Calendar of Events

Sep 29, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Michigan State University, Lansing MI
Oct 01, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Washington, DC

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Public Utilities Reports

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Solar

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

FERC

GAS PIPELINES. Noting a move toward shorter-term contracts since Order 636, the FERC on July 29 issued an "integrated package" of reform proposals for the natural gas pipeline industry: (1) specific measures in a notice of proposed rulemaking on short-term transportation (transactions shorter than one year); plus (2) an open-ended request for comments in a broader notice of inquiry. RM98-10-000, 84 FERC ¶61,985 [NOPR]; RM98- 12-000, 84FERC ¶61,087 NOI].

Renewable Energy: Toward A Portfolio Standard?

Lisa Prevost

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.

Inventing a Business in Wires & Pipes

Joseph F. Schuler Jr.

IF COMPETITIVE ELECTRIC MARKETS PROMISE LEAN MARGINS and slim savings on commodity sales, then perhaps transmission and distribution companies could play a larger role in selling end-user services.

Yet low-risk T&D companies, building on their reputations as reliable providers, may need to grow to acquire the "critical mass" needed to make money selling services over delivery systems.

One of the few, if not only, businesses publicly betting on this strategy is the $4.1-billion GPU Inc. of Morristown, N.J. - and GPU means business.

Let's Schmooze Scott Sklar, Sunny Side Up

Joseph F. Schuler Jr. Photography by Rick Reinhard

SCOTT SKLAR, WHO SHOWERS WITH SOLAR-HEATED water, who drinks his skim milk from his solar-powered refrigerator, who commutes via solar-powered car, who tells time by a solar-powered watch, who wears a sun-faced ring and sun-spotted tie, sweeps into a French restaurant on North Capitol Street in Washington, D.C.

Sklar, who has lived the Solar Energy Industries Association for more than a decade, is bald up top, but his hair sprouts out around that spot in grey-brown brillo. Glasses hug his eyes. His beard threatens to strangle him and his mustache pitches in.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

WHEN UTILITIES SAY THEY WILL "EXIT" THE generation business (em their stock in trade for the last 50 years (em what does that mean exactly? And what of those that plan to "concentrate" on transmission and distribution? Can you visualize a T&D utility? What would it look like? How many employees? How big a dividend? It's time to ponder these questions.

New York Solar Homes Get Tax Break

Lori A. Burkhart

New Yorkers could get tax breaks of up to $3,750 for installing solar systems, beginning next year.

New York Gov. George F. Pataki signed into law on Aug. 19 the "Solar Choice Act," aimed at encouraging solar energy system investments through income tax credits. The Act also would allow residential customers to receive the full retail value of the electric generated by their systems.

People

The board of the California ISO selected Jeffrey D. Tranen as its first CEO. Tranen is former president of the New England Power Co., senior v.p. of the New England Electric System and chair of NEPOOL. The ISO starts operation Jan. 1, 1998.

Charles F. Gay, Ph.D., former director of the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, was hired as president and CEO of ASE Americas Inc. Klaus Albrecht, former president and CEO, will serve on ASE's board and as senior v.p.-business development.

Joules

Stone & Webster will lead a consortia building a $109 million geothermal power plant for Amoseas Indonesia, Inc. The project calls for a second and third unit at the Darajat geothermal station, which taps into geothermal fields in the Garut Regency of West Java, Indonesia. Each unit has a capacity of 70 MW. The entire project was set to be finished by early 2000. Stone & Webster's portion of the contract is worth about $40 million.

Westinghouse Electric Corp. contracted to supply a barge-mounted power plant for the Port of Mombassa Power Barge Project in Malaysia.

Off Peak

Arizona would wager on electric competition, hedge its bet with a solar portfolio.Looking for a new way to promote renewable energy?

Mailbag

Green Pricing Premium: Less than it Seems

I disagree with the idea that green-pricing programs with the lowest premiums prove the most popular with residential utility customers, as suggested by the article, "Green Pricing: The Bigger Picture" (Byrnes et al., August 1996, p. 18). And, to the extent that that notion comes from information presented about the SolarCurrents program at Detroit Edison (DE), which I manage, I offer some points in rebuttal.

First, the number of participants may prove misleading.

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