Podcasts

Leadership Lyceum

Leadership Lyceum: A CEO’s Virtual Mentor

This podcast series focuses on corporate and industry strategy and trends from the direct vantage point of key industry leaders. Subscribe to the podcast at Apple iTunes. Interviews with Tom Fanning and Bob Flexon are available, as well as one with Joe Rigby, Bob Skaggs and Les Silverman.

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Calendar of Events

Apr 09, 2017 to Apr 12, 2017
| Phoenix, AZ
May 02, 2017 to May 05, 2017
| Orlando, FL
May 21, 2017 to May 23, 2017
| Orlando, FL

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Public Utilities Reports

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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Regulatory Roundup

Bruce Radford

2004 FERC roundup: Path 15 Upgrade; Gas Bypass Pipeline; Power Line Communications; Gen Station Power Needs; ISO Retail Service; Renewable Energy Portfolios; Gas Supply Risk; Fuel Cost Hedging; Utility Supply Solicitations; Provider of Last Resort; Coal Seam Gas; Deceptive Marketing Practices; Renewable Portfolio Standards.

Kentucky Declines Jurisdiction over AEP Transco

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) ruled that it lacks jurisdiction to approve a merchant transmission company’s plan for providing wholesale electric transmission service in Kentucky. The commission found that the new company, AEP Kentucky Transmission Company, Inc. (KY Transco), did not fit the definition of a utility under the state utility code even though the company had averred that its transmission service would be subject to both PSC and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jurisdiction.

Energy Storage Solutions

Barriers and breakthroughs to a smarter grid.

Bradford P. Roberts

Technology is quickly making energy storage more economical and effective than ever before. But companies that wish to invest in storage capacity face a journey through a frustrating regulatory no-man’s land. Opening the gateway for storage to deliver smart grid benefits will require a more streamlined and coherent approach to regulating storage as utility infrastructure.

What Happened at Beacon

Election politics almost killed a great idea.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Beacon Power filed bankruptcy last fall, amid a political firestorm sparked by Solyndra’s demise. But should the company have received a bailout, so it could continue operating until FERC’s new pay-for-performance rules take effect?

Technology Wins

Economics, not politicians, will determine what tools are best.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Today’s utility business model depends chiefly on big power plants and long transmission lines—and federal and state policies reinforce that model. But as photovoltaics technology advances and systems get ever cheaper, distributed generation eventually might become the more competitive option. At that point, upstart companies might be better positioned than utilities to capture a share of this growing market, because they won’t be constrained by Edison-era economics.

Baghouse Bottleneck

EPA, mercury and electric reliability.

Bruce W. Radford

The energy industry has known for decades that federal regulators eventually would set rules under the Clean Air Act to govern emissions of mercury and other air toxics from coal-fired power plants. However, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now having issued a final mercury rule, along with guidelines for possible extensions of the compliance deadline, utilities and power plant owners finally have a clear idea what they are up against. And the outlook isn't pretty. The challenge is to retrofit many hundreds of generating plants across the country--and all on the same three-year compliance schedule. Yet two wildcards remain in play: what deference the EPA will give to electric reliability needs, as it "consults" with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Council; and how effective FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff will be as Republican leadership in Congress works to derail the new rules.

Partners in Power

Complex problems call for collective measures.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Among all of the investment priorities in the U.S. electric power industry, one stands out as having the greatest momentum: transmission. This is interesting because transmission is perhaps the most difficult type of power infrastructure to develop, and has been for decades. Editor Michael T. Burr talks with executives at Xcel Energy and Great River Energy to learn how the CAPX2020 consortium has managed to succeed where others failed.

A Year of Fear

Resuming progress after 2011’s uncertainty.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

From the Fukushima disaster and its repercussions, to the raging battle over new EPA regulations, 2011 was one of the most volatile years on record for the electric power business. Will 2012 be better or worse than 2011? Cost factors make this a great time to invest, but overhanging uncertainties might bring another year of fear.

FERC's Full Plate

A look at issues facing the commission for the coming year.

Bruce W. Radford

Price-Responsive demand, EPA regulations, and merger policy will be on the agenda for the coming year as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission works its way through the list of key cases that were pending at FERC as of January 2011.

Frequency Regulation

In a recent order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said that by paying the wrong price for the ancillary service known as frequency “regulation,” system operators have encouraged too many gas-fired turbines and other conventional fossil power plants to supply regulation service.

Putting market economics ahead of reliability, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has told regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and other grid system operators (ISOs) to rethink the prices they pay for the ancillary service known as frequency “regulation.”

In short, FERC wants all power plants to do what they do best — recognizing that some may be well adapted to providing regulation service, but others perhaps not.

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