Green investments require bulletproof financing.
Originally developed to compensate U.S. electric utilities for regulatory assets rendered uneconomic by deregulation, so-called “stranded-cost” securitization techniques are finding new applications. To date, utilities have issued approximately $40 billion of stranded-cost securitizations. That number could increase dramatically if the industry applies well-tested securitization techniques to the extraordinary costs it faces in the future.
Hollywood envisions the utility of the future.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
One of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters this summer has been Wall-E—Disney-Pixar’s animated movie about a lovable robot who restores humanity’s place on a trashed Earth. I doubt Wall-E’s producers realized it, but they created a cynical metaphor for the U.S. utility industry.
Strategic pain points require an artful approach.
Monica Benner and Mani Vadari
Utilities are at the threshold of some of the most significant changes they have faced in their history, rivaling the passage of PUHCA in 1935. This change emanates primarily from a handful of key business drivers associated with major technological improvements (i.e., AMI, smart grid), the need for increased customer focus, increased regulatory mandates, and a changing workforce.
Utility infrastructure projects face high costs, labor shortages and global competition for resources.
A huge backlog exists for utility infrastructure projects. Major players in the construction industry—ABB, Black & Veatch, Siemens, The Shaw Group and WorleyParsons—discuss the trends, both good and bad, and how they are getting the job done on badly needed projects.
RTO markets aren’t living up to the promise of cheaper power.
Robert McCullough, Berne Martin Howard and Michael Deen
Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) have not performed as well as open wholesale markets over the past decade. RTO advocates want governmental intervention, but the best answer may be requiring RTOs to file system lambdas.
The need for many hundreds of billions of dollars in capital expenditures creates huge opportunities and challenges, especially in a more challenging credit environment.
An estimated $900 billion of direct infrastructure investment will be required by electric utilities over the next 15 years, and $750 million already is in place. Nukes, renewables, low-carbon technologies, combined-cycle gas turbines—all have faced cost challenges. The magnitude of the numbers requires a multi-pronged approach.
How to ensure another Chunnel, WPPS, or Big Dig doesn’t happen to you.
Rilck Noel and Terrel LaRoche
New generation projects face intense financial, regulatory, legal, and political scrutiny. To meet their communities’ power-supply needs with environmental sensitivity and fiscal prudence will require a new level of managerial excellence that some may not be able to achieve.
Tackling climate change is a monumental challenge. Power-company CEOs discuss long-range plans for a climate-friendly energy economy.
Seven CEOs—from Exelon, Great Plains Energy, National Grid, NRG Energy, Duke Energy, FPL Group, Great River Energy—explain how global warming is affecting their customers, shareholders, and employees.
How important is the risk function at your company?
Wither the chief risk officer (CRO)? Some utilities have moved risk staff under the CFO or controller, while other utilities have pushed CROs down the management hierarchy. But risk remains, and a rudimentary risk function will not do.
IT officers are getting more efficient, but guess what keeps them up at night?
Ever-present security concerns are keeping utility chief information officers up at night. With their IT budgets under constraints in a back-to-basics era, four CIOs speak out about their concerns over funding, staffing, and the future.