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Fortnightly Magazine - July 2010

Solar Tech Outlook

Manufacturers scale up for utility applications.

Lori A. Burkhart

Photovoltaics technology is emerging as a generation alternative—both for centralized and distributed facilities. Solar industry executives say their companies are overcoming obstacles to large-scale implementation. With advances in design and manufacturing, the future looks bright for utility-scale solar power.

Nano Promise

Why thinking small can yield big returns.

Lori A. Burkhart

Nanomanufacturing technology works on the concept that materials reduced to the nano scale can show different and improved properties compared to those exhibited on a macroscale. For nanotech giant, Applied Materials, the ability to apply thin films at the atomic level is the answer to making solar energy more cost effective. Michael Splinter, chairman, CEO and president of Applied Materials, spoke with Fortnightly about nanotech developments for utility-scale solar.

Efficiency Close-Up

Setting the stage for conservation.

Lisa Wood

America’s electric utilities understand their central role in taking efficiency and conservation to the next level. Accordingly, the industry has nearly doubled its spending on efficiency measures in the past few years. But encouraging customers to save energy won’t be enough to keep pace with the electricity demands of a growing digital economy. The country’s efficiency efforts will be most effective as part of a clean energy portfolio strategy.

Blue Ribbon Mission

Can a broadly based committee resolve the nuclear waste dilemma?

John Bewick

The Department of Energy assembled an all-star Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. With such political and industry heavyweights as Brent Scowcroft, Lee Hamilton and John Rowe, the commission must be taken seriously. But can a broadly focused committee finish the decades-long battle to close the nuclear fuel cycle?

Tres Amigas Tie Up

Synchronizing networks to bring green power to market.

Jeremiah D. Lambert

In order to fully integrate wind and other dispersed sources of energy into the system, America’s patchwork transmission networks need to be more closely interconnected and synchronized. An advocate for the Tres Amigas merchant transmission project explains how the proposed facility will integrate the grid.

Vendor Neutral

Kiewit chooses Alstom equipment for Dominion and Northland Power plants; Abengoa Solar reaches 143 MW with thermal plant startup; S&C Electric to engineer Tessera Solar project; Canada and Hitachi cooperate on carbon sequestration; Black & Veatch to manage PSE&G smart-grid project; AEP selects OPower for customer engagement; SRP picks Elster for AMI rollout; Oncor installs millionth smart meter; plus contract and technology announcements from ABB, Arcadian Networks, Beacon Power, Catalyst Renewables, eMeter, Itron, Open Systems International, Siemens, SunEdison, Tesla Motors and

Transactions

(July 2010) TransCanada floats $1.25 billion in a two-tranche bond offering; KinderMorgan sells $1 billion in notes; Xcel Energy raises its offering to $500 million; plus bond issues from Calpine, SDG&E, FPL, PSE&G and Entergy, totaling more than $4 billion in the month of May.

Guidelines in Practice

J. Michel Marcoux

FERC owns more than one enforcement tool. Besides civil penalties, it can require compliance plans or disgorgement of unjust profits, or condition, suspend, or revoke market-based rate authority, NGA certificate authority, or NGA blanket certificate authority. And lacking criminal penalty authority itself, FERC can refer matters to the U.S. Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Moreover, while defining an organization as any entity other than a natural person, FERC nevertheless will continue to determine civil penalties for natural person violators, looking to the guidelines for guidance in setting such penalties.

Getting Engaged

How to avoid a Texas-style backlash.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Is customer engagement more about damage control, or helping customers understand their options?

Nuclear YIMBY

Local communities welcome new reactor projects.

Ann Stouffer Bisconti

Visitors to Waynesboro in northeast Georgia might be surprised at local residents’ opinions about two new nuclear energy plants planned for that site; namely, they’re giving the reactors a warm welcome.

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