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Fortnightly Magazine - August 2009

M&A Waiting Game

Utilities protect their balance sheets.

Joe Fontana

What a difference a year can make. Since September 2008, M&A has slowed dramatically as both buyers and sellers play a waiting game. So who will blink first?

The Smart-Enough Grid

How much efficiency do ratepayers need—and utilities want?

Bruce W. Radford

When the applause dies down, the smart grid may turn out to be its own worst enemy. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) explained this irony in comments it filed in May, after the FERC asked the industry for policy ideas on the smart grid.

Carbon In Electricity Markets

Price transparency will drive GHG reductions.

Fred Wellington and Michael Scholand

In light of coming GHG legislation, price transparency is the key to achieving cleaner generation through the dispatch of lower-carbon sources.

California Realities and Federal Plans

A tale of two energy worlds.

Michael A. Yuffee

As federal policy makers push for GHG regulation and transparent markets, the California experience shows what works and what doesn’t work.

Efficient Regulation, Efficient Grid

Intelligent infrastructure requires an intelligent policy framework.

Mark A. Gabriel

A new grid efficiency framework will bring a new understanding between regulators and utilities that allows the industry to advance in cutting carbon emissions and improving system efficiencies, while maintaining reliability.

Ontario's Failed Experiment (Part 2)

Service quality suffers under PBR framework.

Francis J. Cronin and Stephen Motluk

Building upon last month’s installment, more is revealed on how, after 10 years of incentive regulation, reliability has declined in Ontario.

Renewable Overload

Waxman-Markey RES creates land-use dilemmas.

Tom Hewson and Dave Pressman

The Waxman-Markey bill proposes a federal renewable electricity standard. This standard, combined with state mandates, raises the risk of forest land shortages and higher prices for food and feedstocks.

Assessing Construction Compliance

Gas utilities can make better use of their inspection budgets.

Griffith R. Morris and Kenneth M. Loflin

An entirely new and better approach to measuring risk and compliance allows companies actually to measure this kind of risk—that is, to measure the degrees of compliance regarding actual field practices versus written standards and procedures.

Hobson's Hamburger

It’s time to end the uncertainty about carbon costs.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

This summer marked a pivotal moment for the energy industry. In June, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), a.k.a., the Waxman-Markey bill, which among other things would require the U.S. economy to cut its greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions 83 percent by 2050.

Catching Europe's Cold

Michael T. Burr

When prices for emissions allowances collapsed in Europe’s carbon market a year after trading began, critics said the collapse proved a regulatory product couldn’t be traded internationally. Sure, they said, the U.S. acid-rain market worked, but it was never an international market—and it couldn’t be, given the propensity for governments to protect their own economies.

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