Providing support in energy litigation, negotiation, and research to governments, industries, utilities, and aboriginal peoples from California to Quebec.


Providing support in energy litigation, negotiation, and research to governments, industries, utilities, and aboriginal peoples from California to Quebec.

New Media

Trump renews DOA proposal on BPA grid

The Albany Democrat-Herald, Trump renews DOA proposal on BPA grid

It would be not such a sweet deal for Northwest ratepayers, who likely would be facing rate increases intended to cover the rising cost of transmission: One estimate from Robert McCullough, a Portland energy consultant, is that the cost of transmission could increase some 44 percent.

Who would profit if Trump privatizes the electrical grid? Not consumers on the West Coast

Los Angeles Times, MICHAEL HILTZIK

“The word ‘muddle’ comes to mind,” says Robert McCullough, a respected Portland energy consultant, referring to the justification for the privatization sale included in the Trump budget.

The White House suggests that selling the Bonneville grid would result in lower costs. But that narrative, McCullough wrote in a blistering assessment of the proposal, “displays a severe lack of understanding about the process of setting transmission rates.”

New Articles

PGE study: low-carbon grid is doable, affordable

The Oregonian, Ted Sickinger

“The utilities should love this” future, said Robert McCullough, a Portland energy consultant, noting that utilities don’t earn a rate of return on their fuel costs, only the capital they invest in hardware. “This is a lot of new hardware.”

Taking the path less followed

Vancouver Sun, Robert McCullough

A month ago, I had the honour of sitting down with the NDP cabinet and Premier John Horgan. I gave a detailed presentation why proceeding with Site C would be costly and risky. Curiously, after the cabinet meeting the only followup involved questions from specific MLAs — not inquiries from the cabinet or their staff.

Opinion: Site C proponents fall prey to Sunk Costs Fallacy

Vancouver Sun, Robert McCullough

This fallacy, which is related to status-quo bias, can also be viewed as bias resulting from an ongoing commitment. For example, individuals sometimes order too much food and then over-eat ‘just to get their money’s worth.’ Similarly, a person may have a $20 ticket to a concert and then drive for hours through a blizzard, just because s/he feels that s/he has to attend due to having made the initial investment. If the costs outweigh the benefits, the extra costs incurred (inconvenience, time or even money) are held in a different mental account than the one associated with the ticket transaction.

New Reports

Updating Bonneville’s Strategic Plan

On November 17, the Bonneville Power Administration presented a new strategic plan to its regional utility customers and other interested participants. The new plan did not focus on the root causes of mounting problems with competitiveness, operational inefficiency, reductions in borrowing authority, or cost control.
In this report, we offer some specific suggestions to Bonneville and to the region’s utilities that are its customers:

1) Submit the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) nuclear power plant to a market test and, if it fails, close the CGS as rapidly as possible thereafter;

2) Re-engineer the Coordination Agreement and the Canadian Treaty to make it easier for the Columbia River’s hydroelectric dams to meet the growing need to back up the variable resources of wind and solar energy; and,

3) Amend the 2008 power contracts to allow for additional loads, revenues, and jobs for the Pacific Northwest.