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Fortnightly Magazine - October 2009

The New Green Finance

The best way to tap into renewable project funding.

Glenn J. Berger et al.

Renewable generation resources have become the rallying cry for policymakers and developers alike as the movement grows to generate electricity in a more climate-friendly manner. Pending federal legislation creating a carbon cap-and-trade market and a national renewable portfolio standard (RPS), together with existing state requirements, is spurring utilities that lack renewable generation to acquire some—no matter the federal legislative outcome—and causing utilities with sizeable renewable generation to expand their existing portfolios.

'T' Party Revolt

Transmission expansion costs are spread unevenly, driving a wedge between utilities and regions.

Bruce W. Radford

Back in June, the Bismarck Tribune ran an interview with North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark that showed just how difficult it is to build national consensus for renewable energy.

Ontario's Feed-In Tariff

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.

Fragile Foundation

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.

Packaging Demand

Integrated demand offerings could be the next generation of energy management.

Thomas Brunetto

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.

Lighting the Way

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.

Smart Grid: A Customer Challenge

Consumers hold the key to technology’s benefits.

Robert Spencer and Mani Vadari

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.

Stakeholder Collaboration

Consensus building is an imperative and educational art form.

Mark Gabriel

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.

Letters to the Editor

(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.

People

(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...

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