Complex problems call for collective measures.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
Among all of the investment priorities in the U.S. electric power industry, one stands out as having the greatest momentum: transmission. This is interesting because transmission is perhaps the most difficult type of power infrastructure to develop, and has been for decades. Editor Michael T. Burr talks with executives at Xcel Energy and Great River Energy to learn how the CAPX2020 consortium has managed to succeed where others failed.
Out of market means out of luck—even for self-supply.
When the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its so-called ”MOPR“ decision in April 2011, approving a minimum offer price rule (or bid floor) for PJM RPM capacity market — and then on the very next day did much the same for New England’s FCM capacity market — FERC did more than just prop up prices. Instead, it created a nightmare scenario for utilities that still own their own generation. These utilities, who choose to “self-supply” with their own plants, rather than buy capacity from either the RPM or FCM, adequacy rules, could now be forced to pay twice for capacity — if their own plants are deemed inefficient or uneconomic.
Similar desires, different approaches.
Smart grid is a global phenomenon, but different countries are taking different approaches—for different reasons. For instance, utilities in Europe are more focused on laying the foundation for distributed generation and microgrids, while the United States is more concerned about creating standards for interoperability and security. Understanding the differences can help decision makers deploy smart grid technology effectively and economically.
Small is beautiful for nuclear developers.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are nuclear generating units that are about the size of railroad cars and provide about one-tenth to one-fourth the power of full-size reactors. As a result, they cost a fraction of what full-size reactors cost. The reactors are designed to provide between 40 MW and 300 MW of electric power, compared with the 1,100 to 1,700 MW output of larger reactors. In addition, most are expected to cost under $1 billion, compared with the $5 billion to $10 billion price tags of the larger units.
Has the one-day-in-10-years criterion outlived its usefulness?
The one-day-in-10-years criterion might have lost its usefulness in today’s energy markets. The criterion is highly conservative when used in calculating reserve margins for reliability. Can the industry continue justifying the high cost of overbuilding?
New rate structures prioritize conservation, but will customers buy it?
As saving energy becomes a policy priority, utility commissioners struggle to reconcile traditional revenue models with smart metering and smart pricing. Unlocking conservation potential will depend on transforming passive ratepayers into smart consumers. Fortnightly hosts a roundtable discussion with commissioners from six states.
Congress pours tax benefits into efficiency and renewables.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
Of the many provisions in the bailout bill, few of them actually establish new federal policy. Instead, most just continue existing provisions that already were set to expire, and probably would have been enacted in some form—if not this session, then next session.
Authorized ROEs shrink over time.
This year’s Fortnightly 40 survey showed that while F40 companies have grown their average return on equity (ROE) in the past three years, those returns have grown slowly compared to some other measures—including appreciation in share prices.
In light of your prescient Frontlines column, “PURPA Redirected” (February 2008), I am curious of your insight. Is there a nexus between §571 of EISA and the demand response (DR) text in the pending FERC NOPR, RM07-19-000, “Wholesale Competition in Regions with Organized Electric Markets,” issued Feb. 22, 2008?
Entergy’s $20 billion spin-off plan elicits yawns on Wall Street
(January 2008)Entergy Corp.’s announced plan to spin off about 5,000 MW of nuclear assets generated a major buzz when it was announced in early November.