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Frontlines

Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1999

In fact, we have a meeting of an IEEE standards coordinating committee set for February at the Electric Power Research Institute. The committee will take 929 for PV and examine why we couldn't use some of those elements for an interconnection standard for wind generation, fuel cells or microturbines."

"THE ONLY MICROTURBINE FIRM THAT HASN'T SOLD OUT to the utilities is Capstone," concludes Althouse, "which is funded privately by Microsoft's Bill Gates. And then there's Tri-Gen. They're coming in and showing that some big money can be made.

"The grid as we know it is yesterday's technology. Everyone's trying to protect their investment. They say that deregulation is the choice to buy from utility A or utility B. But the most sacred choice is not to buy, and that's not being protected.

"I could put a power system on somebody's roof and make them personally innocent of killing the planet."

Albuquerque lawyer Margo Steadman, who represents Althouse, says he has one of the most active, perceptive and ingenious minds of any client she's ever represented in her years working in the utility industry.

"The fight over the opening of the interstate grid is just smoke," she says. "While that is happening, the real battle is about taking control of distributed generation. Why no one else has figured this out is just amazing to me."

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