Chelsea Sexton is one of the country’s leading plug-in vehicle advocates. She led protests against GM’s decision to scrap thousands of EV-1s, and appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Who Killed the Electric Car? She formed advocacy group Plug-In America, and led the creation of the Automotive X PRIZE in 2005. Fortnightly caught up with Sexton in June to discuss the electric vehicle market, and utilities’ role in developing it.
Fortnightly Magazine - July 2008
Northeast Utilities appointed Leon J. Olivier as executive vice president-chief operating officer. Calpine named Todd W. Filsinger interim chief operating officer. PJM Interconnection promoted Andrew Ott to senior vice president-markets. And others...
Regarding "Transmission Rights Row:" While technological advances and the development of fiber optic communications was not foreseen by utilities companies when they executed easement agreements for transmission rights of way, the tremendous escalation of land values, especially near some metropolitan areas, may not have been foreseen by the easement grantors.
Distributed solar modules are gaining ground on concentrated solar thermal plants.
Photovoltaic technologies are beginning to appear more attractive than concentrated solar thermal plants. PV’s competitiveness is improving from technical and operational advancements, as well as significant commitments made by such utilities as Southern California Edison. In the long run, distributed central PV plants likely will gain a strong market position.
Eye-popping nuclear costs portend rising leverage.
(July 2008) When Progress Energy announced in March 2008 that the expected cost had tripled for its proposed two-unit, 2,200-MW nuclear plant in Levy County, Fla., the company called on the state’s highest-ranking proponent of nuclear energy to blunt negative reaction to the news.
Allowance trading needs oversight, but don’t overdo it.
As Congress mulls omnibus climate-change legislation, questions are arising about the potential for greenhouse gas emissions markets to be manipulated. Current legislation attempts to address the problem, but only a streamlined oversight regime can hope to prevent emissions-trading abuses.
Rate caps have squelched competition in Pennsylvania.
The prolonged period of capped rates in Pennsylvania—years longer than in any other state—has produced some benefits and some drawbacks. On the plus side, due largely to the rate caps, electricity costs in the Commonwealth have fallen from 15 percent above the national average in 1996 to below the national average in 2007. This has been a significant benefit, but a temporary one that many have taken for granted.
New approaches to contracting in a post-turnkey world.
Sponsors of new nuclear power projects face a gauntlet of development challenges, from fickle regulatory policies to supply chain uncertainties. By preemptively addressing risks and taking a systematic, hands-on approach to development, companies can improve chances for a nuclear renaissance in America.
How to ease the coming upheaval in the nuclear power industry.
The U.S. nuclear power industry faces a yawning talent gap. Half of the industry’s employees are over 47 years old, and more than a quarter of nuclear workers already are eligible to stop working. Meanwhile, as the baby boomers retire, there will be far fewer available replacements with nuclear knowledge.