EnergyBiz Magazine September / October 2012
In This Issue
  • THE PROMISE AND UNTAPPED MARKETS
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    THE U.S. NUCLEAR ENERGY INDUSTRY HAS enjoyed significant accomplishments in the last year, including the issuance of the first construction and operating licenses for nuclear power plants in the United States in over 30 years.We've also been faced with major challenges, including economic uncertainties that are slowing domestic expansion of nuclear energy.And today, foreign competitors are making...
  • A TIME SAVINGS
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    SANDIA LABS and the Department of Energy have developed a free Web-based tool for utilities and regulators to evaluate the technology and cost issues of using four different energy storage technologies and a variety of different battery types.The Energy Storage Select tool lets a user conduct a quick, high-level analysis of energy storage options and determine the value of different energy...
  • Moving Solar Forward
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    WHEN SEPA brought a group of U.S. utilities to Germany in June for a first-hand look at the world's solar leader, the question our members asked throughout the weeklong trip was, "How can they keep this up?"In the United States, solar power has gained strong momentum, but is nothing close to the installed solar capacity of Germany, which has more than six times that of the United States.Germany's...
  • RENEWABLE DEVELOPMENT TOOLS
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    HAITI POSSESSES SIGNIFICANT renewable energy potential: full solar irradiance occurs 300 days a year, predictable daily trade winds on the coast are funneled through mountain passes, and streams and rivulets run down from the mountains that form the interior of the country. The Haitian government is offering energy credits for installation of green energy up to a total of $200 million. Numerous...
  • EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    KEVIN BURKE was about to face a major labor crisis. Jim Rogers would soon be embroiled in controversy surrounding a long, carefully planned merger to create one of the nation's largest utilities.Dealing with unanticipated big issues goes along with the job of utility chief executive officer. As the industry grows and changes, the challenges and their consequences multiply.EnergyBiz sat down with...
  • PUBLIC POWER FOCUSES ON MISSION
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    GOVERNMENT MANDATES pile up like never before with sweeping consequences, while new technology reshapes the business. It is a time of profound change, according to leaders of public power entities who recently met with EnergyBiz editors at the American Public Power Association's annual meeting. The association represents 2,000 community-owned utilities serving 46 million Americans. The responses...
  • ANALYTICS REALIGNING UTILITY IT
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    THE UTILITY INDUSTRY is forging ahead with more advanced analytics. More than 65 percent of North American utilities have some sort of advanced analytics initiative in the planning or implementation stage today, according to the Utility Analytics Institute, a division of Energy Central.This new wave of analytics initiatives is about more than having a database, extracting data and analyzing...
  • FOSTERING INNOVATION
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    THE WAY COMPANIES use technology and partner with IT continues to evolve. As a result, IT is becoming more and more of a strategic partner across all areas of the business. Southern Company IT is meeting this growth in demand by supporting new insights, enabling the business and promoting innovation.At the same time the technology industry is working hard to provide customers with valuable...
  • ENERGY INDUSTRY MUST COMMAND THEIR ATTENTION
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    READ OUR COVER STORY - toward the end - and weep.Some of the most thoughtful executives in the utility industry say they see little chance of a meaningful national energy policy emerging in Washington.We can agonize about all the institutional failures that have brought us to this juncture. Foremost among them is the poisonous, destructive atmosphere created by those men and women in Washington...
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  • THE ROLE OF INFORMATION SHARING
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    THE NATURE OF THE CYBER THREAT to our nation's electric grid and the efforts at both the national level and state regulator levels to address this threat are well documented.A recently reported example of these evolving vulnerabilities is that of the Niagara Framework. The Framework, a suite of interface software used to connect users to a wide range of SCADA-associated functions across a broad...
  • A CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL R. NIGGLI
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    San Diego Gas & Electric is pioneering the utility industry's technology future. It is a leader in deploying and integrating renewables and is preparing for a potential major rollout of electric vehicles in its service territory. EnergyBiz recently interviewed Michael R. Niggli, the company's president and chief operating officer, to discuss his views on the ongoing transformation of the...
