Calendar of Events

Apr 28, 2014 | New York, NY
May 05, 2014 to May 08, 2014 | Las Vegas, Nevada

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Public Utilities Reports

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Congress

Demand-Side Dreams

FERC would relax price caps—sending rates skyward—to encourage customers to curtail loads.

Bruce W. Radford

About four months ago, at a conference at Stanford University’s Center for International Development, the economist and utility industry expert Frank Wolak turned heads with a not-so-new but very outrageous idea.

RECs Get Real

Green credits are maturing to become real, tradeable assets.

Michael Zimmer, Jason T. Hungerford, and Jennifer M. Rohleder

By displacing electricity produced from fossil fuels, renewable power plants produce two distinct products—commodity electricity and a set of environmental attributes (particularly avoided emissions). These environmental attributes can be packaged into a product called a renewable energy certificate, or REC, and sold separately from the electricity. As REC markets develop, key issues are being addressed regarding market interaction.

Before You Build It: Think Green

The complex financial analysis that has driven renewable energy investment has become the standard for assessing all potential electric generation investments.

Elias Hinckley

Tax incentives, renewable portfolio standards, and the creation of renewable-energy credits and carbon constraints are no longer separate considerations when assessing renewable-energy projects. The convergence of these economic considerations will affect the value proposition for every potential generation investment in the United States.

Messing With Texas

Armed with calls for gas price transparency, FERC takes aim at intrastate pipelines—the long-forgotten and largely private preserve of the Lone Star State.

Bruce W. Radford

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has proposed to bring a modicum of federal oversight to the nation’s intrastate natural-gas pipelines. Given the historical structure and regulation of the nation’s natural-gas industry, it should come as no surprise that FERC’s proposal has polarized the industry in general and the state of Texas in particular.

Transmission Line-Siting Under EPACT: Shortcut or Short Circuit?

The 2005 Act, designed to streamline projects, may fall short of that goal.

David B. MacGregor and Matthew J. Agen

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was supposed to streamline the siting process and provide a federal “trump card” for projects delayed at the local level, but it is far from clear whether these goals have been, or will be, achieved.

Energy Reform: A Legislative Washout?

Congress is shifting U.S. energy policies toward green alternatives. Is the new direction temporary or permanent?

Michael T. Burr

Fundamental questions about fuel supply, efficiency standards, and environmental performance have splintered Republicans and Democrats into warring factions. As a result, the only proposals legislators can agree upon seem to be watered down half-measures.

Gas-Market Forecasts: Betting on Bad Numbers

Why predictions from the Energy Information Administration may contain systematic errors.

Timothy J. Considine, Ph.D. and Frank A. Clemente, Ph.D.

Natural-gas estimates from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) are supposed to be “policy neutral.” Are they? Over the past decade, EIA forecasts for NG differ substantially from actual outcomes—even though overestimations of supply capabilities could lead to underestimating the costs of carbon regulations.

When Shippers Seek Release

Price caps, secondary markets, and the revolution in natural-gas portfolio management.

Bruce W. Radford

When FERC decided in February, in Order 890, to lift the price cap for electric-transmission customers seeking to resell their grid capacity rights in the secondary market, it cautioned against expecting a quid pro quo for gas. Was the commission just teasing?

Walking the Walk

Eco-Developer Pat Wood III explains how competitive markets are good for green business.

Richard Stavros

The debate over implementing comprehensive electric-competition policies throughout the U.S. economy still rages to this day. Pat Wood III, as the federal regulator, had to fight many tough, public battles in defense of his beliefs on open markets. But there is no bitterness from those battles, if there ever was. It’s quite the opposite. Interviewed at the American Wind Energy Association conference in early June, Wood punctuated his answers in the go get ’em, optimistic view of the world many remember him for at FERC.

Wind Goes Hollywood

The spotlight is on. But true stardom will require more direction from utilities.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Wind has become today’s hit—a potential blockbuster, even—but still needing that one big break. To make it big, utilities will have to lead the charge as owners. That will force utilities to consider and evaluate the significant credit implications that can arise when signing a power purchase agreement with developers that lack deep pockets, or implement fly- by-night schemes.

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