Nuclear-waste management is a multi-billion dollar problem, and the future of nuclear power will depend on its resolution. Four scenarios depict possible outcomes and impacts on the electric power industry.
Wireless systems are improving front-line processes.
Scott M. Gawlicki
Electric utilities throughout the country are rolling out an assortment of mobile workforce solutions, many of which already are found in other industries. Three mobile workforce solutions recently were implemented at National Grid in Long Island, New York, FirstEnergy in Akron, Ohio, and Idaho Power in Boise, Idaho. Each demonstrates the state of the art in a different slice of the operations pie: power generation, distribution system operations, and customer service.
A “clean” bill on carbon tech won’t stay clean for long.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
An interesting development in the climate change debate occurred this summer in the U.S. Congress. It wasn’t the Senate’s work on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act; that was a complete palaver and an embarrassment for American democracy. No, it was a bill quietly introduced by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), chairman of the House Energy & Air Quality Subcommittee.
Chelsea Sexton is one of the country’s leading plug-in vehicle advocates. She led protests against GM’s decision to scrap thousands of EV-1s, and appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Who Killed the Electric Car? She formed advocacy group Plug-In America, and led the creation of the Automotive X PRIZE in 2005. Fortnightly caught up with Sexton in June to discuss the electric vehicle market, and utilities’ role in developing it.
Northeast Utilities appointed Leon J. Olivier as executive vice president-chief operating officer. Calpine named Todd W. Filsinger interim chief operating officer. PJM Interconnection promoted Andrew Ott to senior vice president-markets. And others...
Regarding "Transmission Rights Row:" While technological advances and the development of fiber optic communications was not foreseen by utilities companies when they executed easement agreements for transmission rights of way, the tremendous escalation of land values, especially near some metropolitan areas, may not have been foreseen by the easement grantors.
Distributed solar modules are gaining ground on concentrated solar thermal plants.
Jonathan Lesser and Nicolas Puga
Photovoltaic technologies are beginning to appear more attractive than concentrated solar thermal plants. PV’s competitiveness is improving from technical and operational advancements, as well as significant commitments made by such utilities as Southern California Edison. In the long run, distributed central PV plants likely will gain a strong market position.
(July 2008) When Progress Energy announced in March 2008 that the expected cost had tripled for its proposed two-unit, 2,200-MW nuclear plant in Levy County, Fla., the company called on the state’s highest-ranking proponent of nuclear energy to blunt negative reaction to the news.
Allowance trading needs oversight, but don’t overdo it.
Catherine Krupka and Susan Lafferty
As Congress mulls omnibus climate-change legislation, questions are arising about the potential for greenhouse gas emissions markets to be manipulated. Current legislation attempts to address the problem, but only a streamlined oversight regime can hope to prevent emissions-trading abuses.
Rate caps have squelched competition in Pennsylvania.
Terrance J. Fitzpatrick
The prolonged period of capped rates in Pennsylvania—years longer than in any other state—has produced some benefits and some drawbacks. On the plus side, due largely to the rate caps, electricity costs in the Commonwealth have fallen from 15 percent above the national average in 1996 to below the national average in 2007. This has been a significant benefit, but a temporary one that many have taken for granted.
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