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Fortnightly Magazine - July 2007

Wind Goes Hollywood

The spotlight is on. But true stardom will require more direction from utilities.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Wind has become today’s hit—a potential blockbuster, even—but still needing that one big break. To make it big, utilities will have to lead the charge as owners. That will force utilities to consider and evaluate the significant credit implications that can arise when signing a power purchase agreement with developers that lack deep pockets, or implement fly- by-night schemes.

People

(August 2007) Avista Corp. announced that its board of directors elected Vice President Ann Wilson as vice president and treasurer, and Vice President Christy Burmeister-Smith will take over the post of vice president and controller. UniSource Energy shareholders voted to extend the service of its current board of directors. Sierra Pacific Resources elected Glenn C. Christenson to its board of directors. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. appointed John T. Conway site vice president of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. And others...

Walking the Walk

Eco-Developer Pat Wood III explains how competitive markets are good for green business.

Richard Stavros

The debate over implementing comprehensive electric-competition policies throughout the U.S. economy still rages to this day. Pat Wood III, as the federal regulator, had to fight many tough, public battles in defense of his beliefs on open markets. But there is no bitterness from those battles, if there ever was. It’s quite the opposite. Interviewed at the American Wind Energy Association conference in early June, Wood punctuated his answers in the go get ’em, optimistic view of the world many remember him for at FERC.

Keep Your Eye on the South

The Southeast again is the battleground for fuels, technology, and market structure.

Gary L. Hunt

One sure sign of recovery in boom-and-bust power-generation markets is the renewed growth in the planning and construction of power plants. Active efforts are underway in generation development in the Southeast markets in spite of the high levels of generating reserve margins. With its traditional utility-dominated market structure and a preference for baseload generation, the Southeast is the battleground for the next round of power-generation development.

Utility Stocks Decline: Are the Bears Taking Over?

Some say the five-year love affair with the industry is at an end.

Jean Reaves Rollins and Richard Stavros

Analysts: Down on utilities. Is the party over? That’s the tough question posed in a research note by Wachovia equity research analyst Samuel Brothwell.

The Hidden Costs of Sarbanes-Oxley

Can they be reduced?

Andrew Dunn

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act has cost public companies millions, if not billions, of dollars in extra costs. One must ask: What is the total cost of Sarbanes-Oxley, and is it worth it?

When Shippers Seek Release

Price caps, secondary markets, and the revolution in natural-gas portfolio management.

Bruce W. Radford

When FERC decided in February, in Order 890, to lift the price cap for electric-transmission customers seeking to resell their grid capacity rights in the secondary market, it cautioned against expecting a quid pro quo for gas. Was the commission just teasing?

Nuclear vs. IGCC

Next-gen technologies race to dominate the big build.

Michael T. Burr

New nuke plants will take at least eight years to complete, while the coal that powers new IGCC plants is no longer cheap. Regulatory and market obstacles confront both technologies, just as they emerge from the starting gate. Which type of plant will win the future?

Infrastructure Development: Avoiding the Next Debacle

How to ensure another Chunnel, WPPS, or Big Dig doesn’t happen to you.

Rilck Noel and Terrel LaRoche

New generation projects face intense financial, regulatory, legal, and political scrutiny. To meet their communities’ power-supply needs with environmental sensitivity and fiscal prudence will require a new level of managerial excellence that some may not be able to achieve.

LNG Mitigation Costs: Who Will pick up the tab?

FERC issues a surprising order regarding responsibility for LNG-related retrofit costs.

James E. Goddard

The answer to the question of who will be responsible for cost-mitigation measures to accommodate the introduction of large quantities of LNG into the U.S. pipeline grid remains up in the air for now, but there are signs pointing in one particular direction: toward ratepayers.

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