Renewables attract utility investment dollars.
New federal policies have opened the gates to utility investments in renewable generating plants. Some states, however, still make it difficult for utilities to put such assets into the rate base. Executives at Duke, OG&E, PG&E and Xcel Energy discuss challenges and opportunities affecting their renewable investment strategies.
New business models make energy storage attractive.
Utilities are leaving no stone unturned in their search for ways to save electricity. Federal incentives will support new technologies and projects, but can those incentives overcome structural barriers that stand in the way of major efficiency improvements? editors explore challenges and opportunities arising from the new efficiency mandate.
Engaging customers will require more than TOU pricing.
Imagine a setback thermostat programmed at the factory that the consumer couldn’t modify. Who would want this device? You could give the customer a big enough discount to get her to accept the device, but she would be happier and you could save about as much energy if the customer could decide on the temperature and time settings.
Subsidies might not be the best solution for interconnecting renewables.
Supporters of renewable energy are seeking to socialize the cost of a new interstate highway system for transporting green power. But utilities and transmission owners will build or finance new transmission systems to serve economic demands. Policy makers shouldn’t pre-ordain the direction of industry progress.
Building reactors requires new federal commitment.
Glenn S.K. Williams et al.
Several key barriers prevent the construction of a new U.S. nuclear power fleet. These barriers must be overcome to prevent a power-shortfall emergency.
Risk avoidance drives utility stock performance.
Jeffrey W. Miller, Michael Rutkowski et al.
Utility stocks historically have been a safe haven, a stable, long-term investment for widows and orphans. However, with banks collapsing and the economy falling into a recession, utility stocks as a whole recently have performed poorly, with our portfolio of 75 companies losing $200 billion in market value in 2008.
Effective metrics give solar its due credit.
Photovoltaic (PV) power generation is an intermittent, non-dispatchable resource generally considered as energy-only with no capacity credit. However, there is ample evidence that solar energy reliably is available at peak demand time when loads are driven by day-time commercial air conditioning, and can contribute effectively to increasing the capacity available on a regional grid.
How a move to bring power markets to the Great Plains has uncovered a crisis in grid planning.
They call the United States the “Saudi Arabia of Wind.” That’s due in large part to the huge potential of the Great Plains. But there’s a hole in the metaphor. Wind power development in some parts of the prairie is falling short of expectations.
Unconventional sources brighten the U.S. supply outlook.
The future of natural gas supplies in the United States looks promising due to rising projections of recoverable resources, including unconventional production. A strong supply outlook bodes well for using natural gas as a low-emission transportation fuel.
Unconventional gas sources put a ceiling on future prices.
James C. Hendrickson and Dan Gabaldon
Unconventional gas and LNG are changing the outlook for future gas prices.