A series of avalanches thundered down the sides of coastal mountains near Juneau, Alaska, early in the morning on April 16. No people were hurt—not directly. But the avalanches took out several transmission towers that carried electricity from the Snettisham hydroelectric dam, cutting Juneau off from its primary source of power. The resulting crisis turned into an instructive experiment for Alaska Electric Light & Power Co.—Juneau’s privately held utility—as well as the industry in general.
The Big Build will test the industry’s access to Wall Street.
Bob Ford, et al.
The era of easily available, affordable energy rapidly is ending and our society is realizing that our energy infrastructure is severely inadequate to supply the energy demands of the future. The major issue facing the sector today is how to fund and deliver this new climate-friendly infrastructure, which is currently estimated will cost almost $2 trillion between now and 2030.
The PJM complaint and the rising cost of electric reliability.
Bruce W. Radford
Who says ratepayers must accept the traditional measure of electric reliability—a single one-hour outage every ten years? If shown the bill ahead of time, might they decide otherwise; that such luxury is no longer affordable? Consumers are making similar decisions about gasoline and mortgages. Why not electricity?
How to maximize shareholder value across the enterprise.
Blake Geoghagan, et al.
How can utility companies ensure investment dollars are being allocated wisely? Asset portfolio management (APM) attempts to capture and analyze the relationships among the drivers of SHV at the portfolio level. It provides management with a well-informed, multi-dimensional picture to help make efficient asset investment decisions that optimize the total enterprise SHV.
(September 2008) Shareholder value remains strong as the Big Build begins. Our fourth annual ranking shows healthy growth in earnings and share prices. But as capital spending grows, dividends are shrinking and equity returns are weakening. Regulatory relationships will separate future winners from losers.
Vendors battle it out while utilities await common communications protocols.
Scott M. Gawlicki
Uncertainties about smart metering goals are hindering efforts to standardize communications protocols and feature sets. While vendors battle over standards, utilities and policy makers are moving forward anyway—despite the potential for setbacks.
As green mandates tighten, utilities scramble to comply.
Mandatory renewable portfolio standards are becoming the norm. But after low-hanging green fruits are harvested, renewable power might get scarce. Many utilities will struggle to meet RPS requirements until lawmakers create stable federal policies and a national market for green credits.
(September 2008) In July 2008, two pronouncements on energy policy were made by well-known and respected public figures, T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore. While the T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore proposals are timely and merit further evaluation, at this time continued dependence on oil imports and only modest progress in replacing fossil fuel use for power generation have to be accommodated.
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