EnergyBiz Magazine November/December 2012
In This Issue
  • CHICAGO UTILITY SETS INCENTIVES
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    WITH THE EXPONENTIAL INCREASE in data available through digital channels and the enhanced need to store this information, the need for data centers is growing along with the associated energy requirements.Data centers are major consumers of energy. They are responsible for approximately 2 percent of the kilowatt-hours consumed in the United States and they count on uninterrupted power to support...
  • ENERGY POLICY NEEDED
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    THE EPIC POWER OUTAGE in Cuba recently added to a summer of similar blackouts across the globe. Electricity outages in Egypt, Pakistan and Australia disrupted huge economies and everyday life in the past few months, and the largest electric blackout in history continues to wreak havoc on livelihoods and productivity in India.Blackouts serve as a reminder that a stable electricity grid is not a...
  • A CONVERSATION WITH THOMAS A. FANNING
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    Thomas A. Fanning oversees the Southern Company utility empire, serving 4.4 million customers across a broad swatch of the Southeast. The company is on the leading edge of development of a new generation of nuclear power in America with its Vogtle 3 and 4 units that are now under construction.Fanning, 55, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the company, is not shy about making a...
  • Industry Slow to Confront Problem
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    AT THE BEGINNING OF AUGUST, Energy Future Holdings, the Texas company that owns Oncor, Luminant and TXU, began an aggressive effort to overhaul its balance sheet - specifically, reducing what top executives saw as a growing burden from the company's pension plan. The company announced plans to top up its underfunded pension plan, then shut it down by offering employees the opportunity to take...
  • OFFSHORE WIND STILL PROMISING
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR has a high density of power demand, a congested electric transmission grid and a deep resistance to construction of obtrusive industrial infrastructure. Robert L. Mitchell sees opportunity in the situation. As CEO of Atlantic Wind Connection, he is developing an undersea transmission cable to run offshore from northern New Jersey to southern Virginia, with five or more...
  • WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    STATE REGULATORS tackle the future of energy efficiency, generation, transmission and much more. In a period of sustained economic hardship, they determine how our power system will be paid for.To better understand the issues they confront at the close of 2012, EnergyBiz recently interviewed a group of regulators from around the country. Their comments, edited for style and length, follow....
  • ENHANCING RELIABILITY
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
     OUR POWER SYSTEM IS CHANGING. Historically, we’ve operated the supply side of the power system deterministically. We estimated the load and then dialed in the required amount of generation. The U.S. Department of Energy said that 32 percent of added generation in 2011 came from wind energy. The supply side now includes large quantities of renewable resources that are intermittent in nature...
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  • NAVIGATING FEDERAL, STATE TENSIONS
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    SINCE BEING CONFIRMED to a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this summer, I have been asked two questions more than any others. First, how does Washington compare with North Dakota? And second, what is your impression of how the role of a federal commissioner compares with that of a state commissioner?As to the first question, let's just say the morning commute is trickier than it...
  • INVIGORATING AGING INFRASTRUCTURE
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    AGING POWER GRIDS are increasingly being stressed as operators must more frequently deliver peak loads to meet the demands of record high temperatures nationwide in the United States, meet the growing power needs in developing countries, and incorporate renewable energy sources into the mix worldwide.This, in turn, is driving the development of new technologies and varied approaches to better...
  • OREGON'S PIONEERING EFFORT
    EnergyBiz November/December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    THE UNITED STATES has a golden opportunity to become a recognized leader in wave energy technology. No one need look beyond national media for proof of progress, with stories like the first Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license issuance for a wave energy project, and the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) opening its open-ocean test facility in Newport, Ore.As...
  • RIPE FOR A NEW APPROACH
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    OVER 40 YEARS AGO, Boulder, Colo., did something crazy. We became the first to approve a tax dedicated to purchasing Open Space, which led to a firm urban growth boundary even as we watched our neighboring communities grow and sprawl, and were told it was "obvious" that Boulder's approach spelled economic ruin. Funny thing: our 70 square miles of Open Space - and our many other innovative and...
  • BE REALISTIC
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    THE CITY OF BOULDER, COLO.'S, PLAN to municipalize electric distribution falls into the category of large projects that are wildly optimistic. As a city council member I have found it frustrating that I could not convince a majority of my fellow council members that municipalization is a bad idea.There are more than 20 municipal utilities in Colorado. However, they are all more than 50 years old...
  • SOLARIZE PORTLAND
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    SOLARIZE PORTLAND begin in 2008 when Stephanie Stewart, a resident of the Mount Tabor neighborhood in southeast Portland, Ore., heard about the photovoltaic group purchasing campaigns that were then taking place in the Bay Area. An active member of her neighborhood association, Stewart saw an opportunity for that group to organize a similar campaign for neighbors to go solar together and obtain a...
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  • OPPORTUNITIES NOW, THREATS LATER
    EnergyBiz November / December 2012: Pension Liabilities Loom
    AMERICA'S REGULATED UTILITY COMPANIES have strong credit ratings for good reason. They are local monopolies providing an essential service without practical substitutes, are assured recovery of approved costs and have a decades-long history of funding access. Utility executives' risk-management acumen has rarely been a key driver in our ratings, but times may be changing. Prolonged periods of...