Calendar of Events

Apr 14, 2014 to Apr 16, 2014 | Atlanta, GA
Apr 28, 2014 | New York, NY

Keywords

Public Utilities Reports

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Renewable

Capital Conundrum

The Big Build will test the industry’s access to Wall Street.

Bob Ford, et al.

The era of easily available, affordable energy rapidly is ending and our society is realizing that our energy infrastructure is severely inadequate to supply the energy demands of the future. The major issue facing the sector today is how to fund and deliver this new climate-friendly infrastructure, which is currently estimated will cost almost $2 trillion between now and 2030.

Biofuel Furor

Will power plants get caught in ethanol’s food fight?

Lori A. Burkhart

The debate over food vs. fuel never has been louder. Using corn to make the biofuel ethanol is perhaps the best known point of argument. Everyone is asking: Should the United States require a certain percentage of U.S. corn crops be turned into fuel in the face of global food shortages and exorbitant food prices? And what are the effects of diverting food croplands into producing fuel?

Building the iUtility

Market forces are transforming the IOU business model.

Joseph P. Tomain

As market forces transform the IOU business model, Apple’s iPhone provides a metaphor and possible example for the industry to follow. The iUtility will emerge as companies renegotiate the regulatory compact and reinterpret the traditional rate formula.

Inclining Toward Efficiency

Is electricity price-elastic enough for rate designs to matter?

Ahmad Faruqui

Contrary to conventional wisdom, electricity demand isn’t immune to price elasticity, and rate designs can encourage conservation. In particular, inclining block rates coupled with dynamic pricing can cut electric use by as much as 20 percent.

Securitization, Mach II

Green investments require bulletproof financing.

J. Paul Forrester

Originally developed to compensate U.S. electric utilities for regulatory assets rendered uneconomic by deregulation, so-called “stranded-cost” securitization techniques are finding new applications. To date, utilities have issued approximately $40 billion of stranded-cost securitizations. That number could increase dramatically if the industry applies well-tested securitization techniques to the extraordinary costs it faces in the future.

Revisiting the Keystone State

Rate caps have squelched competition in Pennsylvania.

Terrance J. Fitzpatrick

The prolonged period of capped rates in Pennsylvania—years longer than in any other state—has produced some benefits and some drawbacks. On the plus side, due largely to the rate caps, electricity costs in the Commonwealth have fallen from 15 percent above the national average in 1996 to below the national average in 2007. This has been a significant benefit, but a temporary one that many have taken for granted.

PV vs. Solar Thermal

Distributed solar modules are gaining ground on concentrated solar thermal plants.

Jonathan Lesser and Nicolas Puga

Photovoltaic technologies are beginning to appear more attractive than concentrated solar thermal plants. PV’s competitiveness is improving from technical and operational advancements, as well as significant commitments made by such utilities as Southern California Edison. In the long run, distributed central PV plants likely will gain a strong market position.

People

FirstEnergy Corp. named Dennis L. Dabney its vice-president of human resources. Northeast Utilities announced Johnny D. Magwood as its first chief customer officer. AES appointed Ned Hall its executive vice president and president of its wind generation division. Intrepid Technology and Resources named Jack Haffey as its chief executive officer. And others...

Quixotic Commission?

Michael T. Burr

When Spanish utility giant Iberdrola announced last June that it would acquire Maine-based Energy East for $4.5 billion, it signaled a potential surge in major foreign owners buying into U.S. utility companies. Fortnightly spoke with Pedro Azagra, director of corporate development for Iberdrola S.A. in Bilbao, Spain, to get an update on the acquisition, and his impression of U.S. merger-approval processes.

Windpower's Warning

ERCOT’s February emergency suggests storage capacity is needed to support renewables.

Gary Moland

ERCOT in February averted a blackout that could have become a disastrous defining moment for the windpower industry. This near miss can teach utilities and system operators valuable lessons about integrating variable energy sources into the power grid.

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