Fortnightly Magazine - June 2007

Money Talks, Thermal Plants Walk

Why it pays for utilities to be more efficient.

Working as chairman and chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute, the research institute he cofounded in 1982, Amory Lovins continues to sell his ideas to a more receptive industry, and he doesn’t hesitate to go after counter-arguments with which he disagrees.

Asset Ownership Takes New Shape

The North American electric-power sector remains highly fragmented, with much consolidation potential.

During the last few years, the generating asset-ownership structure in North America has gone through a major change. During one of the most severe bust cycles of the industry, and the gradual recovery of the markets, significant amounts of assets have changed hands.

Where Have All the Mergers Gone?

EPACT and the repeal of PUHCA have not affected the pace of utility acquisitions.

Why do we still have several hundred shareholder-owned electric utilities in the United States, not to mention several thousand municipal and cooperative ones?

Rating the New Risks

How trading hazards affect enterprise risk management at utilities.

Over the past 15 years, trading’s role at utility companies has evolved substantially from ensuring sufficient power and fuel supplies for ratepayers to taking large, open, and speculative positions and maximizing asset value. Along with that evolution come a host of new business and financial risks for utilities.

The New Balance of Power

Do states have any rights in siting LNG terminals?

Natural gas often is called the world’s most perfect fuel. And since it can be transported as liquefied natural gas (LNG), and, as LNG, is projected to meet 20 percent of the country’s natural-gas requirements by 2025, the construction of onshore LNG terminals is crucial for the United States. Siting of LNG terminals is contentious as states and a range of stakeholders challenge and seek to frustrate FERC’s permitting authority.

2007 CEO Forum: Greenhouse Gauntlet

Tackling climate change is a monumental challenge. Power-company CEOs discuss long-range plans for a climate-friendly energy economy.

Seven CEOs—from Exelon, Great Plains Energy, National Grid, NRG Energy, Duke Energy, FPL Group, Great River Energy—explain how global warming is affecting their customers, shareholders, and employees.

Clean Air Rules: A New Roadmap for the Power Sector

How new market-based regulations fit with today’s programs.

What do the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Clean Air Mercury Rule, and the Clean Air Visibility Rule require of the power sector? Authors from the Environmental Protection Agency review implementation progress.

Carbon Costs: The Coming Battle

Where are prices going, and where have they been?

The Supreme Court’s recent decision empowering the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide shifted momentum toward a mandatory program to cap greenhouse-gas emissions. Eventually, there will be huge implications for power generation.

Restructuring Revisited

What we can learn from retail-rate increases in restructured and non-restructured states.

Significant rate increases in many retail-access states have regulators and policy-makers asking whether customer choice and utility restructuring have failed, and what they can do about these rate increases.

Viewpoint: In Defense of Markets

The latest resistance to deregulation is built on a foundation of lies.

A motley assortment of naysayers and recalcitrants continue to oppose competitive electricity markets around the world. But the alternative to markets is centralized command economics—a discredited concept that deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

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