, natural gas, and coal kept the lights on in the American Northwest.

The Bonneville Power Association’s revenues are down in the first quarter of this year. “Dry winter conditions in the Pacific Northwest have resulted in agency net revenues of negative $102 million, $197 million below the financial performance target,” reports KTVZ. “Power Services’ net revenue forecast is negative $109 million, which is $209 million below agency targets. This decrease is primarily due to higher power purchase expenses and is slightly offset by increases in operating revenues. Transmission Services’ net revenues are forecast to be $3 million, which is $7 million above agency targets. This is driven largely by lower depreciation expenses and higher interest income.”


Natural gas and nuclear were the top two generators in the Southwest as solar and coal swapped for third place.

Arizona’s Corporation Commission has voted to strip out the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency rules. “On a 4-1 vote commissioners directed staff to draft an order eliminating the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff, or REST rules, and gas and electric energy efficiency and demand side management rules,” reports Utility Dive. “A public comment period and second vote by the commission will be required to finalize the move.”

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Conversation Starters

  • A major shale deal faces delays. “Occidental Petroleum expects the closing of its $12-billion deal to buy CrownRock to be delayed to the second half of 2024 as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has asked for additional information while it reviews the proposed transaction,” reports “At the end of last year, Oxy said it would buy Permian oil and gas producer CrownRock for cash and stock in a deal valued at around $12 billion, including debt, with which it joined the wave of recent mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. oil industry. The acquisition will boost Occidental’s premier Permian portfolio with the addition of around 170,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) of high-margin, lower-decline unconventional production in 2024, as well as approximately 1,700 undeveloped locations.”

  • FERC undergoes personnel changes. “President Joe Biden on Friday named Willie Phillips as chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission after he served as acting chair for more than a year. FERC will have an important role in spurring access to reliable, affordable carbon-free energy as the Biden administration works to tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice and create a clean electricity grid by 2035, the White House said in a statement,” reports Utility Dive. “Also, in news first reported by Politico, FERC Commissioner Allison Clements said she would not seek a second term at the agency. Her term ends June 30, but she could remain at FERC until the end of this Congressional session, which is expected to end on Jan. 3.”

  • Australia to roll out billions in clean energy subsidies. “Australia’s government is preparing to announce a major multi-billion support scheme to attract more investment in clean energy and curb outflows of capital to the U.S. and Europe, which already have massive subsidy initiatives to develop green energy solutions, the Australian Financial Review reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources,” reports “‘You can see that in the unprecedented investments the United States and the EU and Japan and Korea are making in their industrial bases,’ Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is expected to say in a speech later on Friday.”

Crom’s Blessing

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