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Fortnightly Magazine - June 2006

People

(June 2006) Mirant Corp. appointed Jose (Joey) P. Leviste Jr. as chairman, president, and CEO of Mirant Philippines, and as a senior vice president of Mirant Corp. Ian C. Connor joined Goldman Sachs in 2006 as a managing director in its Power & Energy Group. Unitil Corp. shareholders elected Robert G. Schoenberger, Charles H. Tenney III, and Dr. Sarah P. Voll to its board of directors. Piedmont Natural Gas announced several changes in the company’s executive management team.

Wind and the Environment: The EPA's Tech Divide

Does the Clean Air Act require the agency to consider the most low-emission coal plant technologies in permitting new plants?

Jonathan S. Martel, Jessica R. Brody, and Kerri L. Stelcen

Why doesn’t its interpretation of the Clean Air Act consider the most low-emission coal plant technologies?

Will Calpine's "Plan B" Restructuring Work?

The resource overbuild in the West complicates the company’s efforts.

Gary L. Hunt and Devrim Albuz

Calpine’s announcement that it will shed 20 of its 92 power plants, close three offices, and lay off 775 more staff in a bid to emerge from bankruptcy caused by more than $22 billion in total debt was not unexpected. The question is whether these actions will be sufficient to get the job done.

In the Mainstream: Wind Turbines Take Off

New technologies are helping windpower mature as a viable power supply choice for utilities.

Michael T. Burr

Few people understand how to ride shifting winds better than Jim Dehlsen does. Dehlsen founded Zond Energy Systems 25 years ago, and steered the company through a series of major changes and challenges—the oil-price collapse of the 1980s; ambivalent energy policies, with on-again, off-again production tax credits; and the sale of controlling interests in Zond to Enron in the late 1990s. Should it come as any surprise, then, that Dehlsen still is bullish on windpower’s prospects?

A Consumer Advocate's View: Decoupling and Energy Efficiency

Two sides of the same coin.

Janine Migden-Ostrander

When I became the Consumers’ Counsel for the state of Ohio in April 2004, natural-gas prices were hovering between $7/Mcf and $8/Mcf (thousand cubic feet). In the next year and a half, Ohioans saw gas prices double, peaking at a residential statewide average of $16.89/Mcf in the month of September 2005. The latter reflects the exacerbation of prices, already high, by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the gulf region. The purpose of this article is not to focus on the national security and energy independence issues that arise from these circumstances, but rather to examine what we can do in the United States to ensure affordable and reliable supplies for residential consumers in both the short and long term.

Utilities Get "Defense"-ive

How cutting-edge military technologies can help solve some of the industry’s most critical issues.

David Turner

Whether it’s an aging workforce, the impact of competitive markets, or an outdated transmission system, today’s energy and utility organizations are facing a whole new set of challenges. What many people in the industry don’t realize is that the utility sector is not the first to face these kinds of issues. The U.S. military is dealing with, or has dealt with, a strikingly similar set of problems in recent years.

Interest Rates Strike Back

The old paradigm—a strong inverse correlation of high interest rates and lower utility valuations—once again takes hold.

Ian C. Connor

The recent breakout of the benchmark 10-Year Treasury yield from the recent mid-4 percent yield band to approximately 5 percent (with some market expectation that it may increase further) potentially has important strategic and value implications for the power and utility industry.

Merchant Power: When Hedging and Profits Collide

Does too much risk management mean leaving money on the table?

Andy Dunn

Why do energy merchants or those utilities with merchant power divisions obsess over “selling” their upside? These companies feel compelled to show steady, predictable profit streams to both the street and their stakeholders, despite the fact that they operate within one of the most volatile markets in the world. Typically, their method of achieving earnings consistency centers on the execution of complicated purchase and sales agreements that effectively lock in the price of fuel and electricity. Don’t these contracts really just eliminate the potential positive return an energy merchant strives to achieve in the first place?

Kicked Off and On Schedule

Cal-ISO files a new market design, but has it traded efficiency for software?

Bruce W. Radford

Eyeing a launch date of November 2007, Cal-ISO at last has come forward with plans for revamping its widely disparaged wholesale market design. The formal proposal, known as the MRTU (Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade), was filed this past February at FERC.

The CEO Forum: The Ultimate CEOs

What is leadership?

Richard Stavros

Fortnightly speaks to five CEOs who exemplify industry leadership: David L. Sokol, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.; Peter A. Darbee, PG&E Corp.; Jeff Sterba, PNM Resources; Peggy Fowler, Portland General Electric; and J. Wayne Leonard, Entergy.

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