Regulators Must Mirror the Greening of America’s Power Supply

COMMENTARY The 19th-century electrical grid has had a good run in the United States. For more than 100 years, it has reliably provided electricity to end-users based on the premise that a centralized generation and transmission model was the way to go. Large coal, hydro and (later) nuclear generating facilities would produce huge amounts of […]

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Lessons in Backup Power Generation from South Australia

Electricity demand spiked considerably in South Australia this past January as residents tried to stay cool in the middle of a record heat wave that brought temperatures up to 46.6°C (or about 115°F). To ensure a stable power supply would be available, the South Australian government fired up two power plants (276 MW) that the […]

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Hackers May Already be in Your Infrastructure—Now What?

Cyber-attacks on industrial control systems (ICSs) are no longer a hypothetical. As pieced together by the Wall Street Journal, in 2017, Russian hackers attacked a small construction company, exploiting the organization’s connections with utilities and government agencies. Through an integrator, the hackers accessed computer-network credentials, giving them the ability to get into computer systems that […]

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Introducing the Spectrum of Utility Solar Actions

Consumer interest in rooftop solar is higher than ever. The most recent numbers from Pew Research show 89% of U.S. adults favor the expanded use of solar power, while only 9% oppose. Historically, this interest has only been met by solar salespeople, which can create a consumer protection risk. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken notice: […]

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How the Digital Twin Is Propelling Time Travel within the Power Industry

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could travel in time? From space travel and self-driving vehicles to video calls and virtual reality, innovations in technology continue to push the boundary between science fiction and science fact. In the power industry, we are witnessing a dramatic transformation, as wireless networking technologies drive advancements in the Internet […]

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Recent U.S. Utilities Bankruptcies Raise Important Questions About Safe Harbor for Forward Contracts

COMMENTARY Are power purchase and similar agreements excluded from the automatic stay under the safe harbor for forward contracts? Both the FirstEnergy Solutions and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) bankruptcies have seen proceedings regarding power purchase and similar agreements (PPAs) that raise this question. Contracts often contain provisions that enable a party to terminate or modify […]

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Wait a Minute! The Diablo Canyon Panel Is Working!

COMMENTARY On January 29, POWER magazine published a local viewpoint from one of the members of the Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel (DCDEP). In the commentary, Alex Karlin urged the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to take immediate action to replace the current DCDEP with an independent community advisory panel for purposes of monitoring and […]

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Independent Panel Needed for Diablo Canyon Decommissioning

COMMENTARY Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s (PG&E’s) bankruptcy underscores the need for an independent advisory board to monitor, and help San Luis Obispo and the surrounding community navigate through, the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant decommissioning process. The existing panel—the Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel (DCDEP)—was created by PG&E to serve as a “public relations […]

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