Budgets are expected to increase, even as new IT challenges present themselves.
In our annual technology forum, we talk with tech/information specialists at four companies: Patricia Lawicki at PG&E; Ken Fell at the New York ISO; Mark C. Williamson at American Transmission Co.; and John Seral at GE Energy.
RTOs in the region continue to struggle.
Lawrence J. Risman, Ph.D.
Efforts to develop more RTOs in the West came to a near standstill again after talks last year among key players Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Grid West, and the Transmission Improvements Group collapsed over BPA’s convergence proposal. The end of talks is one more failure in a long line of failures to find consensus on an RTO approach in the West. Grid West is attempting to reorganize following BPA’s withdrawal, but its fate is indeterminate. Key issues are funding for continued development and achieving agreements with BPA and other transmission providers in the region.
We must efficiently deliver wholesale power within competitive regional markets.
When President Eisenhower was growing up in Kansas, he saw America’s byways and back roads develop to meet point-to-point needs, eventually forming a loosely connected national interstate highway network. The U.S. electric transmission system has similar roots, and it needs a similar vision to meet the needs of the 21st century.
FERC says it won’t ‘change’ the native-load preference, but don’t bet on it.
When FERC opened wholesale power markets to competition a decade ago in Order No. 888, it codified a system for awarding grid access known as the pro forma Open-Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), founded on physical rights, and on the fiction that electrons travel along a “contract path.” Should the commission “tinker” with the OATT, making only surgical changes to make it current? Or, do events instead warrant a complete overhaul?
Congress revamps LNG and storage, giving broad new powers to FERC. Why the Feds still must consult with local authorities.
A major objective of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) is to counter the worsened conditions in the natural-gas market that began in 2000 and are expected to continue over the next several years—namely, tight natural-gas supplies and high, volatile gas prices caused by a distinct shift in the supply-demand balance. Any noticeable reductions in gas prices that might be effectuated by the act will have little impact on natural-gas prices for a number of years.
Will eco-power survive the next five years?
Mark D. Crowdis and Dr. David Bernell
"If you build it they will come" has not proven to be applicable for green-power programs. Utilities have to build their programs in the right way, with the right rewards and incentives—then the customers will come. If utilities do not do this, then the effort to expand renewable energy markets will suffer a great setback, one from which it will take many years to recover.
Debate continues on how to safeguard America's energy infrastructure.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the central question: Could any of this have been avoided? Many experts believe that the new authority given to FERC to enforce mandatory reliability standards, as per the Energy Policy Act of 2005, will bring greater transparency to the process of protecting critical infrastructure.
California's pursuit of a centralized administrative solution in reliability hinders everyday operational issues.
California’s pursuit of a centralized administrative solution in reliability hinders everyday operational issues.
FERC must align the immediate self-interest of profit-maximizing entities with its own view of what is in the public interest.
James J. Hoecker & Stephen Angle
Two obstacles must be overcome to achieve true competitive markets: reversal of the long-term underinvestment in transmission, and greater clarity in the legal and regulatory environments. How can the industry make the most of a somewhat defensive regulatory posture?
How an environmentally friendly power source can solve the fossil-fuel supply-and-demand gap.
The challenge over the next several decades will be completion of an economically competitive fusion power plant. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is paving the way.