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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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