EnergyBiz Magazine July/August 2012
In This Issue
  • HARMONIZING THE NATURAL GAS AND ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    THE SURGE OF NATURAL GAS made available through advanced exploration and production technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has been heralded as a potential game changer in providing an abundant resource to address our country's future energy demand. Seemingly a fortnight ago, conventional wisdom had the United States relying on greater imports of liquefied natural gas....
  • UTILITY INVESTMENTS PAY OFF
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS THE LOW-HANGING FRUIT of a sustainable energy future, but it's not being harvested to anything like the extent it needs to be across our nation. Utilities are a key to changing this picture. No other industry is better placed to put its strengths to work to help customers save energy and money while reducing pressures on the environment - and providing value to shareholders,...
  • TECHNOLOGIES HEAL IRAQ’S POWER GRID
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    THE POWER SYSTEM IN BAGHDAD needs both refurbishment and expansion. Power supplies are currently unreliable and there's a heavy reliance on diesel generators. Blackouts can last for six to eight hours and load-shedding is not planned, making it difficult for businesses to operate.It's particularly hard in summer, but there are problems year-round and the country has to import electricity from...
  • A Global Race
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    SMART CITIES ARE EMERGING on an international level. This should come as no surprise.Migration patterns to urban areas are more acute in developing nations than in the United States, creating megacities from Mumbai to Shanghai, across the Middle East and down to Sao Paulo. These cities are becoming economic engines with business as the driver and technology as the fuel.The cost of energy is...
  • ANSWERING CYBER THREATS
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    THE NATION'S ELECTRIC GRID, often called the world's largest machine, has always faced a range of security concerns. Some are physical, like the thousands of miles of transmission lines, isolated substations and transmission structures that could be vandalized or targeted, and the natural gas transportation system, which electric generators increasingly depend upon.Today, cybersecurity is the...
  • PROTECTING NORTH AMERICAN POWER
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    THE NORTH AMERICAN ELECTRIC GRID is vital to our everyday lives; therefore it is vitally important that we have a robust set of standards and programs in place to ensure its security. The North American Electric Reliability Corp.'s mission is to ensure the reliability of the North American bulk power system. To do this, NERC uses a variety of tools, activities and strategies to help the 1,895...
  • OPTIMIZING TRANSMISSION
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    ALLOWING MULTIVALUE cost recovery for bulk storage similar to treatment enjoyed by transmission project developers under federal regulations could be the final policy piece that unlocks the potential of storage to integrate renewable energy and strengthen the grid.Large-scale or regional bulk energy storage projects have characteristics similar to transmission projects. On the one hand, they...
  • BUILDING WAREHOUSES FOR ENERGY STORAGE
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    EXCITING NEW ADVANCEMENTS in power generation and fuel technologies over the past few years have the U.S. electrical sector feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. New combined-cycle gas turbine power plants produce electricity at the highest levels of efficiency with lower overall emissions. Innovative natural gas production techniques have resulted in an abundance of domestic fuel for these...
  • FORGING A MODERN GRID
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    ENERGY STORAGE IS COMMONLY associated with intermittent renewable energy integration and is too high-priced to be a real factor in the electricity market. But the reality is that energy storage solutions are capable of offering much broader benefits than supporting integration of renewable energy alone. Storage is vital for meeting current energy demands as well as preparing for changes in future...
  • TECHNOLOGY HELPS REDUCE ENERGY USAGE
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    COMPUTER INTELLIGENCE is transforming the world's energy delivery systems into a smart grid, one capable of monitoring changes in supply and demand. Similar concepts, including smart cities, are emerging among municipalities. "A smart city uses information and communication technologies to be more intelligent and efficient in the consumption of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings,...
  • NEW TOOL AIDS SOLAR PLANNERS
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    WHEN YOU VISIT ARIZONA'S SONORAN DESERT, you are struck by its immenseness, its vast openness and its raw geology. If you are in the energy business, you also immediately recognize the opportunity to harness massive solar resources in Arizona to power the needs of population centers all over the country. There is good reason for this optimistic outlook, and it makes sense that much of this...
  • FOCUSING ON PERSISTENCE AND CAPABILITY
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    THE HARDEST MOMENT in the harrowing Navy SEAL training is not when your hands are tied behind your back and you're thrown into the pool to retrieve your diving mask, or when you have to take your turn carrying a wounded comrade for miles along with your heavy gear, or when you get virtually no sleep through the endless physical trials of Hell Week.No, Eric Greitens told a rapt audience at the 4th...
  • A CONVERSATION WITH INDUSTRY EXECUTIVES
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    Disruption can be unsettling - or it can be an opportunity to transform an organization to better execute its evolving mission. So says a group of diverse executives who took part in an informal roundtable discussion at the 2012 EnergyBiz Leadership Forum in Washington this spring. Their comments, edited for style and length, follow.ENERGYBIZ What are the most disruptive forces affecting your...
