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Public Utilities Reports

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Fortnightly Magazine - August 2012

Are We Smart Yet?

Rising expectations in the Dog Days of summer.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Yet another sweltering summer is causing its share of outages and supply problems, with predictable backlash from customers and policy makers. And with the advances we’ve seen in recent years, perhaps again we should be asking whether we’re adequately focused on our most critical mission: keeping the power on.

People (August 2012)

El Paso Electric announced that Thomas V. Shockley was appointed the company’s permanent CEO. Hector R. Puente was promoted to senior v.p. and COO. Duke Energy named Clark Gillespy president of the company’s South Carolina service region. Gillespy replaces Catherine Heigel who became vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at American Transmission Co. Ameren promoted Richard J. Mark to chairman, president, and CEO of Ameren Illinois. And others...

Double Trouble in PJM's Capacity Market

Policymakers and industry seek a formula to assure competitiveness and resource adequacy.

Ade Dosunmu

New Jersey’s bid to force prices downward in PJM’s capacity market not only raises the alarm about market manipulation. It also reveals a dilemma that’s preventing new generation from being built. Incumbent interests and political motivations make PJM less attractive to investment than it should be.

PURPA Wars

Why Idaho is fed up with renewables.

Bruce W. Radford

Idaho Power has more wind power than it can use—so much that it’s costing its ratepayers a bundle. It wants out, so it won’t have to buy from all the small wind farms that claim “QF” status under the 1978 PURPA law.

Load as a Resource

Integrating controllable demand into real-time, security constrained economic dispatch.

Audrey Zibelman, et al.

Historically, grid operators tapped into voluntary load reduction as a last resort for keeping the lights on. But now, smart grid technologies and dynamic pricing mechanisms bring vastly greater potential for using load as a dispatchable resource. Effective implementation requires advanced technologies—and also foresight in creating programs, policies, and market mechanisms.

Capturing Distributed Benefits

Factoring customer-owned generation into forecasting, planning, and operations.

Margarett Jolly, David Logsdon, and Christopher Raup — Copyright © 2012 Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.

The long-predicted future of distributed generation is now becoming a reality. Customers increasingly are installing and operating behind-the-meter generation systems, creating challenges and opportunities for utilities. ConEdison’s experience demonstrates the dangers and challenges, as well as the opportunities for becoming partners with utility customers.

Directly Controlling the Winter Peak

Learning lessons from PSE’s residential demand response pilot.

Peter Steele-Mosey

Utilities and regulators increasingly are considering direct control of residential load to help manage the grid. Evaluating the recent experience of one winter-peaking utility—Puget Sound Energy—provides insights into best practices for ramping up direct load control.

Vendor Neutral

Siemens produced the first batch of its new 75-meter B75 Quantum rotor blades. Xcel Energy awarded Outland Energy Services a long-term contract to provide operations and maintenance services at three Xcel Energy wind farms totaling 328 MW until 2017. Duke Energy Renewables and Sumitomo Corp. of America completed building the 131-MW Cimarron II wind project and began commercial operations in Gray County, Kansas. And others...

Making Demand More Dynamic

FERC has ruled, but compliance is another story.

Bruce W. Radford

Almost a year and a half has passed since FERC issued Order 745, declaring demand response to equal to power supplies in wholesale markets. Yet uncertainty surrounds the order’s implementation, and third-party aggregators are struggling to define their role.