Answers to questions you were afraid to ask
Meeting customers’ service expectations in the smart phone era.
With no guidance yet from FERC, Atlantic Wind is forced to wait.
Touted as the nation’s first-ever “offshore transmission highway,” the proposed Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) high-voltage power line in theory could foster dozens of wind farms in shallow offshore costal waters up and down the mid-Atlantic seaboard — but only if federal regulators can get buy-in for new transmission planning rules that give precedence to large, macro projects aimed at boosting renewable energy. Otherwise, the grid project might never pass muster with the engineers charged with OK’ing new power lines, since the AWC is probably not needed to maintain reliability, and likely would not make electricity rates any cheaper for East Coast ratepayers. Should wind energy developers start with massive grid projects to attract clusters of wind turbines, or should the wind farms come first?
Customers demand real choices for bill payment.
In the world of utility bill payments, few issues have generated more controversy than the use of credit, debit and pre-paid cards. Generally, regulated utilities have been unable to build a compelling business case to offer no-fee card payments to customers, preferring instead to partner with third-party processors (TPPs) who happily charge convenience fees to card users.
Moving coal forward requires a clear path to CCS.
‘Capture readiness’ hasn’t helped coal projects move forward, but a firm commitment might make the difference.
Price caps, secondary markets, and the revolution in natural-gas portfolio management.
When FERC decided in February, in Order 890, to lift the price cap for electric-transmission customers seeking to resell their grid capacity rights in the secondary market, it cautioned against expecting a quid pro quo for gas. Was the commission just teasing?
Financial transmission rights and regulated returns have not induced needed construction. Presenting an alternative model.
By almost any measure, the nation is running short of transmission, and the existing volume of investment cannot long continue to reliably accommodate retail-load growth and larger wholesale volumes. Factors like environmental opposition also have caused declines and delays in transmission investment, but it seems clear that financial transmission rights and regulated returns have not sufficed to induce the necessary construction. The authors propose a new model to reward investors who lower congestion costs.
The stars would seem to be aligned for a renaissance of nuclear power in the United States. Fossil-fuel prices are historically high, political uncertainty plagues the Middle East, Russia, and other oil-producing regions, new reactor technology looks promising, and President Bush is promoting nuclear among the alternatives for electric power. Indeed, opinion polls suggest the public has an increasingly positive attitude towards nuclear power.
Could local generators be used either to regulate voltage or control the power factor on distribution systems in New York?
Reactive power is becoming a hot issue in many regions of the country. Regulators and grid operators are grappling with ways to account fairly for reactive power supplies, and to encourage such resources to come online where they are needed. These analyses, however, are largely ignoring a vast fleet of infrastructure already installed on the network. West Point military academy, for example, has four small synchronous generators that are used for combined heat and power or emergency power applications. If these generators also were used as synchronous condensers, they might supply additional revenue to pay for the distributed energy investment.
Solving the electricity credit malaise.