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Fortnightly Magazine - December 2003

New Nuclear Construction: Still on Hold

A number of factors point to expanded nuclear generation. But when?
Neil J. Numark and Micheal O. Terry

A number of factors point to expanded nuclear generation. But when?

The role that nuclear power will play in the U.S. electricity generation mix during the coming decades has been a subject of continuing speculation. Few analysts deny the remarkably improved prospects for the existing fleet of reactors: Efficiencies realized by industry consolidation, reactor uprates, and plant license renewals have, in a period of about five years, greatly increased the market value of nuclear plants and the competitive advantage of companies that own them.

Frontlines

CERA's Daniel Yergin says global gas markets will define the new century, just as oil did for the last 100 years.

Richard Stavros

Cambridge Energy Research Associates Chairman Daniel Yergin captures in a few words oil's extraordinary past. Might those words one day describe the next 100 years of natural gas development? Talking with Yergin in early November, I found a man convinced that the forces that shaped a global oil market are at work in shaping a global market for natural gas. I'll be sharing some of his words with you.

People

New Oportunities:
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

People

New Oportunities:

Philip Carroll Jr. returned to ScottishPower as a non-executive director. According to the Comtex News Network, Carroll left ScottishPower earlier in 2003 to assist with the rebuilding of infrastructure in post-war Iraq.

Chesapeake Utilities hired Joe Steinmetz as its director of Internal Audit. Steinmetz served in the same position with Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment Inc. and Dover Motorsports Inc. from 2001 to 2003 before being promoted to assisted controller.

Benchmarks

Will the changes help or harm generators?
Mark Morey

Benchmarks

Will the changes help or harm generators?

New rules revising the New Source Review (NSR) provision of the Clean Air Act recently were published. The action formalized a process begun several years earlier with the objective of bringing greater clarity to the rule. The new rule is aimed at allowing operators to upgrade equipment at existing power plants without triggering NSR.

Commission Watch

ISO New England dares to dream, again.
Lori A. Burkhart

Commission Watch

ISO New England dares to dream, again.

ISO New England (ISO-NE) wants to become a regional transmission organization (RTO). But just the idea-prior to any official filing at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)-has come under attack. ISO-NE is going to find rough waters ahead, despite a three-year effort aimed at a smooth transition to becoming an RTO. And now with the Oct. 31 filing of the 2,000-plus-page RTO proposal at FERC, the stage is set for these battles to be fought, again.

Business & Money

FERC's ruling on cash management programs will introduce new transparency into how utilities manage their cash.
Richard Stavros

Business & Money

FERC's ruling on cash management programs will introduce new transparency into how utilities manage their cash.

On Oct. 22, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled that FERC-regulated entities must file their cash management agreements with the commission and notify the commission within 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter when their proprietary capital ratio drops below 30 percent, and when it subsequently returns to or exceeds 30 percent.

Technology Corridor

Experts say utilities are pushing transmission systems to unsafe limits.
Tapani O. Seppa

Technology Corridor

Experts say utilities are pushing transmission systems to unsafe limits.

When transmission-line rating assumptions do not match the physical realities of transmission networks, the consequences can be disastrous.

Generation Roundtable: Power Flux

Generators struggle to plan for the future as they cope with an unstable present.
Michael T. Burr

Generators struggle to plan for the future as they cope with an unstable present.

When the acting administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Marianne Horinko, signed the EPA's "routine replacement" rule on Aug. 27, 2003, she proclaimed that the new approach to Clean Air Act regulation would "provide … power plants with the regulatory certainty they need."