Resource Planning After the Crash

How to update yesterday's IRP model to account for tomorrow's risk profile.

How to update yesterday's IRP model to account for tomorrow's risk profile.


The process we know today as integrated resource planning (IRP) got its start back in the 1980s, when regulators first came to grips with nuclear plant cost overruns and urged utilities in effect to hedge that risk-to give equal weight to conservation, "negawatts," and demand-side management (DSM) as sources of new electric capacity.

Energy Trading: Down But Not Out

The speculative electricity trading industry has a bad case of rigor mortis, but current efforts might breathe new life into the practice.

Trading is dead. At least that’s what some analysts are saying about the electricity markets. “Trading died with Enron on Dec. 2, 2001,” says Mark Williams, an energy risk management expert at Boston University. Whether trading is really dead or not, some signs of a rebirth are beginning to emerge.

Risk Experts Speak Out: Where the CCRO Fell Short

A surprisingly timid effort for an industry on the brink.

The purpose for the Committee of Chief Risk Officers (CCRO) recommendations, as stated in the introduction to their 198-page opus, is "to provide guidance on new methods and tools to establish a strong foundation for future growth in this (merchant energy) industry." But the reality is that the recommendations, almost without exception, fail to provide strong leadership in the areas of past and potential future abuse.

Collateral Damage

Credit ratings agencies put the squeeze on merchant power.

Have they gone too far? Have ratings agencies become overzealous in their efforts to rein in energy merchants? Many in the industry are coming to that belief after Aquila, one of the industry's most respected companies and leaders, announced it would exit the merchant energy trading sector in late July. It said it could no longer meet the credit requirements imposed by ratings agencies to maintain that business.

Gas Marketers: Oblivious to All the Fuss

New mega-marketers, niche players emphasize opportunity.

Even when the calendar flipped to 2001 and much of the energy industry was swept into the turmoil surrounding the California electric industry restructuring fiasco, gas marketers continued to thrive in the low-supply, high-demand environment.