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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Subsidy Addiction

Government incentives are smothering free enterprise.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

When Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced legislation in November 2009 aimed at doubling America’s nuclear power capacity within 20 years, he compared the clean-energy challenge to fighting a war. “If we were going to war, we wouldn’t mothball our nuclear navy and start subsidizing sailboats,” he told attendees at the American Nuclear Society’s winter meeting. “If addressing climate change and creating low-cost, reliable energy are national imperatives, we shouldn’t stop building nuclear plants and start subsidizing windmills.”

Integrating New England Renewables

How to manage the green revolution.

Gordon van Welie

Dramatic changes are coming to the electric industry, sparked by a surge of renewable energy and related transmission. Growth in demand-side resources, conservation and smart technologies will add integration dilemmas to an already complex power system.

Active Demand Management

A system approach to managing demand.

Mani Vadari

To fulfill the promise of the smart grid, utilities need to give consumers a greater range of options as well as the education to make sustainable, energy-saving decisions. That includes integrating demand management into the utility back-office.

Green Contracting

Structuring renewable agreements to survive change.

Donna M. Attanasio and Zori G. Ferkin

The potential for a federal renewable energy standard (RES) and carbon regulation, considered with the effect of state-imposed renewable energy standards, is fueling a strong, but challenging, market for renewable energy. Utilities are competing to sign up the best new projects, the types of renewable technologies available are increasing, and there are various government stimulus programs for energy; yet, the financial markets still are hesitant. Against this backdrop, how should contracts for power from new renewable resources be shaped so that those deals will look as good five, 10 and 15 years after execution as on the day the ink dries?

Capturing Ocean Heat

Ocean thermal energy conversion offers a timely renewable alternative.

C.E. (Gene) Carpenter, Jr., et al.

23 million square miles of tropical oceans daily absorb solar radiation equal in heat content to about 250 billion barrels of oil. Ocean thermal energy conversion technologies convert this solar radiation into electrical power by exploiting the thermal gradient temperature differences between the surface and the depths. This enormous resource merits a closer look as policy makers consider alternative technologies for serving future energy demands.

Stakeholder Collaboration

Consensus building is an imperative and educational art form.

Mark Gabriel

With public opposition rising against almost any kind of utility project or investment, collaboration among stakeholders with widely divergent points of view never has been more critical. Three recent utility cases demonstrate how a formal stakeholder collaboration process can build support for otherwise contentious decisions.

Packaging Demand

Integrated demand offerings could be the next generation of energy management.

Thomas Brunetto

The market for demand-side products and services appears poised to explode. What began as separate energy efficiency, demand response and distributed energy program offerings are now coming together in integrated demand offerings. A recent poll of 400 industry professionals suggests such packaged offerings might open new opportunities for service providers while also enhancing the customer experience.

Betting on Shale

Will unconventional gas assure plentiful supplies?

Lee Van Atta

At the moment, the United States is experiencing a glut of natural gas with record underground gas storage inventories and prices around $4/MMBtu, which serves to underscore the new thinking about U.S. natural gas supply—i.e., future gas supplies might be less constrained than earlier studies suggested they would. Given the speed with which the expectations for U.S. natural gas have changed, it’s reasonable to ask how solid is this new thinking about U.S. natural gas supply and what should the role of natural gas be in meeting our long-term energy needs in a carbon-constrained economy?

The Smart-Enough Grid

How much efficiency do ratepayers need—and utilities want?

Bruce W. Radford

When the applause dies down, the smart grid may turn out to be its own worst enemy. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) explained this irony in comments it filed in May, after the FERC asked the industry for policy ideas on the smart grid.

When the Dog Shivers

Modeling variables improves daily estimates of gas demand.

Fred J. Connell

At what daily temperature do customers turn on their furnaces? Or more realistically, given individual behavior, over what range of temperatures do they turn on their furnaces? To estimate the current base for its customers, Columbia Gas of Ohio used daily demand and temperature data for the three-year period from April 2005 through March 2008.

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