Fortnightly Magazine - October 2008

Creating the New Utility CEO

Increasing risks call for a new generation of leaders.

Can new nuclear power plants get approved? Will wind generators get production tax credits? Will West Coast companies be allowed to re-permit their hydro plants? Will cap-and-trade legislation endanger the coal industry? And who will pay for the transmission of renewable energy? These critical questions still remain unanswered, but utility companies must forge a business strategy through the murk.

Conquering Time

Understanding the value of pumped storage.

Pumped-storage technology allows utilities to defer the time value of energy, but project developers have struggled to make their economics work. Increased demand for ancillary services and standby capacity might make pumped storage more viable.

Smart-Grid Analytics

Intelligent networks support better decision making.

Sophocles once said, “Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.” Apparently Sophocles did not work in the utility industry. Utilities must make quick decisions every day to maintain a safe and reliable grid. As they have learned, the key to a quick and safe decision is making a well-informed decision. Yet utilities face challenges in providing enough information for their employees and automated systems to make these types of decisions.

V