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Fortnightly Magazine - December 2006

An Inconvenient Fact

Why the standard market design refuses to die.

Bruce W. Radford

Hold on to your hats. The vaunted and vilified “standard market design”, once thought dead and buried, has been resuscitated, with all attendant chaos and rhetoric, but this time in the guise of a new proposal under the code name “open dispatch.” This new construct, as remarkable in its way as Einstein’s theory of indeterminate space and time, declares that electric transmission, long seen as one of a triumvirate of unique and essential utility industry sectors (along with generation and distribution), is little more than a mirage.

Electric & Hybrid Cars: New Load, or New Resource?

The industry must join a growing chorus in calling for new technology.

Steven Letendre, Ph.D., Paul Denholm, Ph.D., and Peter Lilienthal, Ph.D.

A growing movement to bring plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars to market has emerged, bolstered by the undeniable economic and national-security benefits that result from displacing gasoline with electricity. Also, our editor-at-large talks with Tesla Motors CEO Martin Eberhart.

Supreme Court RoundUP: Pivotal Cases for the Clean Air Act

How greenhouse gases and Best Available Control Technology could shape the regulatory landscape—and the environment.

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

Two cases involving traditional pollutants and climate change are before the court. In addition to questions about the EPA’s regulatory power, both cases raise critical threshold “jurisdictional” questions about the courts’ role in addressing these issues.

A Business Case: Energy Efficiency in the New Environment

Investments in energy efficiency can be a growing revenue source. Strong programs, in conjunction with effective monitoring and verification, are the keys to success.

Luisa M. Freeman, M.Sc.

To turn efficiency investments into a growing revenue source, strong programs, in conjunction with effective monitoring and verification, are the keys to success.

Don't Choke: How to Transform Technology

Infrastructure investment has been on a starvation diet. Here’s how to feed the need.

Kurt Yeager

In October, the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) issued its first long-term reliability assessment report in its new role as the nation’s federally mandated reliability organization. The report found that under current trends the U.S. electric power system may not be able to meet customer demand in much of the country 10 years from now.

Letters to the Editor

(December 2006) Charles A. King, California ISO: “Kicked Off and On Schedule” reasonably captures many of the implementation issues and stakeholder concerns surrounding the California Independent System Operator Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade program. However, I was somewhat disappointed that the article offered few details about the benefits MRTU will provide.

Casino Royale?

Utilities place billion-dollar bets on infrastructure, but the deck may be stacked against them.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Something seems deeply disturbing about the utility industry these days. An almost palpable tension rises whenever the utility CEO is asked how he will build enough power plants to meet the skyrocketing demand for power. Some consultants predict that sometime after this decade the time will come when utilities won’t be able to build enough to meet demand, no matter what they try.

People

(December 2006) Michael Heyeck was named senior vice president of transmission at American Electric Power Co. Duke Energy announced that Jim Stanley would lead its Indiana utility as president. ITC Transmission, a subsidiary of ITC Holdings, hired Frances (Francie) Brown as director, state governmental affairs. Edward (Ted) J. Mooney and Jesse H. Ruiz were appointed to ComEd’s board of directors. And others.

A Wakeup Call for Coal

U.S. imports make up the fastest-growing segment of the industry. Are we prepared?

Gary L. Hunt and Hans Daniels

The renewed interest in coal as a fuel source for power generation will increase coal demand by up to 4 percent a year for the next 20 years. With so much coal produced domestically in this country, why are utilities choosing to import coal from producers located hundreds or thousands of miles from their plants?

Not Economically Viable? Wrestling With Market-Based Cogeneration

Elimination of the utility must-purchase obligation can lead to unanticipated consequences.

Cliff Rochlin

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 adds a new section of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978. Section 210(m) of PURPA now provides for the termination of an electric utility’s obligation to purchase energy and capacity from qualifying cogeneration facilities if FERC finds certain conditions are met.

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