(June 2008) As fossil fuel prices continue increasing and alternative energy gathers momentum, the energy and utility industries can expect to see continued interest from private-equity firms. Over the last five years, record levels of private-equity investments have been used to buy power plants, as well as other utility assets and energy product manufacturing facilities. These once-overlooked industries suddenly are hotspots for private-equity investment.
New England shows the benefits of demand resources in forward capacity markets.
By Sandra Levine, Doug Hurley and Seth Kaplan
New England is leading the way toward a future that is both cleaner and provides greater electric reliability at reduced cost. New England Independent System Operator (ISO-NE) has created an innovative mechanism that addresses concerns about ensuring adequate energy capacity by allowing the cleanest and lowest-cost resources to be used to meet the nation’s power needs.
State and federal incentives push utilities to invest in grid intelligence.
State and federal incentives provide the carrot for utilities to invest in grid intelligence. But regulatory and technological incentives are not enough without customer participation. Smart-grid policies will succeed only by focusing on customer needs and benefits.
Utilities test new models to encourage investments in efficiency and conservation.
Michael T. Burr
The industry is struggling to reconcile legacy business models with emerging green priorities. CEOs at Green Mountain Power, Progress Energy, IDACORP, Pepco Holdings, and Reliant Energy explain their perspectives on financing investments in conservation and efficiency.
Pilot projects clarify the vision of an intelligent utility system.
Scott M. Gawlicki
Pilot projects are bringing the future vision of the grid to life. Whether leveraging existing systems or rebuilding entire networks in a Big Bang rollout, new technology applications suggest an intuitive electrical network may not be far off.
The 2008 elections portend federal regulation of greenhouse gases by 2010.
James I. Stewart and M. Sami Khawaja
The outcome of the 2008 elections will determine how the nation deals with greenhouse gas emissions. With the presumptive nominees for president for both parties supporting mandatory GHG regulation, a cap-and-trade system likely will become U.S. law. How soon and how tough depends on the choices voters will make in November.
Faced with state-wide electric utility restructuring and power-market deregulation, the state of New York constantly has been adjusting the state’s power markets to meet the potentially contradictory goals of low cost, yet reliable power. In New York this has taken many forms, including monitoring of energy prices, caps on capacity prices and forced divestment of assets to reduce potential market abuses.
CIP audits show utilities are just getting started with securing the grid.
Bad news from the front lines in the cyber-security war: Little meaningful progress has been made toward safeguarding the nation’s electric grid from malicious attacks. Initial cyber-security assessments and audits suggest few companies really are ready to implement the first wave of NERC critical infrastructure protection (CIP) standards, despite the fact the utility industry drafted the regulations.
Revealing the true story on smart grid development.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
I’ve worked hard over my career to maintain good relationships with public relations people. It’s not always easy. Too often PR people push me to publish things that might be important to their clients, but just don’t fit into the magazine’s mission or serve its readers. But what’s worse is when PR people try to keep an important story out of the magazine.
When Spanish utility giant Iberdrola announced last June that it would acquire Maine-based Energy East for $4.5 billion, it signaled a potential surge in major foreign owners buying into U.S. utility companies. Fortnightly spoke with Pedro Azagra, director of corporate development for Iberdrola S.A. in Bilbao, Spain, to get an update on the acquisition, and his impression of U.S. merger-approval processes.
Public Utilities Reports 11410 Isaac Newton Sq., Suite 220, Reston, VA 20190 Voice: (703) 847-7720 | Toll Free: (800) 368-5001 FAX: (703) 847-0683
Dear Reader: Welcome to our new website! We’ve spent the past several months rebuilding Fortnightly.com from the ground up, and we’re now in the process of putting it through its paces. We’ll announce our Grand Opening shortly, but in the meantime we hope you’ll excuse our mess, while we bring Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine to an all-new online platform. Your feedback is welcome!