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Fortnightly Magazine - May 2007

Workforce Automation: Where Rubber Meets Road

Michael T. Burr

The purpose of utility-system automation, in a nutshell, is to bring utility service into the 21st century. These advancements will help improve customer service by allowing utilities to respond sooner to situations that cause outages—but only if workforce processes make use of the intelligence these new systems provide.

CIP Compliance: Reducing Your Risk

How utilities can navigate critical infrastructure protection requirements.

Scott Vanek and Mark Walton

Operations personnel at many energy companies feel the pressure of achieving compliance with the NERC CIP standards. Some worry that they are not aware of the problems and security incidents that have occurred within their critical infrastructures. Some know that they do not have the procedures in place to maintain CIP compliance.

Battle of the Big Nukes

Why the Tennessee Valley Authority and Duke Energy chose Westinghouse’s nuclear power-plant design over GE’s.

Richard Stavros

Jack Bailey, vice president, nuclear generation, at Tennessee Valley Authority explains why his organization finally decided on the Westinghouse AP1000. TVA is part of the NuStart consortium at the Belafonte site in Scottsboro, Ala., where TVA is developing a combined operating license for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor.

Supply Markets Gone Wild

Five effective strategies for managing escalating input costs.

Andy Patterson

It is time to adapt to new rules of the game, and change procurement tactics. Read these five effective strategies for managing escalating input costs.

Double Dealing on Carbon

Will the environmental lobby be even-handed with utilities?

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

They were heralded as “landmark” or “watershed” moments in the industry—a series of deals completed during the last few months in which utilities sat down and negotiated with environmentalists on coal-plant development. While many in the industry had hoped this was the start of a positive new trend, some environmentalists have double-dealt across state lines, arguing against coal plants in one state and then negotiating for their development in the other.

People

(May 2007) The board of directors of Maine & Maritimes Corp. selected Brent M. Boyles to become the organization’s next president and CEO. Consumers Energy has named Bruce Rasher manager of renewable energy. FPL Group Inc. announced that Oliver D. Kingsley Jr. has been elected to the company’s board of directors. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. named Des Bell as utility chief of staff and vice president.

King Neptune

Consultant Ed Krapels makes waves with undersea transmission.

Bruce W. Radford

“Make no small plans,” the saying goes, and consultant Ed Krapels has taken that to heart. Krapels' vision: Bring significant quantities of renewable energy south from Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, and inject that capacity directly into the congested downtown local grids of America’s large East Coast cities. Who could find fault with that?

Winds of Change Freshen Resource Adequacy

Intermittent and interruptible resources increasingly are being considered in regional resource adequacy calculations—but the approaches differ.

Lawrence Risman and Joan Ward

While both NERC and the NERC regional councils (known today as the Electric Reliability Organization) have standards and guidelines for resource adequacy and system reliability, much of the specificity as to how interruptible (e.g., demand-side) and intermittent resources (e.g., wind) are included is left up to the individual ISO/RTOs, states, provinces, etc. In fact, the various regions across North America each seem to have their own methodology for incorporating these resources into their resource adequacy and reserve-margin calculations. As the North American energy industry escalates its desire to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through the expanded use of demand-side resources and intermittent renewables, the importance of this topic also will escalate.

The Change in Profit Climate

How will carbon-emissions policies affect the generation fleet?

Victor Niemeyer

Any climate policy is almost certain to target the electric-power industry, which is responsible for about 38 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions. Said policy especially would affect coal-fired power plants, which contribute about 82 percent of the electric power CO2 total. How would various policy options change the economic value of current and proposed generation assets?

Mitigating "Mandated" Rate Hikes

How to develop balanced revenue-backed financing to manage the impacts of governmental mandates.

David Magnus Boonin

Severe upward pressure on electric rates after a decade of stability has regulators, legislators, utility executives, consumer advocates, and myriad other stakeholders searching for solutions. Revenue-backed financing can mitigate many of these mandate-driven rate increases significantly. These programs must, however, be designed to eliminate the inefficiencies and inequities that can be associated with revenue set-aside programs.

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