EnergyBiz Magazine January/February 2011
In This Issue
  • PUSHING EXPORTS
    RUSSIA IS CONTINUING ITS POLICY OF vigorously pushing the export of all things pertaining to nuclear energy production. The year 2010 proved to be a good year for business. The past year has witnessed multibillion-dollar nuclear power plant sales to countries ranging from Venezuela to India and from China to Turkey. Russia is building 15 of the 60 nuclear reactors currently under construction in...
  • Transforming the Energy Landscape
    LOOK BACK EVEN 10 YEARS AND YOU WON'T RECOGNIZE MOST of the technology we take for granted today; telephones and computers are just two obvious examples. It's difficult to recognize game changers when they first appear, precisely because they redefine the paradigms we've come to take for granted. But while the details may be murky, it's clear that the energy sector will change in fundamental ways...
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  • THE VIEW FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO NEW YORK
    UTILITY CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICERS ARE on the front lines dealing with the miserable economy that has settled over the United States. To view the current economy through their eyes, EnergyBiz asked CFOs around the country, "Given how our economy has performed in the past two years, what are your main concerns and hopes as a utility CFO as we enter 2011?" Their responses, edited for style and length...
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  • IS IT A BREAKTHROUGH PROJECT?
    AFTER SEVEN YEARS OF STARTING, STOPPING and enduring major permutations, the FutureGen 2.0 project in Illinois is finally back on track to retrofit a power plant with an innovative carbon capture and storage system. FutureGen 2.0 is a partnership among the U.S. Department of Energy, the FutureGen Alliance, a nonprofit consortium of coal-mining and coal-producing global energy companies and Ameren...
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  • THERE IS MUCH PRESS ABOUT THE CURRENT U.S. natural gas glut. The glut won't last for long. According to astrophysicist Michio Kaku, if the world economic growth rate averages 3 percent annually, within a century or two our civilization will need to master all forms of terrestrial energy and harness the potential resources of the entire planet including modifying the weather, mining the oceans,...
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  • Tres Amigas Plans to Transform the Grid
    FOUNDED IN 1909, CLOVIS, N.M., SEEMS LIKE A TYPICAL, rural, small town. With a population of 32,667, the city is home to peanut and cotton farms, and ranches focused on meat and dairy production. Yet despite its outward appearance, this small, sleepy community may soon become an energy industry epicenter, one linking the nation's autonomous energy grids and creating a paradigm shift in how energy...
  • SUBSIDIES KICK IN
    SOLAR PROJECTS IN THE DESERT SOUTHWEST, ESPECIALLY those on public lands, seemed to fall into a black hole. Interminable reviews and a policy vacuum seemed to conspire to prevent any large-scale projects from being built for nearly two decades.But the imperatives of the economic stimulus plan and California's push for even more renewable energy seemed to change that dynamic in the past two years....
  • BUILDING A MID-ATLANTIC OFFSHORE WIND INDUSTRY
    Strong networks are the foundation of a modern economy. Railroads, highways, communications, air traffic and electricity networks provide the capability to move people, goods, information and energy. Networks can make possible transactions that would not otherwise have happened, and high-capacity networks eliminate bottlenecks that stifle business and cause markets to be inefficient. Networks...
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  • The Business Transformations of Smart Grid
    THE PARTICIPANTSDonny Helm, manager of technology, Oncor Electric DeliveryCamilo Serna, director of strategic planning, Northeast UtilitiesJohn Kelly, deputy director, Galvin Electric InitiativeDon Von Dollen, program director, Intelligrid at the Electric Power Research InstituteClayton Burns, principal engineer for smart grid, National GridEric Mewhinney, manager of innovation and sustainability...
  • Huge $6 Billion Project Delayed
    THE DECISION IN SEPTEMBER BY OLD DOMINION ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE TO DELAY its ambitious $6 billion Cypress Creek project threw the future of coal-fired electricity generation in the U.S. further into doubt.The cooperative, based in Richmond, Va., acknowledged that uncertainty about restrictions on carbon emissions played a role in the decision. But it claimed that the main reason for the delay was...
