Duke installed a 36-MW energy storage facility at the Notrees wind farm; Ameren Illinois plans to deploy a Landis+Gyr mesh network; GE and Toshiba formed a strategic alliance to develop combined-cycle power projects; Alberta Newsprint contracted Caterpillar to supply gensets totaling 65 MW; Duke Energy plans to retire two coal-fired stations; EDF started operations at a 150-MW wind project; Sempra completed the first 150-MW phase of the Mesquite solar complex; Atlantic Wind selected Bechtel to build an offshore HVDC transmission line; Alstom Grid and Capgemini allied to offer smart grid solutions; plus contracts and announcements from Itron, Qualcomm, Echelon, Siemens, Portland General Electric, Pattern Energy, Juhl Energy, Honda, and others.
Planning ahead in a low-cost gas market.
Julie Ryan and Julie Lieberman
IIt’s ironic that in today’s market, as the cost of hedging against commodity price increases has declined, support for utility hedging programs has sunk to a historic low. The ideal time to hedge is when prices are low and markets are relatively calm, because that’s when hedging costs and risks are the lowest. Conversely, waiting until prices rise and markets become volatile will expose customers to higher costs. Convincing regulators to approve hedging programs now will require a collaborative approach to educating and enlisting support from stakeholders.
(September 2011) Walgreens to install eVgo charging stations at 800 sites; Siemens and eMeter team up in Maryland; Glasgow muni installs Elster meters; ABB completes Mincom acquisition; JDSU acquires Quanta-Sol PV technology; Survalent installs SCADA system at tidal power project; PECO selects Telvent; plus announcements and contracts involving Trilliant, Sensus, S&C Electric, Navigant, Ernst & Young, PSE&G, Portland General Electric and others.
In the Pacific Northwest, you either spill water or spill wind.
The wind power industry has been up in arms ever since the Bonneville Power Administration earlier this year announced its Interim Environmental Redispatch and Negative Pricing Policy. That policy, applicable during periods of high spring runoff and heavy water flow volumes on the Federal Columbia River Power System, calls for BPA to redispatch and curtail access to transmission for wind power generating turbines, and to replace that resource with hydroelectric power generated via BOA hydroelectric dams, in order to avoid having to divert water through dam spillways, which could threaten fish and wildlife by creating excess levels of Total Dissolved Gas (TDG), which can cause Gas Bubble Trauma. Yet the legal issue remains unclear: Does this practice imply discrimination in the provision of transmission service, or is it simply a matter of system balancing and generation dispatch? In fact, the FERC may lack jurisdiction over the dispute, as it pertains to the fulfillment of BPA’s statutory mandates.
Ring-fencing after the subprime meltdown.
Scott Strauss and Peter Hopkins
When Électricité de France stepped in to buy Constellation Energy’s nuclear assets and help the company avoid bankruptcy, the Maryland Public Service Commission conditioned the sale on a set of ring-fencing provisions. The industry has been using such structures to protect ratepayers in complex and high-risk M&A transactions since the 1990s. The protection isn’t foolproof, however—and it can bring problematic regulatory trade-offs.
The economy forces tough decisions.
The economy has put state commissioners and regulated utilities in precarious positions. Seven state chairmen explain how they’re applying fair rate treatment.
(October 2009) The New York Independent System Operator named Thomas J. Rumsey as v.p. of external affairs. NV Energy promoted Robert Stewart to senior v.p. of customer relations. Calpine Corp. appointed Todd Thornton as treasurer and he now holds the title of v.p.-finance & treasurer. The California ISO appointed Keith Casey, Ph.D., as v.p. market and infrastructure development. And others...
(August 2009) Duke Energy named Lynn J. Good group executive and CFO, replacing David L. Hauser, who left Duke to become chairman and CEO of FairPoint Communications. Pepco Holdings named Anthony J. Kamerick as senior v.p. and CFO. And others...
(February 2009) Portland General Electric (PGE) announced Maria M. Pope as senior v.p. of finance, CFO and treasurer. Hawaiian Electric Co. named Richard M. Rosenblum president and CEO. UniSource Energy named Paul J. Bonavia as its chairman, president and CEO. Midwest ISO announced John H. Bear, currently president and COO, will succeed T. Graham Edwards as CEO. And others...