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Fortnightly Magazine - December 2005

Battle Royal: Pulverized - Coal vs IGCC

The battle for the future of coal-fired power is heating up. Recent developments give IGCC a fighting chance.

Michael T. Burr

Does the future belong to pulverized coal or integrated gasification combined-cycle technologies? The answer will determine how the industry manages load growth and regulatory risks, while protecting shareholders and ratepayers.

The Capacity Market Enigma

Why haven’t reliability markets developed?

Jonathan A. Lesser, Ph.D. and Guillermo Israilevich, Ph.D.

Capacity and energy, although related, are not identical products. If we are to continue to rely on competitive market forces to provide new generation supplies, we need separate, long-term, installed capacity markets.

Regulated Utilities: Reinventing the Classic Business Strategy

Opportunities and limitations of five top strategies.

David Fornari and Branko Terzic

How can regulated utilities create value? Each of five key options present their own risks. Which way should management go?

A Continuing Reign of Incoherence

How EPACT fails to address key industry issues.

Roger Stark

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 ducks three crucial issues: volatile prices and fuel supplies; insufficient, erratic capital investment in generation and transmission; and energy commodity pricing. What should policymakers do now?

Day of Decision for FERC

How will the commission answer Congress’ call for energy market transparency?

J. Michel Marcoux

How will the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission answer Congress’ call for energy market transparency? Will it rest on its laurels, or move forward to restore confidence in wholesale energy markets?

Demand-Response and Smart-Meter Provisions: Breakthrough or Non-Event?

Regulators and Utilities: The Ball’s in Your Court

Chris King

Are the smart-metering provisions of EPACT 2005 a good thing? The answer, like most things in life, is, “It depends.” Looked at holistically, the opportunity is great. Viewed incrementally, it’s empty words on paper. It’s up to regulators and utilities to take the initiative.

The Economics of Low-Head Dams

How they can generate green energy and improve a municipality’s bottom line.

Dr. Gary C. Young, Ken V. Rieck, and Clifford Phillips

Federal incentive payment of 1.8 cents/kWh for the generation of renewable energy—part of The Energy Policy Act of 2005—increases the economic attractiveness of many potential hydro sites, and, as a consequence, could revive the building of low-head dams.

How to Tango With a Regulator

Utilities and financiers want ratepayers to fund the next wave of power plants. Will higher electric rates spoil the party?

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

You’ve heard the story. The local utility ought to be investing billions in new power plants, but the company CEO wants a guarantee from regulators for upfront costs and future operating expenses before laying down dollar one on the project. What to do? Utility CEOs attending the Edison Electric Institute’s 40th Financial Conference last month in Hollywood, Fla., were shuffling to the old rate base song-and-dance. But this time, they were working out a few new moves.

People

(December 2005) Mark Mulhern joins Progress Energy’s senior management committee and Bob Adrian is vice president of competitive commercial operations within the Ventures organization. The California Independent System Operator board of governors approved the appointment of Karen Edson to the position of vice president of external affairs. DTE Energy announced a series of organizational changes. The Southern California Edison board of directors elected John R. Fielder president.

What's Happening In the WECC?

High reserve margins and blackout risk are part of the extended forecast.

Richard Lauckhart

The Western Electricity Coordinating Council continues to experience a glut of generation and historically high levels of generating reserve margins. Despite these reserve margins, state and federal regulators are asserting that all is not well, and that rolling blackouts may return.

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