EnergyBiz Magazine January/February 2012
In This Issue
  • EXECUTIVES WILL PROBE RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    AS I PUT TOGETHER the content for Energy-Biz, I am privileged to have access to thoughtful, powerful executives, leading government officials and industry experts. We routinely discuss the most pressing long-term issues facing our energy sector.One overarching theme has emerged from these conversations in recent months, focusing thoughts and concerns that have been bubbling up for years:...
  • LAUNCH OF POWER PLANT SITE
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    GenerationHub, a new, online, interactive intelligence service designed for generation executives and decision- makers, is intended to help with owning, building, operating, planning or regulating power generation.The GenerationHub subscription service offers free hand-picked news content, blogs and a primer along with industry-exclusive intelligence. Subscribers receive an in-depth database with...
  • GOLD MOUSE WINNER
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    For the third consecutive Congress, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's bipartisan Web site has been singled out as one of the best on Capitol Hill, receiving a coveted 112th Congress Gold Mouse award.In an evaluation of all 618 congressional Web sites, the energy committee was the only U.S. Senate committee to win a Gold Mouse. The Congressional Management Foundation, a nonprofit...
  • THE CHALLENGE OF MAINTAINING CREDIT QUALITY
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    UNDERLYING THE INVESTMENT-GRADE CHARACTER of the U.S. investorowned electric utility industry rests the monopolistic structure of the industry and the framework of state rate-setting jurisdiction. These two features propel utilities into a credit stature that few corporate industries enjoy. Indeed, without such an underpinning, the industry would exhibit a credit profile that is more speculative...
  • A Q&A WITH REP. ED WHITFIELD
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    WHEN REPUBLICATIONS TOOK CONTROL OF CONGRESS two years ago, their influence over the future of national energy policy increased. The Obama administration subsequently rolled back several regulatory initiatives central to the utility sector. To better understand how House Republicans view the future of energy policy, EnergyBiz submitted questions to Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., the chairman of the...
  • THE ARGUMENT FOR RENEWABLE TAX INCENTIVES
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    SUPPORT FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY is critical to American businesses, consumers, our national security and our environment. Investing in our budding clean energy businesses is vitally important for the American economy because it creates jobs, curbs our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, and creates the market certainty that fuels continued growth in the renewable energy sector.Federal energy tax...
  • OGE ENERGY’S REID NUTTALL
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    REID NUTTALL, vice president of information technology and chief information officer of OGE Energy, received the 2011 CIO of the Year KITE Award at the Knowledge2011 Executive Summit in early November.The KITE Awards - representing knowledge, innovation, technology and excellence - recognize utility leaders who have moved their companies forward through strategic initiatives, measurable...
  • GETTING PAST SOLYNDRA
    EnergyBiz - January/February 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    LAST FALL, WHEN SOLYNDRA COLLAPSED, it left many Democrats and the White House red-faced. And regardless of what investigations of the solar company ultimately find, the company failure was red meat for Republicans. Never mind the arguments made by Democrats that the loan guarantee program that had been so lucrative for the solar company was designed to help risky ventures, or that Solyndra's $...
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  • TRANSFORMING TRANSMISSION
    EnergyBiz - January/February 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    TO SURVIVE, modern man requires electricity. Electricity to work, to cook and to play.It is a paradox that we cannot imagine living without electricity, while we at the same time do not accept the power pylon as a part of our cultural landscape.They dominate the landscape with visual noise.Power pylons perform a vital function. Nevertheless, most people regard them as a threat. They are perceived...
  • What's Top of Mind for CFOs?
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    UTILITIES ARE PREPARING to make an unprecedented mountain of capital expenditures, yet sales have been flat in recent recessionary years. Regulators are increasingly concerned about rising rates. And several huge utility merger deals are nearing completion, changing the industry landscape.Challenges continue to mount for utilities and energy companies as they execute their mission to provide...
  • A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    WHILE POLICYMAKERS LOOK for new ways to add jobs to the economy, they need to remember the critical role that American coal is already playing in protecting our jobs and helping our economy. Just as the Hippocratic Oath compels doctors to "first, do no harm," so, too, must our elected and appointed officials ensure that any actions they take will not harm coal and, by extension, our nation's...
  • SHALE GAS IGNITES CHANGE
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    COMPANIES THAT BUILT TERMINALS to import liquefied natural gas during the past decade watched shale gas development boost supply and restrain prices. Now a handful of them are preparing to profit nicelyCheniere Energy Partners' recent October announcement of the first sale-and-purchase agreement for liquid natural gas from its Sabine Pass LNG receiving terminal capped a nearly decade-long effort...
  • ONE WINNER MAY BE NUCLEAR
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    WHEN GULF POWER IN PENSACOLA, FLA., began making plans in 2008 for a new power plant, things looked different than they do now."Load projections were much more optimistic than they are today," said the utility's public affairs manager, Sandy Sims. "We've slowed down our planning."But the Southern Company subsidiary has been buying up land about 35 miles north of Pensacola and so far has assembled...