  • BOOSTING RENEWABLES
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, long at the cutting edge of a number of renewable energy initiatives, is now turning its efforts to another controversial area: feed-in tariff or FIT programs for solar energy. The state legislature, the public utilities commission and individual investor-owned and municipal utilities are all moving in various degrees toward instituting FIT programs designed to boost...
  • POSSIBLE WINNER BY 2025
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    A SERIES OF NEW AND PENDING Environmental Protection Agency regulations have led many to question the future of coal as a fossil source of electricity generation. In October 2011, the EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule with a compliance date of January 1 and replaced the Clean Air Interstate Rule of 2005, which had been remanded to the EPA by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C....
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  • THE REAL NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE?
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY will soon award matching grants totaling $452 million over a five-year period to help guide two small modular nuclear reactor designs through the licensing process to actual operation by the year 2022. Several firms are competing for the grants, and as important as the grants will be to the winners, the DOE has a much more ambitious goal. It hopes to spur a nuclear...
  • BALANCING SUPPLY AND DEMAND
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    ALTHOUGH LOAD GROWTH has been rare in much of the country lately, the demand for electricity in Texas continues to rise. Economic opportunities, along with a variety of rural and urban lifestyle options, continue to attract new residents, businesses and industries.Since the retail electric market that serves most of the consumers in Texas was restructured more than a decade ago, there has been...
  • RECOVERY ACT REPORT CARD
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    WHEN THE GREAT DEPRESSION hit the United States, Herbert Hoover followed by Franklin Roosevelt eagerly channeled government funds into the country's biggest shovel-ready project of the era - the mammoth hydroelectric facility we know today as the Hoover Dam.The immediate goal was to put people back to work and to jump-start an economic recovery, but the means chosen was a long-term infrastructure...
  • FINDING THE NEXT GENERATION OF POWER ENGINEERS
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    TWO WORDS REVERBERATED at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) panel on "Building the Technical Workforce for Our Energy Future" held in mid-June at the Explorers Club in New York: demographics and pipeline. Because many engineers are nearing retirement and there aren't enough technical graduates in the United States to fill the expected openings, utilities face a severe...
  • FOCUSING ON COLLABORATION
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    AN OLD INFRASTRUCTURE SYSTEM will likely provide most U.S. utilities with ample investment opportunities in the next several decades. These investment opportunities in core regulated operations, combined with more constructive regulatory practices to encourage infrastructure investment, should fuel attractive investor returns. However, despite an attractive longer-term sector outlook, individual...
  • FACING THE ABYSS
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    JAN BLITTERSDORF has seen the ups and downs of the wind industry for 30 years, so the expected slump that will hit the sector when a key subsidy expires for the fourth time in two decades shouldn't be anything new.The earliest of the early indicators of industry health, the wind measurement equipment manufacturer NRG Systems, where Blittersdorf is president and CEO, demonstrates the future...
  • AMEREN ENDORSES SMALL NUCLEAR
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    IN MISSOURI, an unprecedented alliance formed to strongly support Westinghouse's application to the Department of Energy for up to $452 million in cost-shared investments in the next generation of nuclear power - small modular reactors.This alliance consists of every electric provider in Missouri, including Ameren Missouri, all investor-owned utilities, cooperatives and municipals; bipartisan...
  • ADDRESSING A DISTRIBUTED ENERGY FUTURE
    EnergyBiz September / October 2012:  Executive Vision
    DISTRIBUTED ENERGY is among the chief long-term business challenges for Sun Belt utilities.As customers increasingly install electric grid-connected solar panels, become more energy efficient or otherwise reduce demand on the grid, the utility is still standing by to provide full service at night and on cloudy days. The costs to provide these standby services are nearly the same as without the...