Fortnightly Magazine - July 2013

Reverse Robin Hood

Declaring war on non-utility PV.

Recently I’ve been hearing some utility executives use a new catchphrase: “reverse Robin Hood.” The phrase is shorthand for policies on net metering and green incentives that support rooftop photovoltaics (PV) at the expense of low-income customers. We’re “robbing the poor” to pay for rich people’s fancy solar systems.

People (July 2013)

Lynn Good succeeds Jim Rogers as Duke CEO; Jon Wellinghoff retires from FERC; plus executive appointments and changes at Exelon, Xcel, Southern Company, and others.

How Do You Get To Green?

And what’s the goal: a share of load or a cut in carbon?

It’s time to rethink RPS laws. Instead of production quotas for renewable energy, why not reward reductions in carbon emissions and fossil-fuel use?

Western Showdown

Renewable portfolio standards bring volatility to Mid-Columbia markets.

Recent price volatility provides a sample of what’s to come, as Western states bring more wind and solar into a hydro-dependent market.

Transactions (July 2013)

Centerpoint, OGE, and ArcLight form $11-billion gas pipeline partnership; MidAmerican to acquire NV Energy; SolarCity raises $500 billion for solar lease financing; plus transactions and debt issues involving TransCanada, Atlantic Power, Duke-American Transmission Co., Northeast Utilities, and others, totaling $24 billion.

Benchmarking Your Rate Case

Show the PUC how your filing stacks up against the others.

With regulators reluctant to OK rate hikes, utilities can better justify an increase – if it compares well with the utility’s peer group.

Valuing Energy Efficiency

The search for a better yardstick.

Policy analysts are right to demand a reform of the total resource cost test. The evidence that it understates the benefits of energy efficiency, the main claim against it, is convincing.

The Growing Footprint of Climate Change

Can systems built today cope with tomorrow’s weather extremes?

Climate change – heat waves, water shortages, and reduced flexibility – poses huge risks for electric utility infrastructure.

Threat From Behind the Meter

The case for utilities to compete directly with distributed resources.

Behind-the-meter energy threatens the utility business model. Does history offer a lesson for crafting a response?

Cycle of Innovation

IEEE revisits interconnection standards for DG, microgrids, and smart grid.

IEEE considers new standards for grid interconnection of distributed generation, even as market innovation alters the playing field.