Archive: Business

Balancing people, plants, and practices

An essential ingredient in the success of any business endeavor is thorough planning. We’ve all heard the axiom "proper prior planning prevents poor performance" or a variation on that theme. Why the need for peak performance? Competition within the industry has never been as intense, with utilities combining in search of economies of scale. The […]

Brain surgery breathes new life into aging plants

Age is wreaking havoc on the U.S. generation industry, especially the coal-fired sector. Industry conferences are replete with hand-wringing over the "brain drain," the lack of skilled personnel, the meager number of students pursuing engineering degrees, and the accelerated retirement of the older workers who make up the industry’s experience base. On top of this, […]

Hybrid generation markets endanger competition and innovation

Competition in power generation fosters technical innovation, cleaner power plants, and downward pressure on prices. Before the 1980s, such competition was almost nonexistent: vertically integrated utilities built and operated the vast majority of U.S. plants with oversight by state regulators. The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 and the Energy Policy Act of 1992 […]

The 2005 Global Energy Awards

The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City was the site of the 2005 Platts Global Energy Awards (GEA). The seventh annual black-tie soiree was the most global ever. Some 400 top executives from more than two dozen countries on five continents gathered at the Roosevelt on December 1, 2005, to honor the energy industry’s "Best […]

Catalyst regeneration: The business case

As an alternative to purchasing new catalyst, technological and economic advantages make a compelling case for regenerating rather than replacing the metal or ceramic that enables selective catalytic reduction systems to capture NOx.


In "U.S. utilities driving for a license" (November/December 2005), we wrote that Bechtel Corp. is part of the UniStar consortium. Bechtel Corp. is not a member but is working for UniStar as a contractor.

New edition of steam plant bible

The long-awaited 41st edition of Babcock & Wilcox Co.’s (B&W’s) Steam: Its Generation and Use (Figure 5) is now available for ordering on the company’s web site, The release of the book is worth noting by power plant engineers for two reasons: The tome is the world’s longest continually published (since 1875) engineering text, […]


In our January/February 2005 story "The 2004 Global Energy Awards" we incorrectly identified the award received by Constellation Energy. The correct caption follows. The 2004 Energy Company of the Year Award went to Constellation Energy. Constellation is one of the largest wholesalers of electricity in the U.S. and a leading supplier of power to large […]

Bay Area T&D upgrade

In early December 2004, the Portrero substation received an early Christmas present. It was a shiny new static VAR compensator (SVC) from ABB (Raleigh, N.C.) that will improve the stability of the grid serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The SVC, which was commissioned on December 10, will help stabilize the grid’s voltage during peak […]