Calpine buys 5 GW of generating capacity from Pepco Holdings for $1.65 billion; Xcel buys two Calpine plants in Denver for $739 million; Asset acquisitions announced in April by Constellation, Kaukauna Utilities and others totaling $3 billion.
Fortnightly Magazine - June 2010
Smart charging is just the start of the electric vehicle revolution.
Electric vehicles (EV) now rolling off automakers’ production lines are expensive and limited in range, but they mark a technological tipping point. By tapping into the smart grid, EVs promise to free transportation fuel from the physical medium—raising its practical value while simultaneously diminishing its cost.
An alternative approach to climate regulation.
Low carbon prices might not produce sufficient incentives for firms to innovate and reduce emissions in the long run. But relatively high carbon prices can be politically unacceptable and invite consumer backlash. Where’s the right balance? A PUC chairman offers an alternative approach to managing GHG emissions.
Reducing leakage to improve the bottom line.
Utility companies are actively engaged in a range of activities with the goals of reducing the effects of weak demand, a higher uncertainty in energy costs, increased capital costs, and stagnant rate cases. Among these efforts, a rigorous revenue assurance capability likely will produce the greatest immediate and long-term return, as it can produce 1 to 2 points of revenue recovery through a single, unified investment.
Industry giants start the EV revolution.
Reports of the electric car’s death are greatly exaggerated. Technology, economics and politics are driving a new start for electric vehicles; already dozens of EV models are heading for U.S. showrooms. Electricity won’t replace gasoline overnight, but utilities are planning today for tomorrow’s transportation load.
Can the grid handle the coming electric vehicle load?
As electric vehicles become commonplace, will the grid be able to handle the extra load? Too many cars plugging in at once might cause disruptions and necessitate costly infrastructure upgrades. Handling the vehicle load in a smart way, however, will ensure a smooth transition to the plug-in future.
Leaders adapt to strategic shifts in the utility landscape.
The industry is getting more complex every day. Senior executives at Southern Company, PPL, TXU Energy, Direct Energy and PJM discuss business trends, resource strategies, electric vehicles and customer engagement in the smart-grid era.
Shaping long-term smart-grid strategy.
Making the business case for the smart grid is an important utility goal. It provides the justification for making or deferring required investments. Utilities might find it necessary to engage in a cycle of continuous strategic planning.