Chris O’Brien is no starry-eyed idealist. An engineer with an MBA, he began his career developing fossil-fired power plants for the AES Corp. But in the 1990s his career took a different turn, when he launched the Energy Star program for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. After that, he went into the solar energy business, and never has looked back.
Fortnightly Magazine - May 2009
Before L.E. Modesitt, Jr. wrote best-selling sci-fi and fantasy novels, he worked on Capitol Hill. Specifically he was the director of EPA’s office of legislation and congressional affairs during the Reagan administration. And not surprisingly, Modesitt’s novels focus on the politics of environmental issues. From his early novel, The Green Progression, to his Ecolitan series, Modesitt’s plots frequently involve biological warfare and environmental disasters.
AGL Resources created a new office of technology and environmental sustainability, to be headed by Ira Pearl as v.p. Jay Sutton is promoted to v.p., engineering and supply chain services at AGL’s Florida City Gas and coastal Georgia subsidiaries. Melvin Williams is promoted to general manager, Florida City Gas and coastal Georgia. And others...
Total cost of ownership accounting optimizes long-term costs.
A large regional utility forfeited significant operating revenues after it replaced pulverizers at several of its coal-fired power plants. Because the replacement pulverizers were sized to operate at 100-percent capacity during operations using the coal typically procured by the utility, upgraded plants had to be derated following a change to lower BTU-rated fuel. If utility decision makers had used a total cost of ownership (TCO) framework, they could have avoided this situation.
Allowance structures will influence project economics.
Carbon-reduction policies are being designed and implemented across the country. One common feature of these regulatory programs is a carbon cap-and-trade system—i.e., a carbon emissions market.
Perception trumps reality at Florida ‘solar city.’
Once upon a time, a real estate developer dreamed of building a planned community. The developer, Syd Kitson, envisioned a “city of tomorrow™” in southwestern Florida, designed for efficiency, convenience and harmony with nature. Instead of driving cars everywhere, the 45,000 residents of Kitson’s Babcock Ranch would ride bikes to school, and walk to the cinema. They’d take a tram to visit friends in another hamlet, on the other side of a lush wildlife preserve.
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.
GHG reduction via residential electricity ratemaking.
Energy efficiency holds the key to meeting lofty greenhouse-gas (GHG) reduction goals. Rate design can help—specifically residential inclining block rates should be considered as part of the industry’s efforts to comply with forthcoming GHG targets.
Improving performance through graduated conditional ROE incentives.
Unlike the majority of performance-based regulation plans, alternative design paradigms require less data, by instead allowing firms to reveal performance potential. In an asymmetric environment, regulators don’t have needed information, but that can be overcome with better models and incentives.