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Fortnightly Magazine - June 2010

V2G Shuffle

Smart charging is just the start of the electric vehicle revolution.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Electric vehicles (EV) now rolling off automakers’ production lines are expensive and limited in range, but they mark a technological tipping point. By tapping into the smart grid, EVs promise to free transportation fuel from the physical medium—raising its practical value while simultaneously diminishing its cost.

Cap and Innovate

An alternative approach to climate regulation.

Ron Binz

Low carbon prices might not produce sufficient incentives for firms to innovate and reduce emissions in the long run. But relatively high carbon prices can be politically unacceptable and invite consumer backlash. Where’s the right balance? A PUC chairman offers an alternative approach to managing GHG emissions.

People

(June 2010) SueDeen Kelly joins Patton Boggs as partner; Chairman Pat Wood III elected to First Wind board; CMS names Mamatha Chamarthi as the company’s first CIO; Executive changes at Centerpoint, Constellation, Duke, FirstEnergy, TransCanada, Tres Amigas, UniSource; Black & Veatch, Navigant; EPRI, NARUC, New York ISO, and more.

Rethinking Revenue Assurance

Reducing leakage to improve the bottom line.

Victor Milligan

Utility companies are actively engaged in a range of activities with the goals of reducing the effects of weak demand, a higher uncertainty in energy costs, increased capital costs, and stagnant rate cases. Among these efforts, a rigorous revenue assurance capability likely will produce the greatest immediate and long-term return, as it can produce 1 to 2 points of revenue recovery through a single, unified investment.

Tipping Point

Industry giants start the EV revolution.

Steven Andersen

Reports of the electric car’s death are greatly exaggerated. Technology, economics and politics are driving a new start for electric vehicles; already dozens of EV models are heading for U.S. showrooms. Electricity won’t replace gasoline overnight, but utilities are planning today for tomorrow’s transportation load.

Plugging In

Can the grid handle the coming electric vehicle load?

Dean Murphy et al.

As electric vehicles become commonplace, will the grid be able to handle the extra load? Too many cars plugging in at once might cause disruptions and necessitate costly infrastructure upgrades. Handling the vehicle load in a smart way, however, will ensure a smooth transition to the plug-in future.

CEO FORUM: Dealing with Disruption

Leaders adapt to strategic shifts in the utility landscape.

Michael T. Burr

The industry is getting more complex every day. Senior executives at Southern Company, PPL, TXU Energy, Direct Energy and PJM discuss business trends, resource strategies, electric vehicles and customer engagement in the smart-grid era.

Business Case Tradeoffs

Shaping long-term smart-grid strategy.

Andy Trump

Making the business case for the smart grid is an important utility goal. It provides the justification for making or deferring required investments. Utilities might find it necessary to engage in a cycle of continuous strategic planning.

Proving Smart-Grid Savings

Real-world projects show tangible returns.

Alyssa Danigelis

Much is riding on successful smart-grid deployments. Experiences at several utilities demonstrate the costs and benefits of today’s automation technologies.

The Body Electric

The smart grid and its biomorphic destiny.

Clement Chen

Smart grid technology is bringing inanimate objects to life. In connecting nodes and equipping the system with distributed intelligence, the network is developing toward an environment that becomes quasi-biological over time. Such an organic system might defy deterministic ideas of planning and control.

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