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Public Utilities Reports

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Fortnightly Magazine - February 2014

Catching Fire

Climate policy heats up after the Great Recession.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

GHG rules are coming soon. What happens next will depend on how states react.

People

Nick Akins becomes chairman of AEP board; Dominion names Diane Leopold president of Dominion Energy, and Robert Blue president of Virginia Power; Leila Vespoli becomes chief legal officer at FirstEnergy; PG&E promotes Gregg Lemler to v.p. of electric transmission; plus personnel changes at Consumers Energy, Xcel, Southern Nuclear, ITC, CenterPoint, and others.

Modernizing with Trackers

Time-tested cost recovery mechanisms provide stable funding for infrastructure replacement.

Mark J. Kropilak and Wendell F. Holland

Automatic tracker surcharges provide timely cost recovery for multi-year utility system improvement programs.

Transactions

Fortis acquires UNS Energy for $4.3 billion; EdF sells half of Texas wind project to UBS; SunEdison sells $1.2 billion in bonds and redeems $750 million in debt; plus equity and debt transactions totaling nearly $7 billion.

The Innovator's Dilemma

Assessing the risks and rewards of distributed energy strategies.

Hugo van Nispen

To embrace change or fight it? The choice to either act or wait and see is fraught with complexity.

Putting a Price on Carbon

How EPA can establish a U.S. GHG Program for the Electricity Sector.

David P. Littell

With the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards expected in June 2014, many states are considering their own approaches to provide flexibility in meeting compliance requirements. Experience in North America to date provides policy guidance.

Complying with 111(d)

Exploring the cap-and-invest option.

David Farnsworth

EPA is expected to provide states with latitude in meeting Clean Air Act GHG standards. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) demonstrates an effective and economical approach: “cap and invest.”

Energy Efficiency Unmasked

Regulatory formulas for rewarding efficiency investments.

Richard G. Stevie and Raiford L. Smith

Effective conservation incentives would send appropriate price signals to consumers. The more common approach, unfortunately, involves arbitrary standards that introduce market inefficiencies and ultimately harm consumers.

Correlation Processing

Big data at work – from plant performance to customer interaction.

Ramesh (“Rudy”) Shankar

Analytics technology isn’t just for customer service and distribution systems. Pattern recognition techniques are allowing utilities to wade through large reams of data and identify incipient equipment problems at power plants, avoiding costly failures and safety compromises.

Digest

ABB commissions microgrid on Portuguese island; Panda orders Siemens generating units for 829-MW plant; Burlington Electric Department enters 54-MW PPA with First Wind; Tantalus and Itron contract for smart metering and smart grid system in Washington; EdF orders 220 MW of wind turbines from Vestas; MidAmerican orders 1,050 MW of wind turbines from Siemens; plus contracts and announcements from GE, PSEG, Arizona Public Service, Dominion, Entergy, Xcel, PSE&G, and others.