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Fortnightly Magazine - June 2010

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.

FIT in the USA

Constitutional questions about state-mandated renewable tariffs.

Steven Ferrey et al.

Despite state efforts to follow the European model of state-mandated feed-in tariffs to promote renewable power, these actions won’t pass Constitutional muster. The Supremacy Clause makes a formidable legal barrier.

Recharging Employees

How to make sustainable performance improvements at any utility.

Cheryl Hyman et al.

Sustained performance improvement is often a difficult objective to achieve in a large company. Many such attempts involve various cross-functional initiatives that leave companies with unfinished projects, lower morale and disappointing results. Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) has found that the key to sustained performance improvement is the establishment of a cadre of high-potential managers to address company-wide initiatives full-time.

Hybrid Storage

Ultracapacitors and batteries work together to solve power quality problems.

Chad Hall

Ultracapacitors and batteries work together to solve power quality problems.

Vendor Neutral

ABB buys Ventyx; Powerspan and WorleyParsons CO2 capture test results; Honeywell lands Progress Energy contract; Opower releases customer engagement platform; HECO picks Siemens for smart-grid stimulus project; and MORE.

Transactions

(June 2010) Calpine buys 5 GW of generating capacity from Pepco Holdings for $1.65 billion; Xcel buys two Calpine plants in Denver for $739 million; Asset acquisitions announced in April by Constellation, Kaukauna Utilities and others total $3 billion.

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.

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