Can a European-style renewable model work in the Americas?
Mitchell Rothman and John Dalton
The Province of Ontario, Canada is the first jurisdiction in North America to implement a European style feed-in tariff (FIT). It also was the first jurisdiction in North America to have a comprehensive standard-offer program for electricity supply from renewables.
The capital markets have recovered … or have they?
Michael T. Burr
One year ago, in the midst of the financial crisis, one industry—energy utilities—continued accessing the capital markets. Since then, interest rates and terms have improved dramatically, inviting utilities to refinance billions of dollars in debt that won’t mature for another year. Despite the current rosy picture, however, economic trends might cast a shadow over the industry’s capital-investment plans.
Integrated demand offerings could be the next generation of energy management.
The market for demand-side products and services appears poised to explode. What began as separate energy efficiency, demand response and distributed energy program offerings are now coming together in integrated demand offerings. A recent poll of 400 industry professionals suggests such packaged offerings might open new opportunities for service providers while also enhancing the customer experience.
Understanding the smart energy consumer in a down economy.
Michael Valocchi, et al.
Utility customers expect their bills to get larger in the future, and they want utilities to provide tools and options allowing consumers to make their own energy choices. However, consumers might be more receptive to green-energy and dynamic pricing programs when economic conditions—and personal incomes—begin improving substantially.
The utility industry tends to think about smart-grid development as a technical challenge. However, smart-grid technology will fall short of its promise if utilities don’t obtain buy-in from customers. Successful utilities will actively engage customers at every stage of implementation, customizing their approach to the sensitivities and opportunities in each customer segment.
Consensus building is an imperative and educational art form.
With public opposition rising against almost any kind of utility project or investment, collaboration among stakeholders with widely divergent points of view never has been more critical. Three recent utility cases demonstrate how a formal stakeholder collaboration process can build support for otherwise contentious decisions.
(October 2009) In his article “Paradox of Thrift, author James M. Seibert looks to be calculating his average service lives as the reciprocal of depreciation rates, whereas utility depreciation rates reflect both life and net salvage. For electric utilities, the cost of removal for most types of transmission and distribution property exceeds the salvage, resulting in the net salvage component having the effect of increasing the rate.
(October 2009) The New York Independent System Operator named Thomas J. Rumsey as v.p. of external affairs. NV Energy promoted Robert Stewart to senior v.p. of customer relations. Calpine Corp. appointed Todd Thornton as treasurer and he now holds the title of v.p.-finance & treasurer. The California ISO appointed Keith Casey, Ph.D., as v.p. market and infrastructure development. And others...
Ocean thermal energy conversion offers a timely renewable alternative.
C.E. (Gene) Carpenter, Jr., et al.
23 million square miles of tropical oceans daily absorb solar radiation equal in heat content to about 250 billion barrels of oil. Ocean thermal energy conversion technologies convert this solar radiation into electrical power by exploiting the thermal gradient temperature differences between the surface and the depths. This enormous resource merits a closer look as policy makers consider alternative technologies for serving future energy demands.
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