PJM and the crisis over FTR underfunding.
PJM’s latest crisis—the underfunding of financial transmission rights that we’ve seen over the last few years—pushes regulators right to the edge. How far do they trust wholesale power markets? Do they accept the idea, proven by a famous economist, that freely traded financial instruments can work just as well—better even—than firm, physical contract rights?
TVA moving ahead with Babcock & Wilcox mPower small modular reactor; Bechtel begins refueling and uprate work at Xcel's Monticello plant; NRG starts operations at 66-MW PV facility; NIST starts developing cybersecurity framework under presidential order; BPA to upgrade HVDC converter station; PacifiCorp working with CAISO to create real-time energy market; Cupertino Electric to install 230-kV line for 200-MW PV plant; plus contracts and announcements from Alstom, Siemens, Echelon, EPRI, Sempra, and others.
Amory Lovins on negawatts, renewables, and neoclassical markets.
Fortnightly speaks with Amory Lovins about the evolving role of conservation, competition, and distributed resources in the energy industry.
(March 2013) NSTAR appoints new president; Southern Company names new financial management team; BPA gets new administrator; plus management changes at AEP, Duke, ITC, ConEdison, GDF Suez, ERCOT, MISO, NARUC, and others.
Analyzing the Order 1000 comply filings from non-RTO regions.
Last fall, utilities across the country began filing tariffs with FERC to explain how they’ll comply with Order 1000. That’s quite a handful, but maybe not a stretch for the RTOs. Not so for the non-RTO regions.
Calpine signs PPA with Public Service Company of Oklahoma; TransCanada and Ontario PowerAuthority agree to develop 900-MW gas-fired power plant; Panda selects Siemens to build combined-cycle plant; Progress Energy retires coal plants dating from 1923; Southern Company and Turner acquire 30-MW PV project; PSO begins smart meter pilot rollout; Southern California Edison contracts with Corix to install smart meters; Iberdrola USA hires Burns and McDonnell to review grid infrastructure. Plus contracts and announcements from Itron, eMeter, Echelon, Quanta Services, DNV, Metadigm, Landis+Gyr, and others.
Retrofitting early protected North Carolina ratepayers.
David Hoppock and Sarah Adair
Ongoing litigation over EPA rules raises compliance risks and costs. North Carolina utilities, however, benefited from the state’s forward thinking.
Portfolio planning in the age of gas.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
PUCs are concerned that a rapid shutdown of coal-fired plants will start a full-tilt dash to gas—similar to the one that caused bankruptcies among independent power producers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But this time around, ratepayers and not IPP investors will be stuck with the risk, if utilities rush to add all that new gas-fired capacity to rate base.
Michigan chafes over regional grid planning, providing a policy lesson for the feds.
High prices have turned Michigan against regional planning -- a possible foretaste of what to expect under FERC Order 1000.