EnergyBiz Magazine September/October 2011
In This Issue
  • LOWER PRICES AND IMPROVED RELIABILITY
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS we have seen a lot of discussion in Washington and throughout the country about investments in our nation's energy grid. Much of that discussion, rightly so, has been focused on what consumers get out of transmission investments. Consumers have every right to know what investments in our nation's infrastructure cost and the benefits they will receive from those investments...
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  • FROM 2011 AND ONWARD
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY needs a continuously available financing arm so projects emerging from research and development can access deployment capital. To that end, Congress should create the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA).Energy reform legislation should be broken into chunks because it has proven too difficult to pass comprehensive legislation. It would be better to let...
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  • MEETING THE RENEWABLE CHALLENGE
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    I HEAR A LOT OF TALK about a great desire to include renewable energy into the national energy mix, if it weren't for the issue of intermittency. Mother Nature decides when to make the wind blow or the sun shine. As the CEO of a renewable energy company with more than 500 megawatts of wind and solar installed in North America, I know we only build renewable energy projects in areas with the best...
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  • INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION NEEDED
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    WHILE THE URGENCY to reduce carbon dioxide emissions has diminished somewhat in the United States for now due to the current political climate, many other regions of the world have strong reduction mandates in place. At the same time, some states are moving forward with their own initiatives.The bottom line is that a handful of pilot programs in the United States continue to evaluate technologies...
  • FAST AND RESPONSIVE
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    THIS SUMMER, an innovative 20-megawatt capacity flywheel energy storage plant was officially opened in Stephentown, N.Y.The plant, the largest of its type in service in North America today, will be used by the New York Independent System Operator to help store excess energy when power generated exceeds the load. When load levels increase, the energy can be delivered back to the grid.Beyond acting...
  • Gas Turbine Tweaks
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS, the use of natural gas to generate electricity has been growing at a higher rate than many other energy sources. That trend is expected to continue as natural gas plants are eyed for a prime role as load balancers as more renewable energy sources are added to electric grids.In recent years, use of natural gas seemed poised for additional growth because of the lower carbon...
  • SECURING POWER FROM CYBER THREATS
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    AN APRIL 2009 Wall Street Journal story said Chinese and Russian cyberspies penetrated the U.S. electric grid and left behind software programs that could disrupt its operations. As reported in the Journal of Energy Security two months later, security firm IOActive told the Department of Homeland Security that a hacker with a $500 piece of equipment could take over a smart grid's two-way...
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  • WHERE WE ARE
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    THE HOUSE COMMITTEE on Homeland Security asked the Government Accountability Office to assess the extent to which the National Institute of Standards & Technology has developed smart grid cybersecurity guidelines. It asked GAO to evaluate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approach for adopting and monitoring smart grid cybersecurity and other standards. It further asked GAO to...
  • CHANGING THE UTILITY WORLD
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    POLICYMAKERS AND EXECUTIVES face investment and adoption decisions for myriad innovative solutions. Although each utility may have the spirit to adopt many innovations, it will lack some combination of funding, extensive stakeholder involvement, regulatory commitment and customer acceptance. Some innovations will change the rules of the game, expand value creation to unheard of levels and make...
  • HOW MUCH SMART GRID IS ENOUGH?
    WE ALL HAVE A FRIEND or relative who has to have the latest gadget. Whatever new i- or e-something becomes available is a must-have item. Well, that's fine when they're spending their own money, but when it's a utility that wants to spend ratepayers' money, that's a different story.The Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University, in collaboration with MSU's College of Engineering...
  • SOME NEW TOOLS
    EnergyBiz  September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    IT IS INGRAINED. In September, we head back to school. Our businesses regain critical mass as our colleagues and customers put their vacation suitcases back in the attic, settle behind their desks and re-engage.With the issue you now hold, we too have gone back to school.With the upcoming November/December issue of EnergyBiz, we will proudly enter our eighth year of publishing the boldest, most...
  • AN EASY STARTING PLACE
    EnergyBiz  September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    According to a recent Oracle survey of utility executives, 71 percent of utilities say securing customer buy-in is a key step in smart grid success, but only 43 percent say that they're actually doing so. That disconnect could hamper the success of the smart grid, as utilities that have implemented smart grid technologies - either in pilot studies or systemwide deployments - expect only 38...
  • FEDERAL SITE HIGHLIGHTS NEWS
    EnergyBiz  September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest update of its Web site (www.eia.gov) includes the introduction of a new daily feature "Today in Energy." "Today in Energy" presents short, easy-to-understand articles about a variety of energy topics. Each article:     Covers a key energy issue in a one-page format      Includes a visual explanation -...
  • SITE RICH IN TRANSMISSION SECTOR DATA
    EnergyBiz  September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    Understanding the rapidly changing transmission industry will be easier for industry professionals with the launch of Energy Central's TransmissionHub. The online, interactive intelligence service will serve professionals who operate, plan, build, regulate, analyze or invest in electric transmission lines in North America.Going live this month, the service will provide an unprecedented level of...
  • CHANGING DEFINITIONS OF UTILITY SUCCESS
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY, the times are transforming, not just changing. In 2009, energy consumption dipped 1.1 percent, the first time since the Great Depression in 1930 that power use declined in the United States. Utilities are urging consumers to employ smart meters, which improve energy efficiency but also reduce revenue.In addition, M&A action proliferated in 2011. To name a few deals...
  • LISA JACKSON’S U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
    EnergyBiz  September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    LISA JACKSON is a key architect and implementer of Obama administration environmental policy. For some time now she and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that she heads have had the undivided attention of the utility world, as she oversees implementation of a new era of regulations for power plant emissions. She recently talked with EnergyBiz. Her comments were edited for length and style....
