The industry makes strides, but messy issues like air quality and building codes could be showstoppers.
Carl J. Levesque
Phillip S. Cross
But the lower returns on equity don't necessarily result from gen selloffs or moves toward stand-alone distribution.
A survey of utility rate decisions affecting authorized rates of return on common equity (ROE), as issued by state public utility commissions (PUCs) during the period Sept. 30, 1998 to Sept. 30, 1999, indicates a small but discernible trend toward lower returns.
California again is the proving ground. Analysts see DG as the biggest issue since the PUC first mapped its "vision" for retail competition.
Francis H. Cummings and Philip M. Marston, Esq.
The T&D grid, once deemed a bottleneck, will now face pressure from both ends. Is it still the same old monopoly?
Some 30-odd years ago physicist and philosopher Thomas S. Kuhn coined the phrase "paradigm shift" to describe a radical change in a mental framework for interpreting facts. His key work, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," published in 1962, focused on the role of paradigms in scientific thought - such as the Copernican sun-centered solar system or Planck's work in quantum mechanics.
Bruce W. Radford
The wires business goes up for grabs as California opens its landmark case on distributed generation.
Jay Morse has studied distributed generation for the past seven years. Today, as an engineer and policy analyst on regulatory transition and market development issues for the California PUC's Office of Ratepayer Advocates, he sits in the eye of the storm. Technology is busting out all over, says Morse, who calls himself the "godfather" of DG in California's electric restructuring.
Bruce W. Radford
Micro maverick Bill Althouse sees a grand conspiracy to blot out customer-owned generation.
Distributed generation is out of the box. It's time for regulators to wake up. The paradigm has already shifted."
That's Bill Althouse talking, president of Althouse Inc. of Albuquerque, N.M., a seat-of-the pants business (he says he's near bankruptcy) that helps homeowners and businesses install on-site generation. I met him via email as I researched why, on Jan.
Bruce W. Radford
I've been learning about venture capital funds for electric utilities. The lesson has run the gamut: from competition to cannibalization; from portfolios to the laws of thermodynamics; from the next new thing to the renaissance of a 19th-century technology.
Some might ask: Isn't venture capital just like gambling? Not so, say execs from two utilities now getting their feet wet in a venture fund. All the same, this story will take us to Atlantic City casinos before it's done.
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
Generation: Big orDistributed power may turn
heads, but economics points
to central plants.
By Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
By 2010, distributed power technologies will make up as much as 30 percent of new electric generation.
George T. Preston, and Daniel M. Rastler
Will new technologies undermine the customer base?
Or can utilities use them offensively?The electric power industry stands poised to move to a fully competitive market. Business realities already imply a broadening of customer choice.
Mohamed M. El-Gasseir
Until a few years ago, the concept of distributed or modular generation was largely academic. Recent developments in the electric power industry, however, have brought this once esoteric subject to the attention of utility executives as well as state and federal policymakers. Centralized, large-scale plans to use modular generators and demand-side management (DSM) to displace utility investments in bulk-power resources and high-voltage transmission projects is unrealistic.