The failure of the Empire Connection spells trouble for private transmission projects.
How joining the EU may transform the Central and Eastern European electricity sectors
It is not coincidental that energy assets are for sale across Central and Eastern Europe the same year that 10 new countries join the European Union (EU). New member states had to demonstrate significant sector reforms to qualify for EU membership. These sectors have historically had miserable economic results due to artificially maintained low prices, poor and often corrupt management, and significant political interference.
A look at issues that could keep energy executives up at night.
The most common strategic issue depriving utility executives of sleep is the looming clash of investor expectations for steady growth in earnings compared with what utilities can deliver given slow growth in customers and demand. While many dream of assured regulated rates of return, the reality for most utilities is that the 1.5 percent retail growth experienced between 2002 and 2003 will prove unsatisfactory for earnings.
Southern Co. appointed Chris Hobson senior vice president of environmental affairs, reporting to Charles Goodman, the company's newly named senior vice president of environmental policy and research. Hobson currently serves as vice president of environmental affairs for Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power.
Three ways to value nuclear power plants for buyers and sellers.
Appraisers don't make the market-they reflect it. But when the market speaks, appraisers listen. The appraiser must use judgment, experience, and common sense to correlate the final conclusion of value for a subject plant, basing the conclusion on market indicators.
As a former independent power producer, George Lagassa is sympathetic to the woes of the merchant power industry. Until just a few years ago, he held the license to a micro-hydro qualifying facility (QF) in New Hampshire, so he understands what it takes to compete in a regulated-franchise industry. Yet, as the principal of Mainstream Appraisals in North Hampton, N.H., Lagassa is also a dedicated pragmatist. He sees the industry's consolidation trend as a sort of correction in the U.S. power market.
As Baby Boomers near retirement age, utilities face the challenge of preparing the next generation of leaders.
Human resources managers at many utilities are sounding alarm bells about an impending shortage of skilled personnel-even amid flat industry growth and high unemployment rates.
Business & Money
The consequences of exuberance are all around us.
Much of the 160 GW of new generation capacity added to the U.S. inventory since 1998 is now under water, economically speaking. At a per-megawatt cost of $300, this represents $50 billion of investment-much of which is concentrated in Texas (23 GW), Illinois (14 GW), and Georgia (11 GW). The key question for both merchant and other plant owners is how long it will take for plant values to recover.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission established the position of deputy executive director for Homeland Protection and Preparedness, naming William F. Kane to fill the role. Kane previously oversaw the offices of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, Enforcement, Investigations, and the Regions.
PJM would dictate grid expansion, even if not needed for reliability, and then push the cost of the upgrades on those who use them the most.
Chairman Pat Wood and his Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) may well have given up on attempts to impose a standard market design (SMD) on the electric utility industry, but that doesn't mean the nation's grid system operators won't try the same thing.