EnergyBiz Magazine Mar/Apr 2014
In This Issue
  • Aiming for a fully renewable grid
    TESLA PLANS TO MARRY UP its battery storage technology with SolarCity’s solar technology to help energy users deal with mounting worries about potential grid failures. In addition, the unique alliance, unveiled toward the end of last year, would help energy users trim rising demand charges imposed by utilities. To better understand the effort, EnergyBiz recently interviewed JB Straubel, Tesla co-...
  • Integrating with power
    We’ve made significant progress on the gas-electric coordination front, and remaining challenges present opportunities for both industries. With the release of the Phase III gas study this past December, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator marked the culmination of more than two years of research and collaboration on growing interdependency between the gas and electric industries. When...
  • Implications for America
    In October, the British government and Electricite’ de France, which is primarily state owned, announced an agreement on commercial terms for constructing two 1.6 gigawatt European pressurized water reactors at Hinkley Point in the southwest of the United Kingdom at a cost of $26 billion.  The announcement must have come as a relief to both sides as it is more than three years since the...
  • Refocused for changing times
    The pressures and opportunities facing the utility industry today are unusual and significant.  There are risks, and when there is elevated risk in an enterprise, there is an elevated chance that the risk will turn into an actual cost increase or earnings decrease.  There are opportunities as well, and when a regulated company has opportunities, there is a chance that the benefits...
  • Proposal closely watched
    A capacity market may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it’s not an easy sell.  Even PJM Interconnection, the world’s largest competitive electricity market, which is very happy with its shift to a capacity market, found that the hardest part was to get regulators and stakeholders to buy into the concept.  “The biggest hurdle was getting the regulatory approvals,” Terry...
  • Time to look beyond our shores
    ONE OF OUR MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES to our readers is to scour the leading media outlets to find and bring attention to news accounts that, in our judgment, will have profound repercussions. Two news accounts in recent months demanded our follow up. The British government announced in the fall that it would allow Chinese enterprises to buy stakes in proposed UK nuclear plants to help build 12 new...
  • What can America learn?
    GERMAN UTILITIES ARE RETHINKING their business models as a result of soaring renewable generation and other radical shifts in the energy universe.  EnergyBiz caught up with Leonhard Birnbaum, a member of the board of management at E.ON SE, at Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum in New York.  He discussed German issues and what American utilities can learn from Europe.  Here are his...
  • Bringing energy to the developing world
    AS AN EXECUTIVE IN WIND ENERGY, I speak every day about the benefits of this resource.  But on a recent trip to Kenya, I realized how, in a different context, it can be difficult – maybe even impossible – to appreciate the potential of the wind.  There, in the arid north, the wind can whip up damaging dust storms. It can harm crops. It can interrupt education in schoolrooms that have no...
  • Federal Lab Lends a Big Assist
    IT’S 2015, AND IT’S NOT your grandparents’ energy system anymore. Instead of a one-way delivery of electricity powered by fossil fuels generating steam to turn turbines at the local utility, the new era is about integrating energy — from coal and wind, natural gas and solar, biofuels and geothermal, lithium ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. Even the electric battery in your car inside the...