  • ELEVATING THE PRIVATE SECTOR’S ROLE
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    AS CARLOS PASCUAL SEES IT, energy is at the core of America's power and influence in the world. The Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have tapped Pascual, the former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, to head a significant ramp up of the resources our government dedicates to advance the combined energy and strategic interests of America.Clinton this fall established a Bureau of...
  • ITER TRANSITIONS TO DEVELOPMENT STAGE
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    DESPITE NUMEROUS DELAYS and the looming threat of budget cuts due to the poor global economy, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, an international project to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source, has reached a new stage in its development."We are poised to transition from design work into fabrication," said William Cahill, federal project director at the U.S....
  • TIME TO BUILD OFFSHORE WIND
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2012:  Funding the Enterprise
    A RECENT POLL conducted on behalf of the Atlantic Wind Connection found that over 78 percent of mid-Atlantic residents favored the development of offshore wind power and are willing to pay more on their electric bills for this clean resource. Clearly, a large majority of people wants energy that is actually clean and not just advertised to be clean, and fortunately they recognize they will have...
  • SOLARWORLD’S GORDON BRINSER
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    The trade dispute between China and America over solar power is heating up. Leading the battle on this side of the Pacific is SolarWorld, one of a handful of companies that asked the U.S. Department of Commerce to investigate whether Chinese manufacturers have dumped solar panels in America at prices below their costs.SolarWorld Industries America, a subsidiary of SolarWorld of Germany, employs 3...
  • THE PROMISE OF THE GAS REVOLUTION
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    NATURAL GAS IS AMERICA'S DOMESTIC, clean foundation fuel for the present and our long-term future. Natural gas touches nearly every segment of American life. It is the dominant source of energy for heat and hot water in residences and businesses across this country. It also cooks our food, dries our clothes, powers industry and generates electricity. The natural gas industry supports the...
  • GOING TO THE MAT
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    THREE ISSUES ARE LIKELY TO DOMINATE the 2012 election season and crowd out almost all other concerns: jobs, jobs and jobs. As a result, there's little chance that anything more than piecemeal energy legislation will be enacted until after the election. And while the public may focus on energy-related headlines such as the high price of gasoline and the pros and cons of drilling for shale gas,...
  • TRENDS EXPLORED AT KNOWLEDGE2011
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    EnergyBiz recently sat down with electric utility chief executive officers gathered in Florida for Knowledge2011 to discuss the issues of most importance to their companies in 2012. Their comments, edited for style and length, follow.ENERGYBIZ What is the biggest challenge facing the electric utility industry?HATRIDGE Certainly, an aging workforce is a business issue with us. The big challenge of...
  • COMPLEX ISSUES SHAPE PROGRESS
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    THE WATERS FOR OFFSHORE WIND DEVELOPMENT seemed relatively calm in late 2011, but that was only on the surface.Without a headline announcement - think Google buying into a transmission project - the offshore wind industry may seem inactive, or at least too quiet. That's hardly the case.The first federal lease for offshore wind in federal waters was announced over a year ago. Secretary of the...
  • INDUSTRY REACTS TO FEDERAL INITIATIVE
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    ON A CRISP OCTOBER DAY, the U.S. Department of Energy held a public information meeting in the Washington, D.C., suburbs to introduce the newly formed Battery and Energy Storage Hub and take formal comments and questions from their stakeholders. The meeting came after DOE had submitted its 2012 federal fiscal year budget request of $34 million for the hub and after the House and the Senate put $...
  • PAYING FOR THE RENAISSANCE
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    IF THE UNITED STATES is to see a nuclear power renaissance, rate increases in many states will kick in long before the plants are operational. For utility customers in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida they already have.Georgia Power, part of Southern Co., announced a monthly increase of 57 cents for the average customer beginning January 2012 for financing two additional nuclear reactors at...
  • THE PROMISE OF NEW MATERIALS PROCESSING
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    TRANSISTORS, BIOTECHNOLOGY AND PLASTIC - throughout history, revolutionary technical advances have emerged and changed how businesses operate. Nanotechnology, which dramatically alters the way that materials are put together, is emerging as the latest entrant on that list. "Nanotechnology has the potential to be the most revolutionary development in this century," said Jack W. Plunkett, the chief...
  • EMPLOYING THE BEST COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY
    EnergyBiz - Jan/Feb 2011:  Funding the Enterprise
    THE NATION'S POWER SECTOR is facing unprecedented changes, ranging from high levels of intermittent loading from renewable portfolio standards to complex cyber-security threats. New technology options, such as bulk electricity storage and plug-in electric vehicles, further complicate matters for power companies and ratepayers. State and federal policy changes require changes to the power system,...