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.
(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.
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?
Elimination of the utility must-purchase obligation can lead to unanticipated consequences.
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.
Although compensation and retention always have been challenges for utilities and other companies not traditionally involved in trading, the advent of hedge funds and other non-energy-based participants has intensified the problem.
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.
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.
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.
Infrastructure investment has been on a starvation diet. Here’s how to feed the need.
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.
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