Fortnightly Magazine - February 2005

Monopolists in Our Midst

What happens when economists and state regulators give up on electric restructuring?

It’s not to be taken lightly when several high-profile economists reverse themselves on electric competition—giving up on policies they had pushed for years. It’s also quite serious when regulators and legislators in pro-competitive states become willing to discuss a repeal of electric restructuring laws. These developments, seen over the fast few months, have set the industry buzzing.

People

New Opportunities: Dynegy Inc. announced that Carolyn M. Campbell has been named group general counsel-corporate finance & securities, and corporate secretary. Campbell joins Dynegy from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

RPS: Should States Get Credit?

The risks in renewable portfolio standards.

State-mandated renewable portfolio standards are being adopted across the country to facilitate the development of renewable energy projects. Nineteen states have enacted renewable portfolio standards, but significant barriers remain to fulfill the potential of RPS. Will RPS actually result in a substantial amount of new project construction?

The Need for Nuclear Now

States will play a significant role in the resurgence of nuclear power plants in America.

At times, various conditions align and set the stage for achieving goals that may have appeared to be unreachable. Last summer, the Boston Red Sox were all but eliminated from contention, but then won an amazing stretch of baseball games that resulted in a World Series championship.

A similar scenario can be applied to the U.S. nuclear industry-producer of a steady, low-cost, environmentally important electricity source poised to thrive with the possibility of new plant construction in the not-so-distant future.

Alaskan Gas Development: One Pipeline, Two Systems

FERC may have to carve out a special set of rules if it wants to bring Arctic gas south to the lower-48.

When President Bush signed the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act of 2004, one might have thought that North Slope gas was on the fast track. With all the special provisions that Congress has added to the bill, the reality may prove otherwise.

The Exelon-PSEG Super Merger: A Nuclear Liability?

Experts debate the risks of a proposed acquisition that would increase the largest nuclear fleet in the country.

Even as many energy and financial experts are touting the so-called “synergies” of the proposed merger between Exelon and PSEG, some are growing concerned over one of the deal’s chief selling points: the high concentration of nuclear power.

Are Distributed Energy Resources Gaining Traction?

A 10-year horizon: 2005 - 2015.

What does the current landscape look like for distributed energy resources? What applications and business models are being pursued by leading companies, and where can we expect to find DER in the next 10 years – in 2015?

Corporate Risk: What Does Management Really Know?

A short list of questions that every board member and senior manager should be able to answer.

“We pursue a disciplined approach to risk management" says the CEO of a major utility during the company's earnings call with analysts and investors. In this era of increased scrutiny over corporate governance, how can senior management and the board be certain that this statement is accurate, and where does the discipline begin?

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A New World Order

Pressure for national legislation builds as the Northeastern U.S. goes it alone and carbon trading takes off in the European Union.

Domestic and international pressures are building rapidly on the United States to enact some form of legislation to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, as a spate of recent developments turns up the heat on the Bush administration. Internal pressure is building on several fronts

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Changing U.S. Climate

The states are getting into the act on greenhouse emissions, and the power industry is getting more proactive. What policy measures are appropriate?

Proponents of mandatory carbon limits – though increasing in number – still constitute a minority within the utility industry. Most utilities prefer voluntary greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions reductions, or take the view that CO2 should not be considered a pollutant at all.