A holistic, new approach to cost/benefit analysis.
The still-fresh memories of last year's Northeast blackout coupled with rising congestion nationwide have increased awareness of the electric transmission investment shortfall in the United States. Such investment, in the right locations, would have a highly positive benefit-cost ratio. But how much should be spent?
The Future of Fuel Diversity
The fragmented electric industry structure poses an obstacle to a more stable, diverse, and secure power supply.
Daily news headlines have drawn attention to concerns about fuels, especially the rising prices of oil and natural gas. Fears of interruptions of oil exports from Iraq, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela (take your pick) roil the energy market. But coal is not exempt from bad news, as production declines reduce output from Eastern U.S.
Complex billing is one way to minimize the size and frequency of blackouts.
The search continues for the smoking gun responsible for the Northeast blackout last August. Absent a clearly defined single cause, analysts turn to the usual suspects: Is the grid large enough? Does it require additional investment? Given that the grid was never designed to handle a competitive industry, is it reasonable to require that it now do so?
Two Cato analysts suggest a return to the past-vertical integration, but now with no state regulators.
The defeat of the energy bill in the Senate last year has thrown electricity restructuring back on its heels. There clearly is no consensus among politicians or academics regarding how this industry ought to be organized or how it might best be regulated. Finding our way out of this morass requires a reconsideration of how we got to this dismal point in our regulatory journey.
A decade of restructuring has not affected the financial integrity of the average regulated utility.
Ideological bias, economic principles, success of previous deregulation, inordinate greed, and political expediency fueled the movement for electricity deregulation. The authorities, however, never deregulated. They chose to restructure.
A review of which technologies and companies stand to win and lose as a result of the 2003 blackout.
Mishap, human error, and malice regularly crash the electric system. We have lurched from the Western economic power crisis of 1999-2000 to the Eastern reliability power crisis of 2003. Neither more studies nor more blackouts have changed what's been built-an excessive quantity of large generation plants dependent on relatively few major transmission lines. On its current course, the grid's inevitable destination is disaster.
Field Service Computers: Consider the Variables-and the Benefits
Communications platforms, ruggedness, software, and other factors all play a part in your purchase choice.
When a utility considers equipping its field service work force with computers, the decision-making process often starts with software-not with questions about the ruggedness of the utility's field device, or whether the company should go with a Panasonic or an Itronix laptop.
Investigating where environmental efficiency and good public policy intersect.
More than a decade after adopting the first national cap-and-trade approach to regulating pollution from electricity generators, Congress is considering another round of cap-and-trade regulations on a number of gases emitted by electricity generators.