  • AN INTERVIEW WITH RICK NEEDHAM
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    When Google speaks - or acts - it commands attention across the American economy. What the iconic company thinks about the future of energy is important to utilities, energy companies, diverse energy users and policymakers. EnergyBiz recently interviewed Rick Needham, director of energy and sustainability at Google. His comments, edited for style and length, follow.ENERGYBIZ What is Google...
  • A NEED FOR TEAMS
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    UTILITIES MUST DEAL with a great deal of change. There is the combination of regulatory issues, innovation issues and technology issues, all of which demand that you have solid leaders and capable teams that are able to integrate quickly and respond to change and challenge.One of the key things that they teach in SEAL teams is that in order to be successful in any operation, you have to be able...
  • DIVERSE STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSION
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    THE LAST TWO YEARS marked the changing of the guard at several utilities. In 2010 and 2011, several utilities introduced new CEOs, including Nicholas Akins at AEP, Anthony Earley at PG&E and Thomas Fanning at Southern Company. Christopher Crane emerged as CEO when Exelon combined with Constellation Energy.SNL Energy studied the annual reports of energy companies and ranked the highest-earning...
  • GENERATION OF CHOICE
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    SIGNS OF THE RISE OF NATURAL GAS in electric power generation are seemingly everywhere. Each passing month brings news of coal plant retirements and plans for more combined-cycle plants fueled by cheap gas.Recent conversations with industry insiders also indicate that neither pipeline infrastructure constraints nor potential new regulation of natural gas production - especially hydraulic...
  • NEW PATHS IN A SOCIAL MEDIA ERA
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    SO, WHAT'S THE SECRET to succeeding in business? If you have to ask, you deserve the answer: It's the customer, stupid.But that hasn't always been the case, at least not for electric utilities. Since electrons began moving from generating plants to homes and businesses more than a hundred years ago, there really were no customers for electricity any more than there were customers for water or air...
  • A PRACTICAL AND FAIR APPROACH
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    THE DODD-FRANK RULE defining swap dealers frees almost all electric utilities - at least temporarily - from having to register with a soon-to-be-created federally authorized swaps data repository and the substantial costs associated with that registration. The Edison Electric Institute, which coordinated lobbying on the issue, hailed the $8 billion de minimis exemption included in the swap dealer...
  • STATE REGULATORS STAY VIGILANT
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    SMART GRID TECHNOLOGY offers tremendous potential benefits to consumers and utilities alike. Improvements in reliability, efficiency, mitigating or reducing the price of electricity, and providing new products and services that give consumers greater choice and flexibility are just a few of these benefits. However, new technology means new security risks to both consumers and utilities.Recently,...
  • AGENCY SEEKS TO REMOVE IMPEDIMENTS
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been in the process of implementing new, streamlined licensing procedures, and this spring the first new nuclear projects in decades were approved - two new reactors at the SCANA-owned V.C. Summer Plant, and two others at the Southern Company-owned Plant Vogtle.In an interview with EnergyBiz, the NRC's Mike Johnson, who took over as...
  • MORE THAN A COLD BEER
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    SMART GRID THIS, smart grid that. One leading industry executive tells me that no one knows what precisely it is and that sharply limits its usefulness in business strategizing. He said that for some, it is merely synonymous with smart meters.In addition, that executive said, many in the power industry have used smart grid as a generalized platform to overpromise a host of services that would...
  • LEADERSHIP, TACT AND ADAPTABILITY
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    WHAT DOES IT TAKE to lead an energy utility?For the past 30-odd years, the answer was steadiness. The executives who ran large utilities during the latter part of the 20th century did not focus on building new power plants or transporting fuel to far-off places; they concentrated on maintaining existing facilities and ensuring the safe and uninterrupted delivery of fuel to customers.There were...
  • OPTIMIZING PROPERTIES
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
     MODERN OFFICE TOWERS dominate the skylines of the world's great cities, and occupants of these structures consume up to 40 percent of the total energy usage of the cities in which they work and live. There is an emerging need to more efficiently manage the energy use of this existing office inventory, as well as new space under construction across the world.Luckily, a revolution in energy...
  • KEEP THE LIGHTS ON
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    MY RETIREMENT FROM EXELON after its acquisition of Constellation Energy ends a 28-year career at the helm of public utilities - half of that spent at Exelon.For almost three decades, I have enjoyed the very special privilege of keeping the lights on in six states - leading Central Maine Power through a political and financial crisis created by uneconomic nuclear plants; leading New England...
  • KEEP THE LIGHTS ON
    EnergyBiz July/August 2012: SMART
    MY RETIREMENT FROM EXELON after its acquisition of Constellation Energy ends a 28-year career at the helm of public utilities - half of that spent at Exelon.For almost three decades, I have enjoyed the very special privilege of keeping the lights on in six states - leading Central Maine Power through a political and financial crisis created by uneconomic nuclear plants; leading New England...