Part two of our series shows how utility companies can manage, but never eliminate, strategic risk.
Dr. David L. Bodde
The consequences of a flawed strategic choice unfold slowly, but they carry great weight. Consider IBM, which in 1980 chose to outsource to Intel the 16-bit processor needed for its entry into the personal computer market. The Intel chip, however, could not use the operating system that IBM had designed for its older 8-bit processors. And so the company had to outsource the operating system as well as the chip—to a startup company called Microsoft.
FERC races to impose NERC’s new rules, raising howls of protest in the process.
Bruce W. Radford
After pleading with Congress for so many years, and then at last winning the requisite legislative authority to impose mandatory and enforceable standards for electric reliability, to replace its legacy system of voluntary compliance, NERC finds itself at a curious juncture. It wants to slow the transition.
The intelligent-grid vision is becoming clearer as utilities take incremental steps toward a brighter future.
Michael T. Burr
Building the intelligent grid will require less technical innovation than it does strategic innovation—a characteristic not typically ascribed to U.S. regulated utilities. But the utility culture is changing—by necessity, if not by choice.
Can the upward swing in global power infrastructure investment be sustained?
Daniel I. Blanchard
The current recovery in global power-sector investment is being driven not only by rising demand for power, but also by the huge levels of liquidity in global financial markets. How long will the current up-cycle last?
The era of polemics about electric competition is nearly over. It’s time to compare the relative performance of competition and traditional regulation as these two established models operate side-by-side.
A win-win situation for the local government, utilities, and industry.
By Gary C. Young, Ph.D., P.E.
Ethanol plants either are operating, under construction, or planned for several areas in the Midwest. These same areas also have municipal solid waste (MSW) produced daily in an existing landfill. In addition, these areas have a need for establishing or extending a landfill.
As an alternative to the existing concept of a landfill, plasma-arc technology has been applied to the treatment of MSW. Known as plasma-arc gasification for the treatment of MSW, this recent development would eliminate or minimize the need for a landfill.
John D. Chandley, Principal, LECG LLC: Bruce Radford’s “An Inconvenient Fact” provides a helpful critique of a fundamental element of open-access transmission reform, one of the most important rulemaking cases affecting electricity regulation at FERC.
Cynthia Bogorad, Spiegel & McDiarmid, Washington: From my perspective representing transmission-dependent utilities, I am very sympathetic to the underlying concerns that appear to be driving the TDAs’ proposal. However, the TDAs’ proposal is not the answer.
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