Generators struggle to plan for the future as they cope with an unstable present.
When the acting administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Marianne Horinko, signed the EPA's "routine replacement" rule on Aug. 27, 2003, she proclaimed that the new approach to Clean Air Act regulation would "provide … power plants with the regulatory certainty they need."
How far do states rights go in transmission planning?
The energy industry, coming off a remarkably difficult few years, had to deal with the huge Aug. 14 blackout, the ramifications of which have now reached regulatory policy. By putting transmission planning and reliability in the spotlight, the blackout could boost merchant transmission owners, as regulators and politicians scramble to make sure such an event does not happen again.
The grid does not need a Marshall Plan for new investment.
We don't know what caused the Aug. 14 blackout, but somehow we know that our transmission system needs $50 billion to $100 billion in investment and upgrades. And utilities need higher returns to raise that kind of money. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons.
The reality is that we aren't short $50 billion or $100 billion in our transmission system. The study said to support that proposition just doesn't do the job.
FERC should consider a two-part tariff to boost transmission investment.
Transmission, rather than generation, is generally the constraint preventing customers from getting the power they desire.
The blackout could doom deregulation, but why treat reliability and reform as either-or?
Driving west near Cleveland on the Ohio Turnpike back in August, a few days after the big blackout, I saw what looked like a small helicopter hovering up ahead, about 25 feet from the top of a transmission tower.
Was this a prank? Had terrorists struck? Or was it the local TV news station, just trying to get a closer look?
Utilities that are short on capacity and operate in a stable regulatory environment may be able to extract value from interruptible rates.
We ask merchant grid developers if anything can ever be done.
The blackout of August 2003 should have come as no surprise. The Department of Energy's May 2002 National Transmission Grid Study finds growing evidence that the U.S. transmission system is in urgent need of modernization.
Two years after 9/11, the industry remains vulnerable.
Two years ago the utility industry, like everyone else in America, was blindsided by the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In the aftermath, the rush to secure the grid was on, and the caps on security spending came off-at least for a little while.
Two years later, where are we? Is the grid better protected from attack?
It is, but not by much, according to the experts Fortnightly consulted.
The road to the current reliability crisis is paved with four decades of bad policy decisions.
The technical causes of the great Northeast blackout of August 2003 are coming into focus. For reasons yet unknown as of press time, transmission lines in northern Ohio were lost to the grid, and within seconds 50 million people in the United States and Canada were without power. Soon we will no doubt know the specific reasons for the blackout, and technical corrections and improvements will be made.
With just a few changes in reliability rules, regulators could call on consumer loads to boost power reserves for outages and contingencies.
In proposing a standard market design (SMD), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) makes clear that it wants customers to participate in wholesale power markets, such as by bidding an offer to curtail consumption, increase supply, and reduce upward pressure on prices.
"We believe in the direct approach of letting demand bid in the market," says FERC.