  • EMBRACING RENEWABLES AND SMART GRID
    SUPERCONDUCTING CABLES, WHILE OFFERING potential benefits over their copper counterparts, have been used sparingly to date. That situation is about to change.In particular, Korea Electric Power Corp. has included superconductor power cables in its Smart Green Utopia plan to convert Korea's entire power grid. The plan includes incorporating renewable energy sources, using smart grid technology,...
  • Big Renewable Integration Under Way
    ON HAWAII ISLAND, THE LARGEST IN THE ALOHA STATE, WE have a unique story in the world of electric generation, a story I believe will become valuable to many across the country.Our utility, Hawaii Electric Light, is leading the way to a clean energy future. Over 30 percent of the electricity we provide comes from renewable resources. We use a broad mix of clean energy sources, including geothermal...
  • GETTING SHALE GAS DELIVERED
    NATURAL GAS PRICES MAY BE STUCK IN THE bargain basement, but pipeline companies are rushing to connect to shale gas fields in the southern and eastern United States as if they contained gold. Two Energy Transfer Partners interstate gas pipelines came online on December 1, both ahead of schedule, one serving the Haynesville Shale and Bossier Sands producing regions in Louisiana and East Texas, the...
  • THE ECONOMIC STIMULUS AMERICA NEEDS
    UNLIKE MANY OTHER SECTORS OF THE U.S. economy, the nuclear energy industry is growing. In fact, it's beginning to boom, with the potential to help the United States reduce its carbon footprint while also making a major and positive impact on the U.S. economy over both the near and long term.In spite of the recent economic downturn, energy demand has risen fairly steadily over the past several...
  • POWER IN A SMALL BOX? FUEL CELLS WILL never multiply to the point of offering an alternative to centralized, large, power-generation plants.Nuclear power is too difficult to finance in today's economic climate.Sunshine may be free but solar power is far from being commercially viable.Such is today's conventional wisdom in the energy industry.But conventional thinking could be dangerous in these...
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  • The Value of Price and Convenience
    THERE ARE AT LEAST THREE TRENDS EMERGING IN renewable energy markets that are good for consumers but may be bad for some solar businesses. It's all related to the three big consumer questions: price, convenience, and compared to what? These are lessons I've learned from utility-scale energy supply planning, and from having participated in the Solar Electric Power Association's fact-finding...
  • THERE IS A WIDE-SCALE INDUSTRY EFFORT to evaluate a new cladding material for nuclear fuel rods. The new material has the potential to last longer, burn more of the fuel in a rod, reduce the amount of radioactive waste that must be stored, and enhance safety margins in certain situations.The cladding is a ceramic composite material based on silicon carbide. It is intended to replace the zirconium...
  • 200 Nuclear Plants by 2050
    FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY, THE UNITED STATES HAS had access to abundant, reliable and affordable energy needed for America to create the largest and most dynamic economy in the world. However, our great legacy and the promise of future achievements cannot be taken for granted. With half of our annual trade deficit related to energy and 70 percent of our oil coming from foreign sources, we have...
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  • ATLANTIC CABLE TO SPUR OFFSHORE WIND
    A PROPOSED UNDERSEA TRANSMISSION CABLE IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN is so bold, according to one news account, it would "transform the region's electrical map."Trans-Elect wants to build a $5 billion transmission line that could jump-start America's offshore wind generation of power. To better understand the game-changing proposal, EnergyBiz recently interviewed Robert L. Mitchell, Trans-Elect's chief...
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  • COMPETITION FROM DEREGULATION IN THE EMPIRE STATE
    IN 1996, THE NEW YORK STATE PUBLIC Service Commission decided to deregulate the state's electric power supply, opening it up to competition in 1999. By allowing consumers to choose their own electric suppliers, it aimed to lower prices and improve service. More than a decade later, has deregulation achieved its goals?A study by the U.S. Department of Energy reported that between 1997 and 2009 "...