DEREGULATION PRESENTS WHAT IS PERHAPS THE BEST opportunity yet for renewables to stake a lasting claim in the electricity market.
Since most energy from renewable sources still isn't priced competitively with fossil-fueled technologies, many restructuring proposals at state and federal levels include various support mechanisms intended to drive down the renewable generation costs. The initial added expense is a necessary trade-off, advocates say, for the resulting reductions in emissions and energy price volatility.
John B. Howe
IN RECENT YEARS, THE high demand for local exchange codes from incumbent local exchange carriers and new competitors has mandated scores of new area codes across the United States, created through processes that generate a high degree of local controversy. Yet even after the new area codes are created, the demand for exchange codes for local calling areas continues unabated, leading in some cases to the exhaustion of exchange codes within brand new area codes in as little as two to three years -- a period much shorter than their expected life.
Bruce W. Radford
THE LAST FEW TIMES I'VE HIT THE ROAD FOR A INDUSTRY conference or speaking engagement, someone invariably has come up to tell me how my picture on this page seems to be getting younger. OK, I confess. Like many other columnists, I've probably carried on too long with the same old photo.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Elizabeth Striano
PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION. Chief Judge D. Brock Hornby of the U.S. District Court in Maine, decided to allow Portland Natural Gas Transmission System access to electric transmission corridors owned by Central Maine Power Co. The access will be used to install a natural gas pipeline.
Portland received FERC approval Sept. 24 for installing and operating a 292-mile, $302-million interstate pipeline. CMP owns about 70 miles of the electric transmission corridor. The preliminary injunction, issued April 10, gives Portland access to property on CMP-owned transmission corridors.
RECENT CONFERENCE on independent system operators held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was, in many respects, a tremendous achievement. It is a testimony to this Commission that its members can muster the stamina to listen to one-and-a-half days of mind-numbing technical discussion of power technology and regulation.
Nevertheless, there is inevitably a misstep or two in these massive "hearing-thons." In this case, the discussion nearly went awry when it turned to comparisons between transcos and ISOs.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis
ENERGY SUPPORT SERVICES. An Illinois appeals court affirmed a 1997 decision by the state commission that had denied authority to Commonwealth Edison to offer "energy support services," such as design, engineering, construction, analysis and management of electrical power equipment and energy systems. The court made this decision despite the utility's argument that no evidence existed to support the commission's finding that ComEd enjoyed a monopolist's advantage over competitors.
WE KNOW THEIR BOSSES. APPOINTED BY GOVERnors or elected by the people, commissioners make the decisions that affect the day-in, day-out business of our regulated industries.
But what of commissioners' aides and advisers? The people behind the scenes, who, in some cases, propose decisions for regulators to act on. What wisdom can commission aides share with the industry?
Further, are these posts proving grounds? Can we expect to see aides filling commission seats someday? Elizabeth A. Moler, deputy energy secretary, started as a Senate Energy Committee aide. James J. Hoecker, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, was once a FERC adviser.
Public Utilities Fortnightly spoke with five aides, whose average age is 37.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross, and Beth Lewis
NITROGEN-OXIDE EMISSION LIMITS. Denying an appeal by electric utilities and industry groups against rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for emission limits for nitrogen oxides at certain electric utility boilers, a federal appeals court has ruled that EPA properly interpreted the Clean Air Act. The act allows EPA to set NOx limits for certain electric utility boilers if it could show that more effective technology for low-NOx burners was available, the court said.
Bruce W. Radford
EARLIER IN THIS DECADE, FERC CHAIRMAN MARTIN ALLDAY delivered his famous quote: "Everybody is somebody's native load customer."
Today, that truism has fallen under attack. It could go out the window if power marketers get their wish. One group of marketers has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to open a new rulemaking on electric system reliability. This group proposes to end the notion of transmission responding to load.
Joseph F. Schuler Jr.
WHETHER DOING BUSINESS IN SANTIAGO OR Krakow, Budapest or Bang Kraui, American energy service companies agree: It's tough to find a lender to finance international projects.
ESCO executives working around the globe met to commiserate at the International Roundtable on Energy Efficiency Financing Feb. 26-27 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Arlington, Va. Sponsors of the Roundtable included the National Association of Energy Service Companies and the Export-Import Bank of the United States.