EnergyBiz Magazine May/June 2012
In This Issue
  • HARNESSING DISRUPTION
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    RAY ORBACH IS CREATING one of the nation's pre-eminent energy research centers at the University of Texas in Austin. At our 2012 EnergyBiz Leadership Forum in Washington this spring, Ray ticked off some of the transformational energy technologies on the horizon.The development of a $2,000 home gas compressor to power gas vehicles will roll back our dependence on the corner gas station and...
  • INSIGHTS ON THE DATA FRONT
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    TODAY, THE TERM BIG DATA draws a lot of attention from all industries, and retailers are among those that must glean insights in order to personalize offers and retain customers. Retail is detail. Operating on razor-thin margins, retailers can no longer make business decisions based on transactional data alone. They are folding in a treasure trove of less-structured data stemming from blogs,...
  • ENERGYBIZ KITE AWARD WINNERS
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    IN 1882, when Edison fired up the first power plant on Pearl Street in New York City, he had about 85 customers who forked out $5 for each and every kilowatt-hour. Electricity caught on, the price fell and the customer base grew.Change is the name of the game.But change like the industry faces today is unprecedented. The industry must change to meet the challenges of an aging - many would argue,...
  • A VISION OF CRISIS
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    DURING THE END OF MY LAST TERM in the U.S. Senate, I received a call from Mel Berger, my book agent at William Morris in New York who worked with me to find a publisher for my first two books. He told me that a publisher approached him and asked about my availability to co-author a two-book series on the subject of energy called eco thrillers. He said this publisher is very interested in...
  • GOING LARGE
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    ALASKA IS HOME to the largest battery energy storage system in the world and has one utility in the Arctic Circle leveraging battery storage to buffer the variability of wind-generated electricity.While utilities and grid operators have long viewed battery energy storage systems as highly desirable, few large-scale deployments have taken place due to the costs of the systems. But the conditions...
  • ORBACH BUILDS A RESEARCH INSTITUTE
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    Raymond L. Orbach's energy campus goes beyond just the engineering department. It harnesses the resources of many of the schools on the University of Texas at Austin campus to foster a diversified approach toward solving energy issues. The former Department of Energy undersecretary for science - the department's first chief scientist - is out to build the preeminent center of energy research and...
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  • EMISSIONS PLAN GOES FORWARD
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    CALIFORNIA IS SET TO TAKE ANOTHER JAW-DROPPING ENERGY GAMBLE WITH THE IMPENDING INTRODUCTION OF THE NATION'S MOST AMBITIOUS CAP-AND-TRADE SYSTEM, WHICH STATE ENERGY OFFICIALS BELIEVE WILL SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, BUT SKEPTICS FEAR WILL PLACE UPWARD PRESSURE ON ENERGY PRICES.The state that gained national notoriety with a botched effort to deregulate its energy industry more...
  • THE FOCUS OF THE WHITE HOUSE WORKING GROUP
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    MANY STATE UTILITY REGULATORS across the country are encouraged about the impact of energy efficiency and the potential of the smart grid. Anything we can do to lower costs, improve safety and reliability, and improve the system will help our nation become stronger and more resilient. Our colleagues in all 50 states are implementing new programs and innovative policies to bolster the stability...
  • RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARDS COULD COST OREGON JOBS
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    WHEN THE OREGON LEGISLATURE passed the renewable portfolio standard in 2007, it didn't foresee that large, energy-hungry data centers would soon become the state's newest industry. Their development is booming in the state - thanks to attractive tax breaks, some of the lowest electricity rates in the country and climato-logic conditions that help reduce energy use. These factors present a highly...
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  • A LONG COMMITMENT
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION has a long-standing commitment to supplier diversity. On March 5, 1991, District commissioners entered into a memorandum of understanding with the electric, telecommunications and natural gas utilities, namely, Pepco, Verizon and Washington Gas & Light. The agreement was well thought out and encouraged the utilities to take all the necessary...
