Keywords

Public Utilities Reports

PUR Guide 2012 Fully Updated Version

Available NOW!
PUR Guide

This comprehensive self-study certification course is designed to teach the novice or pro everything they need to understand and succeed in every phase of the public utilities business.

Order Now

Fortnightly Magazine - June 2011

Green Power Control

Preparing the grid for large-scale renewables.

Dwayne Stradford

With large solar arrays and wind farms being proposed to connect to transmission and sub-transmission systems, are utility companies sufficiently prepared to handle the challenge of integrating these large intermittent resources? The industry now must decide whether transmission reliability factors — most notably dynamic voltage support and system frequency management — need to be resolved by renewable generators, or whether they should become a cost of doing business for transmission providers and reliability coordinators.

Vendor Neutral

(June 2011) Duke and ATC team up to build transmission lines; AEP installs bioreactor to control selenium emissions; NextEra buys 100 MW of wind from Google; Ocean Power Technologies awards contracts for wave power array; Kansas City picks Elster; BC Hydro picks Itron; plus contracts and developments involving Tres Amigas, Ioxus, Opower and others.

Transactions

(June 2011) Exelon to buy Constellation Energy, Williams Partners buys interest in Gulfstream interstate gas pipeline system, Macquarie Energy enters purchase agreement for Oak Solar project, and others.

The Transformation Myth

Telecom-style revolution is beyond our reach.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

In the information age, big growth doesn’t come from putting steel in the ground; it comes from innovating and creating value. But if electricity customers care only about reliability and price, how can utilities create real value that didn’t exist before?

Letters to the Editor

John Ferguson, CDP, comments on Joe Rosebrock’s article in April issue and Mr. Rosebrock responds.

Michigan Morass

Steven Andersen

Competitive energy suppliers are infuriated by Michigan’s regulatory framework. The state partially unbundled its utilities, but left generation tied to retail operations. Then it opened the retail market to alternative suppliers, but capped their participation at 10 percent — severely limiting true competition. Former FERC Commissioner Bill Massey says Michigan’s schizophrenic approach is stifling innovation and saddling customers with unnecessary risks and costs.

People

(June 2011) Dynegy appoints interim president and CEO; Navigant adds new energy practice director; plus senior staff changes at Emera, ConEdison, Energyplus Holdings, and others.

Retirement is Coming

Preparing for New England’s capacity transition.

Paul J. Hibbard

A wave of coal-fired plant retirements presages a possible crisis in the New England market. As load-serving utilities in ISO New England become increasingly dependent on natural gas-fired capacity and large-scale renewable generators, the region might be forced to rely on expensive cost-of-service reliability contracts to keep the lights on. Stakeholders are considering alternative approaches to encouraging power plant development, including special rate incentives previously reserved for transmission projects. Paul J. Hibbard, former Massachusetts DPU chairman and now vice president with the Analysis Group, analyzes how resource constraints are blurring the lines between competitive markets and integrated resource planning in New England.

Techno-Regulation

The smart grid and the slippery business of setting industry standards.

Bruce W. Radford

Four years ago, Congress made its wishes known: it tabbed the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop a set of standards for the smart grid, and then instructed FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “adopt” those standards, but only after finding a ”sufficient consensus,” and only “as may be necessary” to assure “functionality and interoperability.” Yet what is known is not necessarily clear. Who decides if consensus prevails? What does “interoperability” mean? Should FERC’s “necessary” finding extend to retail smart grid applications, arguably outside its purview? And the biggest dispute — must standards be mandatory? — finds PJM at odds with much of the utility industry.

Growing Pains

Utilities work toward a more mature relationship with customers.

Steven Andersen

The notion that utilities don’t do a good job of consumer engagement is only half true. The fact is, many customers don’t want to be engaged. They just want cheap, reliable electricity, no questions asked. But smart grid advancements call for a dramatic improvement on both sides of the conversation. Utilities are struggling to create a more mature relationship with their customers.

Pages