EnergyBiz Magazine March/April 2012
In This Issue
  • THE FUEL OF CHOICE
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    THE DAWN OF THE SHALE GAS REVOLUTION has happened really fast, and it's happening in parts of the country that are densely populated and are not accustomed to this kind of energy development.As for the efforts to extract the shale gas, it is extremely unlikely that any of the small amounts of chemicals that are used in the hydraulic fracturing process could go through thousands of feet of...
  • ASSESSING THE CHALLENGES, STRATEGIZING FOR SUCCESS
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    IT IS HARD TO FRAME the magnitude of disruption now descending on the world of energy.In a few years, half of the consumers of America will have new digital eyes installed on their homes in the form of smart meters that will peer closely at their use of energy. Energy companies will have a flood of information that will disrupt the way they normally conduct business in a way it never has before."...
  • BUILDING AMERICA’S SOLAR SECTOR
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    SOLARWORLD, A GERMAN SOLAR CELL MANUFACTURER, has filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce that, if successful, would increase prices for solar cells and panels and reduce the solar industry's job growth in America. And more critically, this petition has become the first shot heard around the world in an emerging trade war between the United States and China. SolarWorld's petition is...
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  • OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    INTEGRATING RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES into the grid faces various challenges, including not having organized markets or enough transmission to transport the power."Organized markets [are] able to share that capacity within the hour and people are able to buy it when they need it," Donald Furman, senior vice president of external affairs with Iberdrola Renewables, said. "Wherever you have an...
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  • A REGIONAL RENEWABLE POWERHOUSE
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    THE VAST MONGOLIAN STEPPE sits atop an elevated plateau in Central Asia in the heart of the north-Asian wind channel, resulting in world-class wind and renewable energy potential. Mix this potential with the lowest population density in the world - half of Mongolia's 2.7 million people live in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar - and a huge landmass nearly the area of Alaska and you have the perfect...
  • THE 2012 OUTLOOK
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    The leading transmission regulator in the land envisions a day when wholesale electricity prices around the country will be close to level. It will require many miles of power lines to be built. Indeed, transmission companies and utilities have plans to plow hundreds of billions of dollars into transmission in coming decades, experts say. Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy...
  • TRANSFORMING BUSINESS
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    "BIG DATA" IS EVERYWHERE. Businesses of all sizes and types are improving or even transforming how they run operations and manage customers by leveraging data that is now available from intelligent systems across their enterprises.Utilities, too, are now beginning to realize the power of getting beyond data management to leveraging that data into a more powerful business tool. Much of this...
  • JOHNSON TO STEER LARGEST UTILITY
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    The proposed merger of Progress Energy and Duke Energy will create the largest utility in the land, a mammoth enterprise that will span six states and serve 7 million customers. Its generation muscle will amount to 57 gigawatts.William D. Johnson, Progress chairman president and chief executive officer, will serve as president and chief executive of the merged company, to be called Duke Energy....
  • A BIPARTISAN FUTURE
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    WE WERE TAUGHT in journalism school to anticipate the unanticipated, to look out for a "man bites dog" event.It is similar to the advice given on Wall Street - to buy into a bear market and sell into a bull market.That is the reason I have concluded that it is likely that a grand new energy policy will be forged by whoever is president in 2013 and Congress. I am well aware that the approval...
  • ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    OUR ENERGY OUTLOOK is at a real watershed. Tremendous change has taken place and we haven't quite yet understood its significance, but it is a positive change.Usually, energy only brings us bad or discouraging news. But now there is a great deal of potential for a more optimistic outlook, brought to North America by the tremendous availability of gas and oil from unconventional shale deposits.The...
  • ENERGY BUSINESSES CAN LEARN FROM OTHER INDUSTRIES
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    THE SMART GRID promises to enable utilities to collect more data about customer and energy distribution activities than ever before. Energy providers will be able to determine what happens along each section of the distribution network in real time 24/7.Collecting the data is just the first step in using the smart grid to streamline operations. Energy providers need to be able to find...
  • CARBON CAPTURE KEY
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    THE COAL-FIRED POWER INDUSTRY could easily and with some justification throw out to critics and naysayers the old Mark Twain quote, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."Black & Veatch, an engineering, consulting and construction company, said in a recent report that as much as 61,500 megawatts of coal capacity could be retired in the lower 48 states by 2020. But there are...
  • UTILITIES AND OTHERS HUDDLE ON SOLAR
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    SOLARTAC IS A PARTNERSHIP of solar equipment manufacturers, research organizations and electric utilities that want to make use of a real-world outdoor site to develop, test, validate or showcase solar products. The SolarTAC mission is to facilitate the commercialization of solar technologies, including photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. It does this by providing the members with readily...
  • A NEED FOR STUDY
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    THE WEST COAST OF IRELAND has one of the largest concentrations of wave energy in the world. However, one potential obstacle to tapping that energy is lack of information about the environmental impact of converting wave energy into electricity. Specifically, although the European Union's marine environmental policy has established underwater noise limits, noise emissions from energy collection...
  • DEMAND RESPONSE 2.0
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    A COLD SNAP IN FEBRUARY last year in Texas saw more than 1,000 megawatts of resources respond within minutes when a blackout appeared imminent. In July in New York, the system operator called on 2,000 megawatts of demand response resources to curtail load during an oppressive heat wave.The list of similar emergencies is long. Those are just two of the potentially disastrous events in 2011 that...
  • DEMAND RESPONSE 2.0
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    A COLD SNAP IN FEBRUARY last year in Texas saw more than 1,000 megawatts of resources respond within minutes when a blackout appeared imminent. In July in New York, the system operator called on 2,000 megawatts of demand response resources to curtail load during an oppressive heat wave.The list of similar emergencies is long. Those are just two of the potentially disastrous events in 2011 that...
  • TIME TO CROSS THE BRIDGE TO TIME-OF-USE RATES
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    DYNAMIC PRICING FOR RESIDENTIAL ELECTRICITY use will bring significant advantages to utilities and their customers. The customer response elicited by time-of-use rates will lower overall system cost, to the benefit of all consumers. Properly implemented, time-of-use rates are fairer and will induce customers to use electricity more efficiently. There is no serious debate about these statements....
  • A CONVERSATION WITH CARLOS PASCUAL
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    ENERGYBIZ  How visible will your efforts be within the State Department? What kind of priorities has Secretary of State Hillary Clinton placed on your efforts?PASCUAL The reason we're here as a bureau is because Secretary Clinton drove this process and made the decision to create us. When she came into office as the secretary of state she soon launched a quadrennial diplomacy and development...
  • HIKES HARD TO EXPLAIN
    EnergyBiz March/April 2012:  Harnessing Disruption
    DESPITE THE LETHARGIC ECONOMY and slow demand growth, public service commissioners in the United States aren't holding utilities back from making investments - and in some cases are encouraging them to invest more in their states. But the commissions are being extra diligent in asking the utilities to prove a project's economic worthiness and, in turn, are trying to better convey to ratepayers...