  • WOMEN SET PRIORITIES, LEAVE A LEGACY
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    EDITOR'S NOTE: The Women's Executive Forum was founded in 2008 by Lynn LeMaster at the Edison Electric Institute. Held during EEI's annual conventions, the WEF brings together professional women who are leaders in the electric utility industry. Here are excerpts from a keynote presentation from the forum held during EEI's recent annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo.I AM OFTEN ASKED three...
  • PREPARING THE WORLD’S BIGGEST MACHINE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    THE ELECTRIC GRID is the biggest machine in the world and the greatest engineering feat of the 20th century, according to the National Academy of Engineering. It's one of those human accomplishments so successful as to have become virtually invisible. And it's incredible that, despite the enormous demands we've placed on the grid - the unprecedented technological developments and the concomitant...
  • FIVE LEADERS CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    THE UNPRECEDENTED CHANGE that is reshaping the North American transmission system has not come easy. A number of industry leaders have overcome countless obstacles to gain new ground and reinvent how transmission is built, managed and monetized. Here are five leaders who have put transmission on a different, more innovative, path.Robert Mitchell When Robert Mitchell initiated the formation of...
  • TRANSFORMING GENERATION
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    NATURAL GAS IS ON A ROLL. Recoverable resources, together with reserves of gas, are at their highest level since 1971, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The nearly 237 gigawatts of gas-fired generation capacity added in the United States between 2000 and 2010 represented 81 percent of total generation-capacity additions in that period. Power-sector gas consumption grew 38...
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  • A CONVERSATION WITH EXELON’S JOHN ROWE
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    EXELON AND CONSTELLATION ENERGY this spring announced plans to merge, creating a company valued at $52 billion, with 6.6 million customers in Illinois, Maryland and Pennsylvania. John ROWE , currently chairman and chief executive officer of Exelon, will exit after the completion of the merger, which is expected in early 2012. ROWE , 66, is considered one of the industry's most astute leaders. He...
  • UTILITY EXECUTIVES DISCUSS MAJOR THREATS AHEAD
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    TODAY'S UTILITY LEADERS struggle with a full agenda of disruptive threats. The federal government is imposing new emissions guidelines on an extensive fleet of coal-fired generation that the industry has relied on for decades. It is also rewriting the rules of risk management. At the same time, many states are requiring utilities to ramp up deployment of renewable generation resources. New...
  • TOOLS AND SKILLS GAIN VALUE AT UTILITIES
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
     WITH THE REALIZATION of the smart grid, utilities are seeing fundamental changes to how their business operates. The operation of a primarily electro-mechanical infrastructure for nearly 100 years is rapidly being replaced by an intelligent digital network that requires different staffing, equipment and business processes. Although the core mission remains the same (keep the lights on at an...
  • HYBRID PLANTS INCH AHEAD
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    IN RECENT MONTHS, the choice for new power generation is either renewables or natural gas. In some limited circumstances the answer could be evolving into: Why not both?It seems like a match made in energy heaven. Take decidedly clean technologies like wind or solar and the in-vogue, cheap and plentiful energy choice of the present, natural gas, and combine them to create a seamlessly operating...
  • FACING NEW CHALLENGES FROM MARKETERS
    EnergyBiz September / October 2011: The Transmission Revolution
    ELECTRIC UTILITIES NEED TO ADDRESS a new challenge or they may become mediocre, obsolete, servant infrastructure to other customer raiding industries.Electric utilities must change their customer relationship and change customer behavior. Electric consumers have to evolve from passive "so what, the lights come on" consumers to actively become engaged customers who want to use energy wisely....
  • SOLAR FOR PET BUSINESSES
    EnergyBiz  September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    DEFICITS AND BUDGET CUTS are all Washington has talked about this summer. The bad news for now, particularly for renewables, is Congress won't be acting on much else, like extending the production tax credit or creating a renewable portfolio standard.The summer of stimulus was two years ago, and the program was officially wound down last year. But don't be fooled - money is still flowing from...
  • Feds Poised to Remove Northwest Dam
    EnergyBiz  September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    THE U.S. BUREAU OF RECLAMATION this month is expected to begin the largest dam demolition project in the United States - the $324.7 million removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon Power Plants on the Elwha River in a protected area of the Olympic National Park in Washington State.Environmentalists say the move is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to show scientists and environmentalists what can happen...
  • EMPLOYEES WHO WILL BE RISK AWARE, DISCIPLINED
    EnergyBiz  September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    LEGAL JARGON includes the phrase "prima facie case," a proposition that argues for itself on first sight. Troops to Energy Jobs - a concerted effort by the utility industry to connect American military veterans with energy jobs - fits the definition.Look at the numbers: A recently tallied jobless rate for veterans comes in at a distressing 30 percent; unemployment benefits to newly discharged...
  • THE STAMP OF POLITICS AND REGULATION ON ENERGY POLICY
    EnergyBiz  September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    IN THE MIDST of the polarizing debate in Washington over the debt ceiling and the federal deficit this summer, the five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission - Democratic and Republican appointees alike - unanimously approved a long-awaited order changing the way costs can be allocated when new transmission lines are built across several states and regional grids.The change, which...
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  • CONSUMERS’ NEEDS GROW
    EnergyBiz  September / October 2011:  The Transmission Revolution
    THE OFFICE OF THE OHIO CONSUMER COUNSEL, the state utility advocate office, is cutting its operating budget 33 percent this year, followed by a 51.3 percent reduction next year. As a result, the OCC, which is funded by assessments on utility bills totaling $1 per household per year and not through state revenues, will have dramatically fewer resources for protecting utility customers from higher...