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Fortnightly Magazine - May 2008

Optimizing Demand Response

A comprehensive DR business case quantifies a full range of concurrent benefits.

Eric C. Woychik

The benefits of DR remain difficult to quantify. Building a comprehensive business case requires a shift in how policy makers think about DR in order to understand its real possibilities.

Windpower's Warning

ERCOT’s February emergency suggests storage capacity is needed to support renewables.

Gary Moland

ERCOT in February averted a blackout that could have become a disastrous defining moment for the windpower industry. This near miss can teach utilities and system operators valuable lessons about integrating variable energy sources into the power grid.

Analyzing Asset Failures

Simulation modeling can improve O&M and capital-planning processes.

Patrick J. Delaney and Wiko Kabiling

Electric utilities are faced with the challenge of managing a range of aging distribution assets that are critical to system reliability. They also are threatened with potentially huge costs as they seek to replace these assets over the coming years to maintain reliability. Making intelligent decisions about asset maintenance and replacement requires accurate information about the failure patterns of these assets over time.

What Happened in ERCOT

Voltage sag shows value of accurate wind forecasting.

Michael T. Burr

Variability is a well-known characteristic of windpower, and system operators know they must plan for changes in wind generation over the course of a day. But when those plans fall short, voltage levels can drop quickly, forcing grid operators to dispatch resources to make up the difference—either by shedding load or bringing reserve generation online.

Green Heroes

Utilities can transform the world’s energy economy.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Perceval’s sagas are largely forgotten today, but at least one of them serves as a useful metaphor for an industry seeking the proverbial Holy Grail of clean-energy technology—specifically, the tale of Perceval and the Fisher King.

Finding the 'Sweet Spot'

Bruce W. Radford

As president and CEO of ISO New England, Gordon van Welie has his feet planted firmly on each of two sides of a cultural divide. First, as a transmission system operator, van Welie must keep the lights on and the wires humming. At the same time, he must run a regional market—an ongoing experiment in freewheeling capitalism in an industry fraught with more long-term uncertainty than perhaps any other.

People

The New York ISO named Mary McGarvey its vice president and chief financial officer. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced that its board of directors elected Barbara Barcon as vice president, finance and chief financial officer. Henry B. “Brew” Barron was appointed president, chief executive officer and chief nuclear offer of Constellation Energy Nuclear Group. MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. announced that Gregory E. Abel became the chief executive officer. And others...

Letters to the Editor

In light of your prescient Frontlines column, “PURPA Redirected” (February 2008), I am curious of your insight. Is there a nexus between §571 of EISA and the demand response (DR) text in the pending FERC NOPR, RM07-19-000, “Wholesale Competition in Regions with Organized Electric Markets,” issued Feb. 22, 2008?

Carbon Transparency

Public companies face rising pressure to disclose climate-change risks.

Sey-Hyo Lee and Marushka Bland

Regulation of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions and other efforts to control these growing environmental concerns increasingly are impacting businesses, and investors are seeking more and better information on climate-change risks to make informed investment decisions.

Seeing Green

Wind deals promise brisk business for years to come.

Michael T. Burr

(May 2008) Senators were voting on legislation to extend the renewable production tax credit (PTC) as this issue of Fortnightly went to press. But with federal tax support for windpower in a perennial state of limbo, is the current rate of growth sustainable? To find out, Fortnightly spoke with Andrew Redinger, managing director and head of the utility and alternative energy group at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

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