Experts predict the top issues that utilities will have to weather this year, and beyond.
Richard Stavros & Michael T. Burr
A soup-to-nuts preview of the next 12 months that touches on spinoffs and interest rates, climate change and New Source Review, the future of nuclear, investor returns, and natural-gas price volatility.
An analysis of current valuation trends explains why some assets command better values than most.
Devrim Albuz and Gary L. Hunt
Average North America power-plant asset value is at $725/kW.1 Compared with our winter 2005-2006 analysis, this figure has barely changed; however, we have seen significant value movements based on region, fuel, and asset types.
The new transmission siting and permitting policies could be just as messy and unruly as the old ones.
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
The idea behind the NIETC is a noble one: to help facilitate the construction of badly needed transmission capacity to relieve congestion problems and improve reliability. In fact, the promotion of new infrastructure investment is at the heart of EPACT. But there’s just one problem. The new process for permitting and siting electric transmission under EPACT appears to be as flawed and contentious as it was pre-EPACT.
Infrastructure investment has been on a starvation diet. Here’s how to feed the need.
In October, the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) issued its first long-term reliability assessment report in its new role as the nation’s federally mandated reliability organization. The report found that under current trends the U.S. electric power system may not be able to meet customer demand in much of the country 10 years from now.
The industry must join a growing chorus in calling for new technology.
Steven Letendre, Ph.D., Paul Denholm, Ph.D., and Peter Lilienthal, Ph.D.
A growing movement to bring plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars to market has emerged, bolstered by the undeniable economic and national-security benefits that result from displacing gasoline with electricity. Also, our editor-at-large talks with Tesla Motors CEO Martin Eberhart.
Progress has been made, but much work remains along the path to ERO completion.
FERC demonstrated strong leadership in meeting the aggressive timeline set by Congress for establishing the regulatory basis on which the Electric Reliability Organization will be created. But next summer’s peak-demand season is fast approaching. And much more work remains ahead for the industry to finish the job.
Mixed signals leave developers wary of building new infrastructure.
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher gives mixed signals that leave developers wary of committing to investments in new infrastructure, given his clear desire to affect positive change, while appearing to argue for policy decisions that are politically safe but arguably inconsistent.
Why the next wave of transformation is already upon us.
The electricity system in the United States received renewed attention after the August 2003 blackout that affected more than 50 million customers across the Northeast United States and caused billions of dollars of damage to the U.S. economy. This blackout became a call to action as the event exposed the United States’ dependency on a vulnerable infrastructure. The intelligent network is one of the results of that call to action.
Critics say its new budget and business plan could simply duplicate the work of RTOs.
FERC granted formal certification to NERC as the nation’s sole ERO and reliability czar, making it inevitable that NERC would delegate the job of regional enforcement to its various regional reliability councils, already constituted. To understand why FERC acted as it did, turn back the clock nearly a decade.
How to maintain continuous power supply while measuring for weak spots.
Peter van der Wielen and Barry Ward
Failures in medium-voltage power cables and their components cause a large proportion of annual power service interruptions, especially in high-density urban areas. Locating and repairing weak areas in cables at an early stage can improve the reliability of the energy supply considerably. Partial discharge testing is a proven condition assessment/test methodology.