EnergyBiz Magazine September/October 2009
In This Issue
  • THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT HAS DETERMINED that it is in its interest to foster foreign understanding of its accomplishments and vision for climate policy and renewable energy technologies. Think about that. It was not too long ago when America and the Soviet Union, locked in a fierce ideological struggle between capitalism and communism, attempted to influence hearts and minds throughout the...
  • Coal and Natural Gas Supplies Diverge
    NOT ALL THAT LONG AGO THERE WERE TWO widely held views when it came to the fossil fuels that powered nearly three-quarters of the electric generation industry. The United States was the Saudi Arabia of coal, with a huge supply that would last well over two centuries. And the increasing reliance on natural gas to produce electricity would stress this country's ability to meet the demand from...
  • New Tools for Policy Makers
    IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR COMMERCIAL or government decision makers to base important policy choices on thinking that is grounded in the established concepts and practices of a variety of business-related fields. What is puzzling is how often these decision makers fail to consider established social psychological concepts.Take, for example, social norms. The most basic kind of social norms refer to...
  • Powering Electric Transport
    ADOPTING A HOLISTIC APPROACH TOWARD the electricity and the transportation sectors has the potential to accomplish many things, such as helping to reduce carbon emissions, revitalizing the automobile industry, enhancing energy independence, reducing exposure to volatile energy prices and using power delivery assets to enable a truly smart grid. For example, an energy independence credit for coal-...
  • Wisconsin Energy Tops Charts
    LEGENDARY GREEN BAY PACKER COACH Vince Lombardi is known for often telling his players: “You don't do things right once in a while. You do them right all the time.” On the football field the Packers did just that and won, big time. Not too far away in Milwaukee, Gale Klappa, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin Energy is working hard to prove that Lombardi's wisdom can...
  • Vast Global Economic Impact
    THE GLEAMING, METALLIC GRAY SCHWARZE PUMPE COAL-generating complex rises in east Germany, not far from the Polish border. At the facility, Vattenfall is now running one of the most advanced efforts in the world to capture carbon for long-term storage.The project is relatively small in scope. A visitor can circle the equipment in a 5-minute stroll. But the national and economic stakes are huge....
  • A Conversation with Boris Schubert
    BORIS SCHUBERT IS PRESIDENT OF Q-CELLS INTERNATIONAL, headquartered in Fremont, Calif. It is part of Q-Cells, based in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany, and describes itself as the world's largest solar cell maker.ENERGYBIZ   Explain how Q-Cells is organized to serve the solar power sector.SCHUBERT   We have a crystalline cells technology division, a new technologies and...
  • Embracing Transformation
    WITH SWEEPING NEW ENERGY POLICIES BEING HAMMERED OUT IN WASHINGTON, OR ON THE brink of completion, a new era is about to begin in the century-old power business. With the air electrified with the possibilities and challenges ahead, EnergyBiz recently convened two panels of prominent utility executives to discuss where we are and where we are headed. What follows is an edited roundtable discussion...
  • ENERGYBIZ   How is the economy affecting your organization?DISTASIO   This economic downturn for us has probably been the most significant thing I've seen in 28 years. We've seen a drop in demand, a lot of that from storefronts closing, but we also have seen a small dip in residential. This does not seem to be an economic downturn that's going to be something that we...
  • Emerging Leaders
    IT'S TAKEN FIVE YEARS. BUT THE PUBLIC SERVICE Commission of Wisconsin has given approval to American Transmission Co. to build a new 32-mile high-voltage transmission line to link two towns within the state and that will be completed by 2013. Although it is obscure to most of the nation, the $215 million project may represent a gradual shift in how transmission is owned and permitted.The demand...
  • Applications Emerge for Smart Grid
    UTILITIES ARE BUSILY UPGRADING THE traditional energy grid to one with more intelligence. As this process unfolds, one key question emerges: What new services will the smart grid enable them to deliver? One possible answer to that question is coming from the IT industry where vendors have recently focused on building energy management systems.The confluence between IT and energy companies is...
  • Smart Meters Go Global
    FOR 25 YEARS, I'VE WRITTEN AND LECTURED about the need for smart metering, often concluding by saying, “Someday, utilities will use all that data.”Now, suddenly, the idea of smart metering and a smart grid have captured the interest of utilities and governments. Many other countries are replicating the North American experience. Utilities that once used metering data for little more than billing...
  • Texas Smart Energy Evolution
    TEXAS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT proving grounds for demonstrating the value of a smarter grid to customers. That's because Texas is the only state that will have intense residential electric competition, smart meters and retail usage settled against the wholesale spot market. Widespread innovation, led by prepaid electricity, is poised to take hold over the next several years.With more than...
  • Utilities Challenged
    INDUSTRY OBSERVERS HAVE NOTED THE growing number of utility CIOs who have either resigned or retired in recent months. This has many questioning whether there is something about the smart grid transformation that has utility CIOs making haste to leave, or if it is just a strange series of coincidences. Regardless of the reasons, one thing is clear. The departure of so many CIOs, each with a great...
  • Beaming Down Solar
    THIS SPRING, PACIFIC GAS & ELECTRIC asked California state regulators for permission to sign a power purchase agreement with startup Solaren for up to 200 megawatts of solar power that would be beamed to earth from space.The proposed 15-year contract calls for the power collected by an orbiting space solar power plant to be transmitted by microwaves to an Earth receiving station in Fresno....
  • Atlantic Carbon Capture
    SCS ENERGY, A SMALL, Massachusetts-based power-plant development company, plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Linden, N.J., and sequester 90 percent of the carbon dioxide 70 miles offshore. And make a profit. That last point flies in the face of received wisdom, but SCS has a history of doing what others say can't be done. It was the lead developer and manager of a 1,000-megawatt combined-...
  • Ralph Izzo to Field Offshore Wind and Solar
    AS A PITCHER, RALPH IZZO CULTIVATED A nasty tailing fastball that screamed toward the hands of right-handed hitters. As a nuclear physicist, he mused about the birth of energy in the sun. These days, as Public Service Enterprise Group chairman, president and chief executive officer, his concerns embrace the future of nuclear power, transmission and renewables as he oversees his company's $29...
  • Rate Utility Roundup
    UTILITY RATE INCREASES, APPROVED BY state regulators, finance new investment. But in today's increasingly uncertain economy, any proposed increase in rates meets growing consumer anger. We want to keep our lights on, but we just can't afford another rise in costs.“I would say, in general, there is a level of frustration and a level of desperation on the consumer representation side,” said David...
  • A Smart Approach to Smart Grid Development
    THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT has given Kansas City, Mo., a unique opportunity to show how the use of green technologies within an urban environment can save energy, create a more sustainable environment and energize a blighted part of our city.We plan to bring residents and neighborhood leaders together to rebuild the Green Impact Zone, a 150-block area within Kansas City's urban...
  • A Stillborn Nuclear Renaissance?
    IF YOU'RE WAITING FOR A NUCLEAR renaissance, don't look for Gregory Jaczko to play Leonardo da Vinci, or even Lorenzo de' Medici.“Our primary mission is the safety and security of nuclear energy,” said the newly designated chairman of the nuclear regulatory Commission.What role nuclear power will play in the nation's energy mix, how many plants will be built and what type – all this depends on...
  • Promoting Energy Innovation
    WE MUST BE INNOVATIVE IN OUR APPROACH to igniting fresh ideas that are energy efficient and can transform the power and energy industries.The Igniting Creative Energy (ICE) Challenge was launched in 2001 with the National Energy Foundation. The ICE Challenge is meant to provide a venue for educating youth about the importance of energy efficiency, encourage youth to explore energy innovation and...