Conquering Time

Understanding the value of pumped storage.

Pumped-storage technology allows utilities to defer the time value of energy, but project developers have struggled to make their economics work. Increased demand for ancillary services and standby capacity might make pumped storage more viable.

Utility 2.0

Web technologies are transforming the utility-customer relationship.

Thanks to the Internet, consumers expect 21st century companies to bring a sophisticated online presence. Utilities that leverage the interactive power of Web 2.0 will strengthen their positions in regulatory and competitive arenas.

The Politics of Carbon

The 2008 elections portend federal regulation of greenhouse gases by 2010.

The outcome of the 2008 elections will determine how the nation deals with greenhouse gas emissions. With the presumptive nominees for president for both parties supporting mandatory GHG regulation, a cap-and-trade system likely will become U.S. law. How soon and how tough depends on the choices voters will make in November.

The High Cost of "Free" Capacity

Fickle behavior by LSEs threatens to destabilize organized markets.

Dodging capacity payments might become an art form among load-serving entities and large electric consumers, as evidenced by Duquesne’s plan to exit PJM, as well as alternative market-designs proposed by large users. But such behaviors might only serve to disrupt organized markets and cause a return to full regulation.

Tilting to Windward

As if carbon control were a fait accompli, gen developers skew the queue toward renewable projects, driving new policy on transmission pricing.

Now at last, in a region other than California, we can see clearly that renewable mandates and fears of carbon taxes have influenced the power-plant development cycle. Moreover, this effect is helping to drive policy proposals for the pricing of transmission service and the recovery of costs for grid upgrades deemed necessary to bring the new plants on line.

Letters to the Editor

A lengthy letter to the editor addresses whether the Energy Information Administration’s gas-market forecasts, as laid out in a recent article, are biased. The authors of the original piece, Timothy J. Considine and Frank A. Clemente, then respond to the letter.

Gas-Market Forecasts: Betting on Bad Numbers

Why predictions from the Energy Information Administration may contain systematic errors.

Natural-gas estimates from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) are supposed to be “policy neutral.” Are they? Over the past decade, EIA forecasts for NG differ substantially from actual outcomes—even though overestimations of supply capabilities could lead to underestimating the costs of carbon regulations.

Demand Response: The Green Effect

How demand response programs contribute to energy efficiency and environmental quality.

Demand response reduces overall energy usage, but the magnitude of the reduction depends on whether the technologies are developed and deployed with efficiency in mind.