What is the smart grid all about? A new book—a dictionary—attempts to define and demystify the jargon and bafflegab surrounding the buzzing smart grid. It’s a somewhat flawed but worthwhile first attempt at unraveling the often bizarre and sometimes baloney-filled smart grid nomenclature.
While industry interests were trying to get on board the smart grid gravy train last fall in Washington, D.C., in rural West Virginia folks were dealing with the force of a political locomotive pushing a high-voltage interstate grid, with property owners opposed and labor in favor.
In a series of ironies, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has voted to reject an early finding that the U.S. can adequately manage nuclear reactor spent fuel, in the wake of the Obama administration’s decision to pull the radioactive plug on Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. The vote by the majority Republicans on the commission effectively puts a temporary ban on new nuclear reactor construction in the U.S.
It’s no longer a 9-to-5 world. Management gurus Peter Stark and Jane Flaherty offer advice on how to manage time in today’s multi-tasking environment.
Natural gas is back, says gas guru Bobby Hefner, and in a big way. New technologies, new discoveries, low prices, and new optimism characterize a natural gas industry that just three years ago was bemoaning its future and looking to foreign LNG imports as the industry’s salvation. Today, the gloom is gone, and the gas folks are clicking their gaseous heels in glee.
Most of the big utilities, with an eye to ensuring a good mix of future generation resources, have a new nuclear plant in development. Even though federal loan guarantees are slow to materialize and financing these multi-billion-dollar projects has become a bet-the-company investment, the NRC has more than 40 applications from generators that continue to believe in the future of nuclear power.
In an exclusive agreement with the EUCG Nuclear Committee, POWER was provided access to some key, high-level performance and operational data from the group’s nuclear industry benchmarking database. All U.S., and many international, nuclear power plants are members of the committee and have contributed to its database for many years. This month we introduce you to the EUCG Nuclear Committee and share sample nuclear operating costs. Look for future reports on other key performance benchmarking metrics during 2010.
Chile was considered a world leader for reforming and liberalizing its power sector as early as the 1980s. However, 25 years later, Chile is at a crossroads in terms of developing future capacity. With an estimated GDP growth rate of 2% to 3% during the current global financial crisis, a highly competitive economy, an established democracy, and a stable macroeconomic environment, Chile is considered a premium destination for foreign investment.
News items of interest to power generation professionals.
The expected renaissance for U.S. coal-fired generation has been more evolutionary than revolutionary: Less than half of the announced plants will likely progress to construction. However, the percentages for coal-fired plants aren’t significantly different from those for combined-cycle plants a decade ago, when dozens were ultimately canceled, leaving developers with warehouses full of unused gas turbines. The difference this time: The threat of carbon control legislation has moved many projects to the “wait and see” category.