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Fortnightly Magazine - June 2005

Mercury: Much Ado About Nothing?

How the Clean Air Mercury Rule will affect coal prices.

Hans Daniels

The Clean Air Mercury Rule impacts new and existing coal-fired electric generating plants through a market-based cap-and-trade program similar to the EPA’s highly successful Acid Rain Program. The first phase of the program in 2010 reduces mercury emissions to 38 tons. The second phase goes into action in 2018 with a final mercury emissions cap of 15 tons. The key question is: what extent will the new rule reduce coal’s dominance in the electric generation market?

Building a Better Utility

Many of the obstacles and strategic issues that utilities face today are all too familiar. This time they must be solved with a different business model.

Judith Warrick

We overbuild, run short, then overbuild again. You'd think we'd learn, because when the forecasts aren't accurate, when overcapacity plagues the industry, companies fail. Can we get the forecasts right? Probably not. But we can plan for forecasts that will be wrong. They always are. And they will be until the system is redesigned to let prices clear the market.

Reliability Wars

Power System Planning: Who gets paid (and how much) for backing up the system?

Bruce W. Radford

“Confining transmission projects to FTR payments is like confining generators to energy-only payments,” says Ed Krapels, the electric industry consultant from Boston who helped dream up the initial idea of the Neptune project. These words speak volumes on what’s happening in today’s power industry, and on what the ISOs and RTOs are trying to achieve, not only for merchant-grid projects but for merchant generation and system reliability.

Going to the Bank

Financial buyers are snapping up power plants faster than at any time in history. The asset shift represents an interim step in a wholesale-market transformation.

Michael T. Burr

A dam broke last year, releasing a wave that even now is spreading through the U.S. power industry. Deals that had been languishing on the auction block for months suddenly surged forward in 2004, and assets began changing ownership at a torrential pace. Understanding what this means for the power industry requires a long-term perspective on wholesale-market trends.

The Hazards of ElectroMagnetic Terrorism

And why North American power plants should take note.

V. Gurevich, Ph.D

Electromagnetic terrorism has huge implications for the international power industry. The North American electric power network is vulnerable to electronic intrusions launched from anywhere in the world, according to studies by the White House, FBI, IEEE, North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC), and National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). Is there a solution for this situation?

BGS Auctions: What Price Is Right?

How to price new load-servicing contracts while incorporating market-risk analysis into such deals.

Andy Dunn

Why have basic generation service auctions historically been overly competitive given the prevailing market prices at the time? Here are four steps to determine correctly what should the bid price should be.

The Ultimate CEOs

The CEO Power Forum: Not all utility CEOs are created equal...

Interviews by Richard Stavros

We talk with Cinergy’s James E. Rogers, DTE Energy’s Anthony F. Earley Jr., Constellation Energy’s Mayo A. Shattuck III, Xcel Energy’s Wayne H. Brunetti, FPL Group Inc.’s Lewis Hay III, and TXU’s C. John Wilder.

CEO Pay Reflects Strong Stock Performance

The CEO Power Forum: TXU's Wilder nets $55 million package.

Edward Metz

Companies continue to embrace the back-to-basics strategy, and investors seem to think that it is paying off.

Boardroom Focus: Bringing Insight to Oversight

How to use the board of directors to build a more resilient enterprise.

Tim Gardner and Eric Spiegel

Utility boards face great uncertainty, heightening the importance of communication between directors and management.

A National Gasification Strategy

Presenting a program to stimulate robust coal-gasification technology deployment at low federal cost.

William G. Rosenberg, Michael R. Walker, & Dwight C. Alpern

Federal loan guarantees and other incentives can clear the hurdles to near-term deployment of gasification technologies.

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