Fortnightly Magazine - September 2005

Coal's Raw Deal

The bias in RTO markets, and how FERC might fix it.

RTO practice creates less risk and uncertainty over the nominal short-term wholesale price of power, but more risk and uncertainty over the long-term cost of transmission. That spells trouble for the coal-fired plant, sited far off at the mine mouth, needing long-haul transmission over a long-enough term to pay back the capital costs.

Restructuring Utility Leadership

How Exelon uses its human resources department as a strategic weapon.

What sort of leadership does today's utility need for the future? How does the culture need to change? Who should be hired from within the industry? Who should be hired from outside the industry? Exelon has sought to answer all of these questions, using human resources as a strategic advantage.

Smart Meters on The March

New federal policies portend a wave of demand-response programs, and perhaps a new era in resource planning.

When President Bush signed the energy bill on August 8, he set in motion a chain of events that might lead to major changes in the way utilities price and meter retail electric services—and ultimately in the way they value and use non-traditional energy resources.

Efficient Frontier: A Brief Overview

The efficient frontier is a portfolio analysis concept designed to assess risk vs. return for an investment portfolio. 

The efficient frontier is a portfolio analysis concept designed to assess risk vs. return for an investment portfolio. While the financial projections of individual assets are key to the analysis, the end result is critical to successful structuring of the portfolio as a whole. Key to the efficient frontier is that it represents the highest level of a portfolio's return for any given level of risk. It can be applied to physical assets, as well as financial instruments—simultaneously. Figure 1 displays a typical efficient frontier chart.

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