Green Energy Outlook

Realizing the benefits of a modernized system requires an integrated strategy.

The U.S. power market consistently has displayed cyclical characteristics of boom and bust over the last two decades. Today’s market environment has been directly and significantly impacted by the recent economic recession. Decreases in load growth, declining commodity prices, and lack of accessible financing have caused challenges for the industry.

Wellinghoff's War

FERC fights for the green-grid superhighway—even if Congress won’t.

The Senate’s deadlock over carbon cap-and-trade legislation has not deterred FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff from an agenda bent on promoting renewable energy and fighting climate change. Last fall, even as Congress dithered, FERC launched a landmark initiative that likely will lead to sweeping new rules for expanding the nation’s electric transmission grid, grounded on Wellinghoff’s belief in wind, solar, and green power resources.

Can We Afford Climate Regulation?

Lawmakers are rushing a costly decision.

Utilities are struggling to predict the costs of greenhouse gas regulation. In the quest for a greener planet, how much should consumers be asked to pay for environmental benefits that might be difficult to measure?

Capturing Ocean Heat

Ocean thermal energy conversion offers a timely renewable alternative.

23 million square miles of tropical oceans daily absorb solar radiation equal in heat content to about 250 billion barrels of oil. Ocean thermal energy conversion technologies convert this solar radiation into electrical power by exploiting the thermal gradient temperature differences between the surface and the depths. This enormous resource merits a closer look as policy makers consider alternative technologies for serving future energy demands.

Assessing Construction Compliance

Gas utilities can make better use of their inspection budgets.

An entirely new and better approach to measuring risk and compliance allows companies actually to measure this kind of risk—that is, to measure the degrees of compliance regarding actual field practices versus written standards and procedures.

Carbon In Electricity Markets

Price transparency will drive GHG reductions.

In light of coming GHG legislation, price transparency is the key to achieving cleaner generation through the dispatch of lower-carbon sources.

The Smart-Enough Grid

How much efficiency do ratepayers need—and utilities want?

When the applause dies down, the smart grid may turn out to be its own worst enemy. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) explained this irony in comments it filed in May, after the FERC asked the industry for policy ideas on the smart grid.

Ontario's Failed Experiment (Part 1)

Reliability declines after 10 years of incentive regulation.

After 10 years of incentive regulation, reliability has declined in Ontario. Regulators failed to enforce service-quality standards, and consumers are suffering as a result.

Smart-Grid Strategy: Quantifying Benefits

Modeling the value of various technologies and applications.

As utilities announce new smart-grid programs, they need a strategic method for quantifying benefits. Analytical models generate baseline benefit estimates and reveal big-picture trends. Decision makers need the best resources available to mitigate risks in choosing a smart-grid strategy.

Fingerprinting the Invisible Hands

Opaque markets inflate power prices.

Secrecy is the norm in electric power bidding. This lack of transparency impedes an efficient electricity market. Bringing daylight to power markets would reduce prices and save consumers money.