EnergyBiz Magazine March/April 2011
In This Issue
  • SOME SURPRISING WINNERS
    IN THE REBOUNDING STOCK MARKET of 2010, the energy sector couldn't keep pace with the 11 percent rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Depending on your yardstick, the Dow Jones Utility Index rose 1 percent and the Morningstar Utility Index increased 7 percent, so utility stocks underperformed the market as a whole. Yet certain regional, mid-cap energy stocks shined.SNL Energy, a financial...
  • GOOGLE ENERGY GURU FOCUSES ON FINANCE AND POLICY
    DAN REICHER WAS FRONT and center during several hugely visible energy deals announced by Google. Among them was a recent plan to build a revolutionary transmission line in the Atlantic to jump-start offshore wind generation.Now Reicher is headed back to school - specifically, Stanford University, where he will become the executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance...
    1
  • Rivals Seek Global Economic Dominance
    A trade war is coming as the US, China, Europe and others struggle to lead the $
    GREEN ENERGY, WHICH THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION hailed as the solution to American unemployment, may instead become the battleground of a new trade war.And the fighting may take place not only in rapidly growing emerging markets like China and India, but also in the U.S. market itself - still the biggest market for renewable energy and the one most open to foreign competitors that often benefit from...
    3
  • The End of an Era
    Coal generation is losing favor with utilities. Here is why.
    JUST FIVE YEARS AGO, FEW WITHIN THE INDUSTRY believed that coal's reign as the primary fuel source for U.S. electric power generation would come to an end in their lifetime. In 2006, 19 new coal projects were under construction and coal fueled approximately 50 percent of all U.S. power generation. Although coal will likely remain the primary fuel source for the next 10 years, its market share has...
    2
  • SPURRING ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOB CREATION
    BEFORE EASING LAST YEAR, THE GROWTH OF AMERICA'S renewable energy industry was a bright spot in the national economy. In fact, according to the United Nations' "Renewable 2010 Global Status Report," of all the new energy capacity installed in 2009 in the United States, 50 percent came from renewables.Wind energy has had a significant role in the green energy expansion. Thirty-seven states now...
  • REINJECTION PLAN IRKS EXXON
    A NEW OPERATION IN WESTERN Wyoming will extract helium and methane and reinject waste gas composed primarily of carbon dioxide back into Riley Ridge Federal Unit, cutting potential greenhouse gas emissions to a fraction.New technology from Cimarex Energy will come online in the fall as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is requiring companies to both monitor and report emissions of carbon...
  • THE ENERGY TRADE BATTLE SHAPES UP
    IN THE COURSE OF CHINA'S PRESIDENT HU JINTAO'S recent visit to Washington, there was much talk of opening China's market to the exports of American hightechnology goods and services, especially including green technology products.It sounded logical and, of course, it was soothing to Americans to be pictured as the quintessential makers and exporters of high- and green-tech goods and services. But...
    3
  • BOOSTING CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE
    ACCORDING TO THE ENERGY INFORMATION AGENCY, annual global energy-related CO2 emissions have reached 31 billion metric tons. This increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas is considered by many scientists to be a contributing factor in global climate change. Last year, the United States emitted about 5,800 million metric tons of CO2, and if left uncontrolled, it is estimated the United States will...
    1
  • TEN LEADERS IN A MALE WORLD
    THE TOP WOMEN EXECUTIVES AT ENERGY COMPANIES ARE eager to count the reasons they love their jobs.They're bringing to the public an essential product - energy, and that feels good, they say. What's more, the industry is constantly changing, so no two days on the job are alike. With each new problem solved, a new one arises. And when these women plan and execute a project - a power plant, for...
  • BIGGER AND DEEPER
    EVEN BEFORE THE FIRST OFFSHORE WIND TURBINE IS planted along the coast of North America, a Rhode Island developer has embraced the latest European model for seaborne energy development.Deepwater Wind has been developing plans for several years for a Rhode Island wind farm that would total about 200 megawatts. Those plans were radically altered with the announcement made late last year of the...
    2
  • Five Emerging, Transformational Thrusts
    THE AGE OLD ADAGE, "THE customer is king," now rings true at many utilities. "Utilities have been progressing from using their customer information systems to answer billing questions to leveraging them to run their businesses more efficiently," said Zarko Sumic, a vice president with Gartner's energy and utilities industry advisory service.Because technology has been evolving at a rapid pace,...
