Archive: Business

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Dollars and Dirt: Investing in Infrastructure

The familiar saying "as goes California, so goes the nation" seems to apply to the many states that have been unable to invest in infrastructure improvements because they are crushed by debt and shrinking revenues. Will California and energy project developers continue to invest in energy infrastructure in 2010 given the limited availability of private capital, shaky state finances, and shifting regulatory climate?

TREND: Gas Rebounds

After years of decline amid rising prices and fears of scarcity, natural gas as a power-generating fuel is on a rebound in the U.S., driven by new finds in Texas and the Mid-Atlantic states. These news stories highlight the trend.

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A New Foundation for Future Growth

As the economy begins to grow again, the banking industry continues to stabilize, and lawmakers work on finalizing climate change legislation, the decisions made in 2010 will lay the foundation for the power industry for decades to come.

The U.S. Has a New Dash for Gas

Natural gas has reemerged as the choice for new electric generation, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp. Does this raise new reliability issues?

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The Impact of Carbon Trading on Performance: What Europe’s Experience Can Teach North American Generators

The European carbon trading system experience suggests that North American generators should expect severely altered coal-fired power plant operating profiles if cap-and-trade legislation becomes law. In a groundbreaking study, Solomon Associates predicts the reduction in mean run time that North American generators should expect. The trends outlined in this study provide an overview of some of the broad challenges facing generators in moving to a carbon-constrained market environment.

An Economist Looks at Climate Policy

An economist scratches his head in consternation as he looks at the discussion about climate change and energy conservation. Take his quiz to learn why commonly accepted assumptions make poor economic sense.

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Which Country’s Grid Is the Smartest?

The U.S. isn’t the only country evaluating and implementing elements of smart grid technology. In fact, it could be argued that other nations are much farther along the path to a comprehensive, technically advanced system for integrating renewables, managing load, and creating a more flexible power grid.

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A New Regulatory and Environmental Milieu

There will be no shortage of important issues to keep utility executives and their staffs busy throughout 2010. Few of these will be surprises, although a number will emerge quickly and assume larger-than-life significance. The confluence of the great recession and the sturm und drang of environmental legislation will create the liveliest of the debates, but more subtle trends will drive additional stressors. The results of Black & Veatch’s 2009 fourth annual industry strategic directions survey can offer guidance as to how these issues will affect the industry in the coming year.

Where Are the New Engineers?

The U.S. isn’t producing the workforce it needs for the future of energy generation. And forget about “green jobs,” an undefined concept.

What Do Customers Expect from the Smart Grid?

Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity enterprise in Boulder, Colo., is one of the most talked-about smart grid projects. Here’s what some Boulder utility customers are saying about it.