Robert Garvin, MAJ, TC, 3RD Corps Support Command: Serving here and seeing how poor the people of Iraq are after 30 years of a dictatorship is truly life changing. You would not believe the electricity challenges they face here. In a country of over 25 million people, Iraq has only about 5,000 MW of electricity at any given time.
Daniel Simon decided to investigate how much the extra heat of incandescent light bulbs over CFLs might cost a customer in air-conditioning cooling costs, compared to an analysis in “Squeezing BTUs From Light Bulbs.”
How Congress opened another can of worms with its call for regional joint boards to study power-plant dispatch.
Did Congress really invite the industry to re-examine the concept of economic dispatch, as practiced by the regional grid operators and RTOs, through market bids, day-ahead markets, a centralized auction, and a uniform market-clearing price? Perhaps not, but skeptics of RTO practice have called the bluff, if that’s what it was.
Wind gains, but won’t soon alter the fuel mix.
Gary L. Hunt and George Given
Some power markets may be seeing possible signs of recovery. Spark spreads appear to have bottomed out, and reserve margins have begun to fall in some markets. As Figure 1 shows, recovery is uneven, with many regions still experiencing excess supply and a few regions with peak reserves under 10 percent.
The resource overbuild in the West complicates the company’s efforts.
Gary L. Hunt and Devrim Albuz
Calpine’s announcement that it will shed 20 of its 92 power plants, close three offices, and lay off 775 more staff in a bid to emerge from bankruptcy caused by more than $22 billion in total debt was not unexpected. The question is whether these actions will be sufficient to get the job done.
Interview by Richard Stavros
“I think it is my job as a leader to make sure that our values are always lived up to even when [they] conflict necessarily with our vision. That is what people look for at the end of the day. A leader’s role above all else is to make sure the truth is respected.”
“Hedge funds … are unregistered private investment partnerships, funds, or pools that may invest and trade in many different markets, strategies, and instruments (including securities, non-securities, and derivatives) and are NOT subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds, including mutual fund requirements to provide certain periodic and standardized pricing and valuation information to investors. There are substantial risks in investing in Hedge Funds.”1
Banks are reshaping the energy-trading landscape. When the dust settles, utility companies will face different strategic horizons.
Utility executives face volatile energy markets, skyrocketing fuel prices, and changing federal energy policies. How are utilities benefiting from the turnaround in energy trading?
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?
FERC mulls rival plans at the last minute, while on the West Coast, California gets into the game.
FERC, the ISO, and many other parties had seen no reason for further debate over the need for a location-specific capacity market. By limiting debate, FERC had foreclosed a raft of competing ideas. When the moment finally arrived for the oral argument at FERC, attorneys and witnesses attempted valiantly in the precious few minutes allotted each speaker to flesh out new ideas, and the commissioners struggled as well to keep up. This highly unusual situation made for a helter-skelter hearing, with new topics seeming to come out of the woodwork.
Change is the only certainty in today’s market.
Devrim Albuz and Mark Griffith
The past year has allowed the North American power sector to continue its recovery, but it has been a treacherous time for investing. Asset values, and the value of their associated debt instruments, are being driven in the short term by an extreme fuel market and in the long term by a back-to-basics mindset among electric utilities. Still, asset valuations in most markets are not yet at replacement costs, leaving current investors with a residual level of risk.