  • DEALING WITH HIDDEN COSTS
    OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE COSTS FOR WIND FARMS have always been thought to be significant. Early Department of Energy studies pegged the costs at between a half and one cent per kilowatt-hour for wind farms in the United States.Because large-scale deployment of wind turbines had not begun, such estimates, made five years ago or earlier, had great uncertainties because of the limited availability...
    5
  • THE FUTURE OF NUCLEAR WASTE
    EVEN WITH THE SPURT IN LICENSE renewal activity that promises to keep many current nuclear plants in operation another 20 years, there are still a number of plants that must be decommissioned and dismantled now or in the near future.Costs to decommission and dismantle plants are high compared with those of dismantling other similar-sized structures. The containment building and reactor vessel...
    2
  • THE ENVIRONMENT VERSUS RENEWABLES
    SUNRISE POWERLINK. THE NAME suggests the dawn of a new era of eco-friendly power, so why is the 112-mile-long high-voltage transmission line under construction by San Diego Gas & Electric, designed to bring power from the Imperial Valley to San Diego County, under fire from various environmental and civic groups? For exactly the same reasons that transmission lines come under fire whenever...
  • BURGEONING MBA ENERGY CLUBS
    I CONTEND THAT ONE'S INTEREST in a particular hobby, field of study, and career starts early. Usually brought about through some belief or idea that takes root in the fabric of your being and that you nourish and grow through education and activity into a full-blown passion and professional pursuit. From marine biologists to doctors there are many whose chosen field could be traced back to a...
    1
  • WISCONSIN FARMS TAKES EARLY LEAD
    BIOGAS IS IN THE STARTING POINT of an exponential growth curve, according to a white paper from the Global Intelligence Alliance. The United States could follow the global trend with a greater number of biogas to energy facilities if policy and economics were to align.Currently, Europe and other parts of the world are rapidly utilizing anaerobic digesters to create a distributive network of...
    2
  • THINK BEFORE YOU HIT SEND
    IT'S ONE THING FOR A UTILITY company to cultivate a good relationship with regulatory authorities, but is it appropriate for a top official with a giant utility to e-mail the chairman of a state regulatory commission, asking "Does anyone know if a desire to `bitch slap a chairman' violates any state's hate crime laws?"Apparently not.That e-mail between James Turner, at the time the second-highest...
  • UTILITIES PUSH BACK
    ELECTRIC AND GAS UTILITIES ARE pushing back hard against Environmental Protection Agency plans to tighten its regulation of polychlorinated biphenyls. Any new requirements forcing gas and electric companies to test electrical components such as transformers known to be contaminated with PCBs and to reduce those exposures, or to even mark underground or above-ground components, would cost...
  • INTERESTING TIMES
    DECADES AGO, AS A NEWSPAPER reporter, I covered the trade battles between America and Japan. Japan kept its markets largely closed, satisfied an insatiable American appetite for its cars and electronic gadgets and bought up a swath of America - from Hawaiian golf courses to Manhattan trophy real estate.That all eventually ran its course, with Japan getting mired in a decade-long economic downturn...
    1
  • FUEL FROM SUNSHINE
    A DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY-FUNDED initiative seeks to mimic the photosynthesis process in leaves to convert solar energy directly into fuel.U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman noted what was at stake with this program. "Finding a cost-effective way to produce fuels as plants do, combining sunlight, water and carbon dioxide, would be a game changer, reducing our dependence on oil and...
    1
  • PILOTS ARE PROMISING
    CARBON STORAGE TECHNOLOGY IS ADVANCING BOTH IN Europe and America even in the face of financial, technical and regulatory challenges.Alstom currently has six major carbon capture and storage pilot installations in operation and another two under construction. We even have second-generation technology at an advanced stage of development in our laboratories. As previously announced, we are also...
    6
  • THE ARCHITECTURE OF DELIVERY
    IN THE SEARCH FOR OPTIMAL ELECTRICAL power delivery methods, one solution would be to move key conversion points upstream, a little nearer the source.In looking for savings in our electrical power systems, little attention has been paid to the architecture of power delivery. The hub-and-spoke relationship we have with our electricity provider has been in place since the beginning of electrical...
    2