Archive: Business

This month in POWER…

During this 125th anniversary year, Retrospective has surveyed the evolution of the power industry as chronicled in POWER. The magazine’s original focus in the 1880s was to fill the fledgling industry’s technical information vacuum and share common operating experiences. Our goals today are remarkably similar, as technology continues to change and operators continue to learn […]

Developing wind projects in California—or anywhere

Acquiring capacity from renewable resources is now mandatory for many electric utilities, and nowhere is green generation being pursued with more vigor than in California. Regulators there want power from renewables to account for at least 20% of utilities’ annual sales by 2010, and Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing increasing the minimum to 33% by 2020. Wind power appears to have the lowest technical risks of the renewables options, but don’t ignore the rising development risks. Here’s a primer on developing wind projects in the Golden State—and elsewhere.

Rigid COD deadlines do more harm than good

A utility executive responsible for procuring renewable power recently lamented that, at the time of contract execution, renewable “projects” are typically at a very preliminary stage of development, offering scant information about project specifics. Regulatory or other objectives often cause the utility to require that the power purchase agreement be executed before critical permits have […]

The mother of all energy crises

POWER readers today face severe problems in the electricity supply business. But a much bigger problem will soon burst on the scene: the peaking of world oil production. Experts have forecast peaking since shortly after the first U.S. well began production in 1859, and many subsequent forecasts of peaking have proven incorrect. Oil reserves dip […]

This month in POWER . . .

POWER began its life in October 1882 as a tabloid-size publication originally entitled Steam. About the same time, two young Boston advertising salesmen decided to launch a new magazine about textile mill steam plants, called POWER. They bought Steam prior to publishing POWER’s first issue, so early issues of this magazine carried the flag “POWER, […]

Milestones on the road to commercial operation

The electric power industry is capital-intensive, and it takes several years to build and commission a baseload plant for commercial operation. Owners seek contractors who are willing—given proper incentives—to build a plant for a lump-sum price with a guaranteed schedule and performance. Matching an owner’s wants with contractors’ needs is an exercise in allocating risk. Avoid the contract traps that can stall a project and cost millions to resolve.

Can FERC deliver transmission?

This May, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) rejected a proposal by Southern California Edison (SCE) to build Devers-Palo Verde No. 2 (DPV2)—a 230-mile-long, high-voltage transmission line connecting California and Arizona. The line, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) four months earlier, would enable SCE to import additional low-cost electricity from Arizona. The ACC’s rejection of DPV2 highlights a significant challenge for state and regional resource planners—weighing state interests against the regional benefits of interstate electricity commerce.

Global Monitor (November 2007)

NRG applies for first COL / TVA green-lights Watts Bar 2 / Southern Co. and Florida muni launch IGCC project / UK approves wave energy "hub" / New Jersey-New York HV system launched / Membrane strips CO2 from methane faster / POWER digest

This month in POWER (OCTOBER)

October 1886 In the late 19th century, efficient combustion of solid fuels was achieved more by trial and error than by a fundamental understanding of stoichiometry and staged combustion. Boiler manufacturers took many different approaches to the challenge. Some made sense; others didn’t. In which category does the design described below fall? In 1886 the […]

Integrated software platform eludes many owner/operators

Ongoing research into experience with plant- and fleet-level software reveals that these applications work side by side but do not necessarily function as an integrated “knowledge management” system. On the supplier side, the industry continues to be fragmented, with individual programs governing a narrow part of the overall plant.