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Fortnightly Magazine - February 2007

People

(February 2007) The Electric Power Research Institute appointed Bryan Hannegan vice president for environment research and development. PNGC Power named John Prescott senior vice president of power supply. Nora Mead Brownell joined the Comverge Inc. board of directors. The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc. announced the election of two new members to its board of directors: Michael J. Curran and Eugene W. Zeltmann. And others...

Climate Panic Button

Ecology scientist Ken Caldeira sheds light on some radical ideas for fighting global warming.

Michael T. Burr

Among climate scientists, Ken Caldeira is a self-described troublemaker. For instance, Caldeira annoyed tree-huggers and corporations alike by demonstrating that planting trees in most locations around the world actually exacerbates global warming. Fortnightly caught up with Caldeira recently to discuss his perspectives on geoengineering and its possible role in strategies to address climate change.

Unintended Consequences

Does anyone care about rising redispatch costs?

Richard Lauckhart and Gary L. Hunt

Regional transmission organizations (RTOs) or independent system operators (ISOs) dominate the major power grids of North America, with the notable exceptions of the Southeast and Pacific Northwest. The purpose of this article is not to criticize system reliability but to highlight the more pervasive challenge today and for the future: Controlling the cost impact of decisions by grid operators on energy market participants.

Greenhouse Gases: Reviewing the European Trade

Lessons from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme emerge after two years.

John Woodley

Despite assertions to the contrary, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme is working. Industry has changed both short-term behavior and longer-term plans to reduce compliance costs—the driving down of greenhouse-gas emissions being the intended and achieved result. In this article, we review examples of the ETS affecting both planned and actual behavior. The other side of the coin is how regulatory and political uncertainty undermines this.

Future Imperfect II: Managing Strategic Risk In the Age of Uncertainty

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.

The Rush to Reliability

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.

Smart Grid, Smart Utility

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.

The Rise of Distributed Energy Resources: Calling on the Lilliputians

Is DER competitive with traditional utility investments, and if so, what are the costs and benefits?

Eugene L. Shlatz & Steven Tobias

Utilities must make hard tradeoffs regarding which distribution investments offer the greatest value. How should they quantify DER as integrated into the grid?

Duke-ing It Out at the High Court: The End of New Source Review?

To what extent can the EPA force utilities to update aging fleets with expensive pollution-control technology?

John D. Wilson and Brian H. Potts

The U.S. Supreme Court soon will issue a potentially far-reaching decision in a case involving Duke Energy Corp. What’s the upside for the electric industry?

Watch the Cycle

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?

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