  • RECRUITING AND TRAINING A NEW WORKFORCE
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS there have been two recurring themes in the power and energy community: an aging workforce with large numbers of retirements anticipated in the near future and the smart grid impact on the electrical delivery system. The merging of these two topics provides an opportunity for our industrial and educational groups to evaluate what the smart grid workforce for today's...
  • THE SMART GRID EDUCATION CRISIS
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    THE ELECTRIC POWER INDUSTRY faces an impending workforce crisis. To industry observers, this statement has become trite from frequent repetition. The parallel crisis in the power engineering programs at our universities is less-discussed but just as critical.Tragically, just when the industry is most in need of a new generation of power engineers trained in a broader array of technical subjects,...
  • NEW APPROACHES
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    IN THE BROADEST TERMS, electric utilities are doing what they have always done - generating electricity and delivering it to customers. But changes have occurred in the generation mix, the transmission sector's reliability enforcement, and technology among other things, said four utility chief operating officers EnergyBiz asked to talk about their jobs."Renewable energy is the political and...
  • LEARNING FROM EUROPE’S MISTAKES
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    JANUARY 1 WILL MARK THE START of a dramatically different new year in California, for it also marks the launch of California's greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program established by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state legislature in 2006. California has moved deliberately to ensure that our program will effectively reduce GHG emissions while avoiding any serious pitfalls. California is not...
  • MOVING AHEAD WITH LESS GOVERNMENT HELP
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY isn't just compact fluorescent light bulbs, stingy appliances or deeper insulation. They still matter, but the industry is looking more to better home heating systems as well.A few initiatives are under way to squeeze more juice out of existing power plants or to use generation more wisely. And as the programs come at a cost, an equally valuable part of the effort is finding...
  • SERVING SMALL AREAS DOESN’T MAKE PROBLEMS SMALLER
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    EnergyBiz sat down with seven electric cooperative senior executives at a recent meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to discuss their major challenges. Concerns included the distraction if not the disruptive effect of regulation, the effect of the economy on load growth and the effect of state requirements for the use of renewable energy to generate electricity....
  • LEADING BY EXAMPLE
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    STATES LIKE PENNSYLVANIA are looking to lead by example on energy efficiency through proposed legislative measures.According to House Bill 179 and Senate Bill 153, Pennsylvania "should lead by example in adopting, implementing and promoting energy efficiency and in using renewable, locally produced biofuels and bioenergy."The legislation calls for the state Department of General Services to...
  • ADVANCING ENERGY EFFICIENCY
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    FROM CAULKING WINDOWS to turning in old refrigerators, demand-side energy efficiency programs have been around for years. These programs often require customers to change their behaviors or make large purchases that are not always affordable to all customer classes. As a result, the lack of program adoption tends to leave utilities falling short of their energy savings objectives.That's not to...
  • RICH ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    TRADITIONALLY, NATURAL GAS-FIRED POWER has been used for peaking purposes, with generators running for only a few hours on select hot summer days. With the recent abundance of natural gas driving prices down, these plants are being dispatched more throughout the year. This is good news for consumers who will enjoy lower energy prices as a result of low gas prices. But what does this mean for...
  • WORRYING ABOUT EPA REVIEW
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    DRIVING UP THE EFFICIENCY of aging coal-fired power plants is a key priority for some power generators as they look to get several positive bangs for their bucks, including reduced CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generated.Power plants, like automobile engines, lose efficiency as they wear. But other factors figure into this power-loss equation, like add-on air emissions controls that...
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  • THE UTILITY ANALYTICS VALUE CURVE
    EnergyBiz May/June 2012:  The Cap
    THE LAST DECADE has seen North American utilities invest billions of dollars in smart grid and smart meter systems that are changing decadesold business practices. One result of these investments is the on-slaught of data masses never before seen in utilities. While this creates some challenges, the opportunities in leveraging this data via analytics-based applications and processes are enormous....