RTO Tango

PJM and MISO ran from the altar once before. Now there’s talk of a shotgun wedding.

Utilities in the Midwest ISO want greater access to sell into PJM’s lucrative market. But that might require a virtual merger of the two RTOs — a move rejected seven years ago as too costly, and perhaps still impractical today.

Vendor Neutral

(July 2012) NRC renews Entergy Pilgrim nuclear license. San Francisco selects EnerNOC. Entergy contracts with Comverge. FPL adds Quantum Ford F-150 PHEVs to its fleet. Lincoln Renewable Energy dedicates 12.5-MW NJ Oak solar project.

Vendor Neutral

(May 2012) Entergy Louisiana starts construction on gas-fired power project; Virginia Commonwealth University and Dominion partner on a test site for efficient energy technologies; Burlington Electric Department selects Siemens for meter data management platform; IKEA commissions four Blink electric vehicle charging stations; Edison Mission Energy, TIAA-CREF and Cook Inlet Region Inc. form partnership, and others.

Trusting Capacity Markets

Does the lack of long-term pricing undermine the financing of new power plants?

The PJM Interconnect’s Reliability Pricing Model generally has succeeded in attracting and retaining low-cost generation and demand resources to maintain resource adequacy. But sluggish demand and low prices have weakened the market for long-term capacity contracts. Suppliers aren’t willing to lock in current low prices, and buyers don’t want to pay more for future certainty. Is the market dysfunctional, as some state lawmakers suggest, or does the lack of long-term contracts indicate a rational balance of supply and demand?

Capacity Value Trap

Are merchant power assets overpriced?

By some measures, merchant power assets look like a bargain, selling for well below their replacement cost. But whether low prices signal a buying opportunity or a value trap depends on the outlook for electricity demand growth—not just in the long term, but also in the fairly immediate future.

Transactions (August 2011)

Energy Transfer Equity buys Southern Union; Google and Citi finance Alta Wind Energy Center; Calpine and GE Energy Financial Services secure project financing, plus transactions and bond issues from NiSource, Spectra Energy, FP&L, PSE&G and others, totaling more than $8.5 billion during the month of June.

Vendor Neutral

(August 2011) Shaw Group completes 500 MW combined cycle plant; Pattern Energy begins building Spring Valley wind farm; AEP, Duke and TVA team up on interstate transmission line; AEP and MidAmerican contract for Texas transmission projects; Alliant contracts Open Systems International for volt-VAR control system; Alstom buys into AWS Ocean Energy; Siemens acquires shares in PV manufacturer Semprius; Lockheed Martin introduces cyber security system; plus contracts and announcements involving Elster, Itron, Suzlon, Solon, Sensus, Westinghouse Electric, Morgan Lewis and others.

Transactions (March 2011)

Progress Energy to merge with Duke; ArcLight sells Georgia plants; GE and Mitsubishi UFJ buy into Alta Wind I; plus mergers, acquisitions and securities issues involving CenterPoint, PSEG, Calpine, NRG, Commonwealth Edison and others.

Solar Hype and Hope

Utility-scale projects suffer growing pains.

Anyone who’s been watching the solar power industry for more than a few years can’t help but be impressed by the recent explosion of large-scale projects. It seems akin to the rapid scale-up of wind in the late 1990s and early 2000s—when megawatt-scale turbines became standard-issue, and the definition of a “large” wind farm changed from a capacity of 20 MW to something more like 200 MW.