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Public Utilities Reports

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Fortnightly Magazine - April 2014

Community Renaissance

When one age ends, another begins.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

 

Community microgrids raise questions about the role of the utility franchise, versus the free market.

People

Southern Company names Kimberly S. Greene COO; Mark A. Crosswhite becomes CEO of Alabama Power; James Y. Kerr becomes Southern Company's general counsel; Calvin G. Butler Jr. becomes CEO at Baltimore Gas & Electric; Michael T. Burr steps down as Fortnightly's editor-in-chief; plus executive announcements at Ameren, Southern California Edison, OGE Energy, and others.

Social Intelligence

Harnessing the true power of social media.

John Kunasek and Rilck Noel

Customers expect their utilities to communicate as well as other service providers. This shouldn’t be considered a burden, but an opportunity.

Transactions

Calpine acquires Texas combined-cycle plant from MinnTex; FirstEnergy sells 11 hydro stations to LS Power; Alterra Power acquires 202-MW wind farm; plus deals and debt issues totaling $1.8 billion.

Scare Tactics

New England’s proposed capacity market reform would force generators to ‘Be There or Else.’

Bruce W. Radford

Facing worries about resource adequacy, ISO New England proposes changes that would penalize generators that fail to perform when needed -- for any reason. Market players say it can only work if the system operator allows for reasonable exceptions.

The End of an Age

Survival in the new market requires embracing new technologies and practices.

Charles E. Bayless

New technologies are opening the utility domain to innovation and competition. Traditional utilities will shrink as outsourcing providers and competitors grow. Survival in this new market requires embracing new technologies and practices.

Cybersecurity and the PUC

Regulators and utilities should collaborate more to address cyber threats.

Andy Bochman

Public utility commissions face a growing need to understand cybersecurity issues, so they can address utility investments and processes. A collaborative approach will allow an effective response.

Next-Gen Nuclear

Tomorrow’s options for low-carbon baseload generation.

John A. Bewick

The nuclear renaissance might be postponed, but technologies continue advancing. The next generation of plants will apply innovation for safety, efficiency, and modularity.

Why Outage Management Must Change

Smart grid advancements call for a new approach to restoration.

Gary Ockwell

The next-generation smart grid system must perform SCADA, DMS, and OMS functions using a single, common representation of the distribution network.

Digest

Solar Reserve commissions 110-MW solar thermal plant with molten-salt heat storage; Minnesota Power orders 64 3-MW wind turbines from Siemens; Alstom wins contract to supply 6-MW offshore wind turbines; Itron announces subscription-based service offering; plus announcements and contracts involving SunEdison, Lockheed Martin, Washington Gas Energy Systems, and others.