A Year After the Blackout:
Grid reliability is still at risk unless the industry quickly takes action.
Seams, holes, and historic precedent challenge the Midwest ISO's evolution.
In a single sentence, Bill Smith of the Organization of MISO States (OMS) summarizes prevailing concerns about the new-and-improved Midwest ISO: "When it starts, it has to work."
Grid reliability is one giant step in mainstreaming the technology.
Wind power is coming of age in the United States. During the past five years, installations have grown by an average 28 percent yearly. Gleaming, high-tech wind turbines now are interconnected to the bulk power grid in some 30 states.
How will the industry change in the future?
The utility industry of the future can be best characterized by three words: scale, synergies, and automation. Company leaders and the broader workforce will be touched by these three forces for change. We can already see glimpses of the future around us today. In response to the sweep of deregulation, many power companies no longer generate power. They have divested themselves of their generating plants, ceding that ground to independent producers to concentrate on distribution.
A face-to-face interview with FERC Chairman Pat Wood III.
Bold. Fearless. Relentless. These are the words now being used by both critics and supporters to describe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Pat Wood III.
FERC's recent policy initiatives and directives mark a strong shift from what was last year regarded as a more reluctant commission.
Is FERC the rightful heir?
The possibility that energy legislation drafted last year won't pass in 2004 has created a power vacuum. Who now is czar of electric utility reliability? Language in the proposed bill would have answered that question. But when Congress demurred, did that imply an endorsement of the ?
A cost-benefit study shows the value of adding synchronized generating reserves to prevent blackouts on the scale of Aug.14.
If nothing else, the blackout of Aug. 14 showed just how physically vulnerable the electric transmission network has become to problems that begin at a very localized level. That vulnerability stems in part of the greater volume of long-distance transactions imposed on the grid by today's power industry.
A number of factors point to expanded nuclear generation. But when?
The role that nuclear power will play in the U.S. electricity generation mix during the coming decades has been a subject of continuing speculation. Few analysts deny the remarkably improved prospects for the existing fleet of reactors: Efficiencies realized by industry consolidation, reactor uprates, and plant license renewals have, in a period of about five years, greatly increased the market value of nuclear plants and the competitive advantage of companies that own them.
Reliability demands will drive automation investments.
In the days and weeks following Aug. 14, 2003, politicians scrambled to assess blame for the blackouts that plagued the United States and Canada.
Even today, as the blame game proceeds, the precise cause of the grid's collapse remains uncertain. But Republicans, Democrats, and the utility industry alike seem to agree on one thing: the U.S. power grid needs major investment.
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.