ISO/RTO Markets: Building a Common IT Platform

Independent system operators and regional transmission organizations recognize the value in having a common IT architecture.

In today’s modern business environment, standards for products and services have become common—and expected—practice. The time is right for creating a common language among the critical software tools needed to deliver a reliable, competitively priced supply of electricity through today’s integrated power grids and wholesale market structures.

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.

CIOs Under Pressure

IT officers are getting more efficient, but guess what keeps them up at night?

Ever-present security concerns are keeping utility chief information officers up at night. With their IT budgets under constraints in a back-to-basics era, four CIOs speak out about their concerns over funding, staffing, and the future.

Reliability Monitoring: The High-Tech Eye In the Sky

How reliability performance monitoring and standards compliance will be achieved in real time.

The North American electric power grid has suffered several significant outages in recent years. These events and other incidents around the world spotlight the need for enforceable grid-reliability standards, wide-area visibility of the health of the power system, and real-time monitoring of grid-reliability performance to prevent blackouts. Effective reliability management requires real-time tools and technologies that can detect standards violations so that timely corrective or preventive actions can be taken.

The CIO Forum: The Changing Face of Energy I.T.

Budgets are expected to increase, even as new IT challenges present themselves.

In our annual technology forum, we talk with tech/information specialists at four companies: Patricia Lawicki at PG&E; Ken Fell at the New York ISO; Mark C. Williamson at American Transmission Co.; and John Seral at GE Energy.

Deadline Looms for New Cyber-Security Standard

NERC's proposal has the industry scrambling.

As the balloting process for new cyber-security standards from the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) drew to a close, the industry group was gearing up for the difficult tasks ahead: ensuring rapid implementation of the new standards among NERC's members.

Spot-Market Clearing

Solving the electricity credit malaise.

A monthly billing cycle results in exposures of up to 60 days’ settlement. Participant default is likely, and the potential loss from such an event is significant. Spot-market clearing can solve these problems.

A Better Measure for Profitability

A new way to measure what matters most: how close a unit comes to meeting its total potential profit.

Approximately 65 percent of capacity additions in the last few years have been gas-fired, combined-cycle units. Recent market conditions have been hard on these new resources, which have suffered from significantly low capacity factors. A better metric would measure a unit's ability to capture peak prices while minimizing shoulder period and off-peak losses. Furthermore, it would measure the extent to which a unit dispatches according to favorable market conditions.

The Devil in the Transmission Data

Untapped T&D measurement data could make the difference on reliability.

Untapped T&D measurement data could make the difference on reliability.

Utility executives rely on sound decision making to determine how resources should be allocated, to ensure that systems operate with a maximum efficiency and reliability at the lowest cost. These executives walk the fine line of deciding where money should be spent to minimize the likelihood of an expensive catastrophe while also achieving a targeted level of reliability. These issues include: