Fortnightly Magazine - February 2007

Watch the Cycle

Can the upward swing in global power infrastructure investment be sustained?

The current recovery in global power-sector investment is being driven not only by rising demand for power, but also by the huge levels of liquidity in global financial markets. How long will the current up-cycle last?

Global Regulation: Exporting 'America' to the World

Why U.S. public utility commission-style ratemaking has becomes a hit overseas.

What are some approaches to regulation adopted in recent decades by national governments, and the implications for management making international investment decisions?

Garbage In, Power Out: How Trash Can Power Ethanol Plants

A win-win situation for the local government, utilities, and industry.

Ethanol plants either are operating, under construction, or planned for several areas in the Midwest. These same areas also have municipal solid waste (MSW) produced daily in an existing landfill. In addition, these areas have a need for establishing or extending a landfill.

As an alternative to the existing concept of a landfill, plasma-arc technology has been applied to the treatment of MSW. Known as plasma-arc gasification for the treatment of MSW, this recent development would eliminate or minimize the need for a landfill.

Letters to the Editor

John D. Chandley, Principal, LECG LLC: Bruce Radford’s “An Inconvenient Fact” provides a helpful critique of a fundamental element of open-access transmission reform, one of the most important rulemaking cases affecting electricity regulation at FERC.

Cynthia Bogorad, Spiegel & McDiarmid, Washington: From my perspective representing transmission-dependent utilities, I am very sympathetic to the underlying concerns that appear to be driving the TDAs’ proposal. However, the TDAs’ proposal is not the answer.

Assessing the Turmoil in New Zealand’s Electric Industry

 

BOOK REVIEW: Alternating Currents or Counter-Revolution: Contemporary Electricity Reform in New Zealand, by Lewis T. Evans and Richard B. Meade (Victoria University Press).

The news coming from across the Pacific Ocean over the past year seemed familiar, if at times puzzling. New Zealand’s energy minister, caught in a political faux-pas, hastily resigns—only to be reinstated a few weeks later. Concerns about inadequate power supplies and below-average hydroelectric storage are downplayed by government regulators. Then, a harsh winter wind storm triggers a transmission failure that blacks out the major city of Auckland. What to make of all this turmoil in New Zealand’s energy industry?

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