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Fortnightly Magazine - August 2006

Waiting on NERC: What's Next for Cyber-Security?

As NERC’s CIP standards advance, utilities move ahead, haltingly, with implementation.

Christian Hamaker

Utilities are preparing for the eventual enforcement of new reliability rules from the North American Electric Reliability Council. As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission continues its review of the proposed standards, we take a closer look at the effect of these rules on cyber-security, and offer a broad overview of all of the proposed reliability standards.

The Top 10 Utility Tech Challenges

Innovation must play a key role in each company.

Clark W. Gellings and Steve Hoffman

An EPRI vice president cites areas of concern in each part of the electricity value chain. How can IOUs overcome the formidable difficulties ahead of them?

Facing the Climate Challenge

Climate risks are entering the calculus for utility investment strategies.

Michael T. Burr

Utilities are eager to invest in new power capacity—in part to build rate base and in part because they recognize the danger of relying too much on a single fuel source. Environmental issues, however, are adding greater complexity to company strategies for achieving fuel diversity.

Squeezing BTUs From Light Bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs create a cogeneration benefit by warming the indoor spaces they illuminate.

Carl R. Danner

Genuine price signals about the underlying cost of consumer energy usage are an important part of energy efficiency. With those signals, consumers can adapt to save high-cost energy, while making better use of available low-cost sources and supplies.

Mirror, Mirror

A rash of rate hikes around the country could have utilities facing a public-relations disaster.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Constellation Energy CEO Mayo Shattuck has complained that he and the utility have unfairly been demonized in the public and in the press. In one interview with a Maryland paper, Shattuck showed distress over the verbal abuse his executives had received from angry ratepayers. And who can blame him?

People

(August 2006) Patricia Chadwick, president of Ravengate Partners LLC, has been elected to the board of directors of Wisconsin Energy Corp. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. elected Sanford L. Hartman as vice president and managing director, Law, and Brian K. Cherry as vice president, regulatory relations. Jessie J. Knight Jr. was named to the newly created position of executive vice president of external affairs for Sempra Energy. And others...

Letter to the Editor

Joseph Bowring, PJM Market Monitor: ”Pondering PJM's Energy Price Run-Up” by Howard Spinner of the Virginia State Corporation Commission staff raises the question of whether the observed increase in PJM average system prices in the second half of 2005 was the result of fuel-price increases and increased loads, or the result of market power. The results reported in the Spinner article are incorrect; see PJM Energy Prices—2005: Response to Howard M. Spinner Paper.”

Living on the Edge

Putting natural-gas price volatility into hurricane-season perspective.

Gary L. Hunt and George Given

The natural-gas and oil price run-up since hurricanes Katrina and Rita has subsided somewhat following a warmer than usual winter, record natural-gas storage levels, and successful conservation instituted by many gas and electric utilities in recent months. However, new sources of supply concern—such as occurred in Europe with accusations of gas-supply withholding between former Cold War adversaries—have rekindled calls for greater diversity of supply across Europe.

A New England Capacity Market That Works

Two authors beg to differ with Goldman Sachs’ Larry Kellerman on what needs mending in the Northeast.

Randall Speck Esq. and Dr. Miles Bidwell

Although much work remains before all its benefits will be realized, the Forward Capacity Market satisfies the criteria for a capacity system that works, while avoiding the need for the centralized planning and control that Larry Kellerman appears to advocate in “Mending Our Broken Capacity Markets.”

Green Options On the Future

Call options can be used as a financing tool for fixed-cost renewable energy technologies.

Daniel Simon

An unexploited benefit of renewable energy is the predictability of operating costs over the long term. A renewables operator knows today how much it will cost to produce energy decades in the future. This future price certainty has a value that can be transferred to electricity buyers or other market participants. How much value can a renewable-plant operator capture from selling long-term call options, given several future price and volatility scenarios? What will be the cost and benefit to an individual buyer or seller?

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