EnergyBiz Magazine July/August 2011
In This Issue
  • STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH M&A
    Executive’s Dream or Nightmare: STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH M&A
    THERE HAS BEEN AN UPTICK in M&A activity within the sector over the past few months, and it will continue. Some of it is rumor; some is real, but will never come to fruition. this kind of talk and potential activity provides some nervous days and nights for employees of those companies whose names are mentioned - especially for those at the executive level.If your company's name has been...
  • ENGINEERING THE SMART GRID
    Building in Security
    AS WE ENGINEER THE SMART electric power grid, it may be tempting to look at grid security and reliability as an end-goal rather than a process. However, history is replete with examples suggesting that few things are truly secure or constant. We can count on the fact that today's electric grid is going to age, vegetation is going to encroach on the right of way, storms are going to pass through...
  • FAST AND SLOW BUT FORWARD
    Retail Rollercoaster
    THE COMPETITIVE RETAIL ENERGY MARKET is either speeding toward record growth or rolling down a winding road, headed toward a stop sign. How you see it depends in part on whom you talk to. "Retail electric services is an emerging high-growth industry," says Craig Goodman, president of the National Energy Marketers Association. "The short version is, there are no new deregulatory efforts going on...
  • WHAT’S NEXT?
    Orchestrating a Smart Grid
    THE SLOW, SOMETIME TEDIOUS, build up of the nation's smart grid is nearing a key transition point. The number of smart meters deployed in the United States is reaching a critical mass: Pike Research, a clean energy market research firm, estimates that 21 million were deployed in 2010, and that number is expected to swell to 57.9 million in the coming years as more than 90 U.S. utilities have...
  • ADDRESSING NUCLEAR FUEL STORAGE
    Solvable and Safe
    THE STATUS QUO IS not acceptable - that is a sentiment we in the nuclear industry widely acknowledge today. Not only must we look at our plant systems and communications protocols to ensure that we never face a situation in the United States similar to Fukushima, but we must also address the long-term management and storage of used nuclear fuel in this country. Although we can manage used...
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  • MIT EXPLORES INNOVATION
    See-Through Solar
    WHEN IT COMES TO windows and energy, most efforts have focused on two areas. Either they tried to eliminate drafts to reduce energy loss or they blocked sunlight from entering a building to reduce air conditioning demands of summertime heating.Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed technology that could support another, lesser-known approach. They have fashioned...
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  • ENERGY REVOLUTION UNDER WAY
    Bolstering Security with Renewables
    FROM MY NEW PERSPECTIVE as president of the American Council On Renewable Energy, it is clear that although the United States' energy posture constitutes a serious and urgent threat to our national and economic security, that challenge also represents a great opportunity. It is well past time for us to take threats to our energy security seriously and to begin to overhaul how we've been going...
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  • COL. BOB CHARETTE LEADS MARINES’ ENERGY CHARGE
    MARINES TRUDGING through hot, dusty Afghanistan are replacing heavy batteries in their backpacks with rolled-up solar sheets. It is part of an initiative by the Marine Corps to use new energy technologies to make the military more effective. One Marine Corps goal is to cut per-soldier fuel use in half by 2025.Major technological advances through the ages were developed first for military use and...
  • HOT PACE CONTINUES
    Merger Wave
    THE NEED FOR UTILITIES TO REPLACE AGING BASELOAD CAPACITY IS DRIVING THE NEW WAVE OF CONSOLIDATION IN THE INDUSTRY, EXPERTS SAY, WITH THE ACTUAL DEALS DEPENDING ON HOW WELL THE COMPANIES FIT IN TERMS OF EXISTING PEAK CAPACITY AND JURISDICTIONS."These things tend to come in waves," says John McConomy, utility leader for transactions at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "In this industry, it is very cyclical...
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  • DEALING WITH RISING COSTS AND CONVERGENCE
    The Regulators’ Agenda
    AS REGULATORS GATHER in Los Angeles for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) summer committee meetings, we will be focusing on the unprecedented challenges ahead. Two key themes are emerging: rising costs and converging industries.The rising cost environment has been on the minds of regulators, industry and consumer groups for some time, but this year seems to be...
  • DIFFICULT TO ACHIEVE
    Pay for Performance
    PAY FOR PERFORMANCE has become a major initiative in CEO compensation in many industries including utility and energy. By using it, CEO compensation is based on the success of the utility using tools such as a company's rising revenue and share price compared with industry leaders, which can justify raises in salaries and incentives.Between 2009-2010, the compensation packages of the utility CEOs...
