The U.S. utility industry has never faced a more uncertain legal and regulatory landscape. From FERC demand-response pricing to state ratemaking disputes, legal trends and decisions are reshaping the power and gas market. The industry’s top legal minds provide strategic counsel. By definition, a battlefield is an ugly place. Conflict creates chaos, uncertainty and danger.
Are subsidies the best way to achieve smart grid goals?
FERC has proposed that wholesale energy markets should subsidize load reductions with full LMP (locational marginal price), without deducting the customers’ retail savings. Such a policy could distort the market, and other solutions might achieve the same objectives more efficiently.
Understanding consumer preferences in energy efficiency.
Utilities are just beginning to learn how to engage customers. Across business models and regulatory frameworks, realizing the full potential of smart metering requires a new core competence in consumer support.
In some states, transmission projects have slowed to a halt as regulators attempt to substitute their own need determinations for those of RTOs. The federal framework encourages cooperation, but Congress and the courts have given FERC clear authority over interstate transmission systems.
With Yucca Mountain declared dead, America’s nuclear power industry needs new solutions for managing spent fuel. Although the task is complicated, examples of siting success provide hope that a collaborative approach can close the nuclear fuel cycle.
The smart grid is poised for a tremendous rollout of new and revised technology standards in the next few years, but that’s just the beginning. IEEE Standards Association President Charlton Adams Jr. explains the objective of the intensifying smart grid standards effort is to address and satisfy the full gamut of economic, political and social goals related to the smart grid.
Former Pres. Bill Clinton and other dignitaries help Duke, Cisco and Charlotte, N.C., launch commercial efficiency initiative; AEP signs 20-year MOU to buy solar output from New Harvest plant; Wartsila expands gas-fired generator in Turkey; U.S. DOE awards geothermal RD&D grants; GE acquires Dresser for $3 billion, and also acquires Calnetix industrial cogen technology; SunEdison sells 70 MW Rovigo PV plant; Ford Motor Co.
(November 2010) NRG buys Green Mountain Energy; Sempra divests domestic retail commodity operation, buys back $500 million in shares; TransCanada sells $1 billion in 10-year notes; Entergy floats $1.5 billion in four tranches; Exelon sells $900 million in two bond offerings; plus issues by Southern Company, Edison International, Nevada Power and CMS.
Investor-owned utilities might seem fairly robust, but they’re not impervious to unpredictable black-swan events. Ensuring the industry’s survival might depend on our ability to reduce our dependence on fragile and unsustainable regulatory structures.
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