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Fortnightly Magazine - December 2010

21st Century Talent

Building a workforce for today’s utility landscape.

Victor Synylo and Philip McLemore

Utilities can attract a new generation of employees by emphasizing the transformation the industry now faces, and the immense opportunity it creates. Matching mature workers’ vast experience with new technologies can provide unique perspectives that knowledge of new technologies alone can’t provide.

Vendor Neutral

Lockheed Martin teams with Tendril; Pattern Energy 101 MW wind plant starts operating; Alstom to supply steam equipment to GWF plant; Siemens wins government efficiency contract; GE Jenbacher introduces high-efficiency gas engine; OpenADR Alliance forms; Better Place gets into San Francisco taxis; EnerNOC enters TransAmerica Pyramid; and more.

Transactions

(December 2010) Northeast Utilities buys NStar in $4.3 billion stock deal; Toyota Tsusho buys into Oyster Creek Cogeneration; ITOCHU buys into wind farm; Atlantic Power buys wood-fired plant from ArcLight; plus equity and bond deals totaling nearly $3 billion.

Climate Burnout

Shale gas makes it easy to be green.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

In terms of the political calculus, GHG regulation faces an uncertain future, at least into 2013. And as a flood of cheap gas erodes the perception of an impending environmental crisis, politicians will have less incentive to impose carbon constraints. Does shale gas signal the end of the road for greenhouse gas regulation?

People

(December 2010) Steven Specker joins Southern Company board; Chesapeake Utilities names Michael McMasters CEO; Ethics inquiry leads to dismissals and new president at Duke Indiana; plus executive management announcements at American Transmission, Oncor, FirstEnergy, Alliant, NYISO, Gridwise Alliance, the Organization of MISO States, and more ...

IFRS and You

How the new standards affect utility balance sheets.

Bente Villadsen, Amit Koshal & Wyatt Toolson

Over the next year (or years), companies in Canada and the U.S. will make the transition towards adopting International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). These standards will have a substantial effect on the reporting requirements and financial disclosures of regulated companies. Utilities are preparing their accounting processes to meet a new regulatory standard.

The Bullish Case For Uranium

Higher prices to come?

Ed Brezinski

For decades, global uranium suppliers have been providing low cost reactor fuel in plentiful supplies. However the market is changing, and nuclear fuel prices are set to increase. Some plants will be affected more than others, but the age of uranium cost certainty is coming to an end.

First Refusals, Least Regrets

What California can teach FERC about transmission planning.

Bruce W. Radford

The California ISO is going its own way with its proposal for transmission planning, virtually ignoring FERC’s proposed rules on transmission planning and cost allocation. California wants to bring method to the madness of developing transmission projects, and its approach has raised hackles in the industry. The dispute defines the battle over America’s most attractive market for rate-regulated investment.

Repowering with Biomass

Waste fuels struggle despite coal’s decline.

William Atkinson

Fuel supply might be the biggest barrier to scaling-up biomass power generation, but it’s by no means the only problem. Utility projects to repower coal-fired plants face permitting challenges, ballooning technology costs and strained economics. Some owners are giving up the fight.

Biocoal Options

A new future for small coal-fired plants.

Adam Borison, Gregory Hamm and Philip Narodick

Small coal-fired plants are particularly vulnerable to economic and environmental pressures, putting some plant owners in what seems like a no-win position. But an emerging option—biocoal from crop wastes—might give small coal units a new lease on life.

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