  • NAILING DOWN GRID CYBER SECURITY
    Make It Secure
    THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S economywide cyber security plan presented by the White House this spring makes it much more likely that the holes in existing electric utility cyber defense plans will be plugged sooner rather than later.Legislation passed in 2005 gave the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the responsibility for overseeing cyber security defenses for transmission and generation...
  • A CONVERSATION WITH FEDERICO PENA
    Let Free Markets Reign
    FEDERICO PENA WAS U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY in the Clinton administration and is now co-chairman of the COMPETE Coalition. Pena recently sat down with EnergyBiz to discuss his vision for energy competition. His comments were edited for style and spaceENERGYBIZ What is the COMPETE Coalition?PENA COMPETE is an organization of electricity users, including commercial companies such as Safeway and Wal-...
  • ENDLESS OPPORTUNITY IN THE HEARTLAND
    Teaming Up with Google
    IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES if an entire community had access to the fastest Internet service in the world. Imagine if large companies, disadvantaged neighborhoods, research institutions and schools all had Internet connectivity 100 times faster than what is available anywhere else. Imagine the platform this would create for innovation and the potential for job creation. This is exactly what is...
  • THE SMART GRID CONUNDRUM
    Utility Transformation
    ONE MAJOR CHALLENGE to achieving an intelligent grid is the fact that the electric power industry is highly fragmented. Thousands of key players are spread over 50 states, each with its own rules and requirements. Their conduct is constrained by 100 years of regulatory evolution that never contemplated the new business models, market players, technologies, customer requirements and security...
  • WHO WILL LEAD?
    A Pregnant Moment
    IN YIYANG, CHINA, many of the town's 360,000 residents and businesses receive electrical power only one out of three days. Imagine if your lights, computer and refrigerator were off two out of three days.Then you will understand why China is going all out to build more conventional and renewable power. On the nuclear front, it has announced plans to build 50 nuclear power plants in the next five...
  • LABOR AGENDA SHOWS GAINS
    Bringing Jobs Back from China
    SLOW PROGRESS IS BEING MADE to bring green energy manufacturing jobs to the United States, closer to the project development sites for large wind and solar installations, the industry says. There is mounting concern over how fast that can happen.And that's why the issue gained some added prominence last year when the United Steelworkers union initiated a complaint alleging anticompetitive...
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  • ADDRESSING A NEW LOAD
    The Urban EV Problem
    AS PLUG-IN ELECTRIC VEHICLES become more common, they are expected to place new loads on the electric grid. Most of the attention has focused on the potential problems these cars might cause in the suburbs. Many industry experts believe that with a combination of smart meters, time-sensitive electric rates and intelligent demand response systems, utilities will be able to handle the additional...
  • STRATEGIC ALTERNATIVES
    Israel’s Solar Vision
    THE SOLAR INDUSTRY IN ISRAEL is more limited in size, but it is not as complicated as its counterpart in the United States because Israel has the same rules throughout the country. In the United States, each state has its own rules involving economic incentives, taxes, zoning and land use.Some people like to compare the cost-competitiveness of solar power with conventional forms of power...
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  • GETTING THE COST DOWN
    The Quest for a Big Battery
    THE PROBLEM WITH intermittent sources of power is just that; they're intermittent.One of the challenges facing utilities that want to take advantage of wind and meet increasingly demanding standards for renewable energy is to find a way to store the power when it's plentiful and make it available when it's not. There are a number of techniques for doing that - compressed air, pumped hydro and...
  • NAMING SOME NAMES
    THE DUKE/PROGRESS AND Exelon/Constellation deals create a scramble of both predators and prey in the utility industry. There are only a few big fish capable of such game-changing deals. Every other utility is potential fish food. While Duke and Exelon focus on getting their deals approved, competitors have an opportunity to do deals of their own.What other big deals may be ahead?Entergy //...
  • CAP AND TRADE SPARKS POLITICAL UPHEAVAL
    Troubles Vex California’s Carbon Plan
    CAP AND TRADE HAS been a controversial topic around the nation and the world, but perhaps no more so than in California. The state intends to implement the first full-scale carbon-trading system in the United States in January. That multimillion-dollar effort is growing much more difficult as the deadline looms. Lawsuits, political bickering, environmental resistance, the uncertain support of Gov...