Blackouts in PJM are a growing risk without changes reflecting new realities of winter peak demands

The lessons learned and the second-guessing prompted by the polar vortexes that walloped the Eastern U.S. twice in January taught us that the power grid in the Mid-Atlantic states needs — quickly — to recast the rules by which peak power generators can meet demand during the winter months. Peak demands, at least in the […]

With California Leading the Way, Energy Storage Is Ready to Earn a Real Place in Utility and Commercial Portfolios

The absence of a viable means to store a significant amount of electricity generated from renewable resources is one of the tallest hurdles limiting their growth.  After a series of financial setbacks and exhaustive regulatory deliberations, energy storage fed by renewables  is set to earn a scalable role due largely to a new mandate in […]

Two FERC settlements illustrate attempts to ‘game’ demand response programs

Two settlements at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) made public this year involving large civil penalties illustrate how the market for demand response (DR) services could be ‘gamed’ by artificially inflating normal levels of power consumption. In the most recent settlement, the FERC reached a consent order June 7 with the Enerwise Global Technologies […]

Renewables lead new generation this year, but prepare for big decline in new wind in 2013

By Bill Opalka, Guest Contributor Renewable energy generation grabbed a 46% share of new capacity in the first 10 months of the year, easily outpacing natural gas, coal, nuclear and oil. That’s according to the latest Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Energy Infrastructure update, which covers the January-October time frame. The 46% renewable share includes new […]

Committee of Chief Risk Officers seeking wholesale power “passport” for ISOs & RTOs

Ten years ago this fall, in the wake of Enron’s collapse and the California power shortage, with huge questions looming about energy “deregulation,” a handful of merchant energy companies and proactive utilities launched the Committee of Chief Risk Officers  to help energy and financial managers there get a better handle on and mitigate the myriad […]

EPA emissions rules igniting protests about grid reliability from guess who: coal-fired utilities

Once again the BENEFITS of cleaner power generation in the U.S. are absent from an escalating debate over court-ordered clean air rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set to be finalized by December 16, 2011. This time it’s about reliability. For the most part, it’s a smog screen designed to distract from the far […]

Energy risk officers recommend risk management standards for power, gas market participants

Utilities, power suppliers and regional organizations that coordinate the flow of electricity throughout the U.S. are taking steps to better understand the creditworthiness of market participants and ways to mitigate risks inherent in the purchase, supply and transmission of electric power. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 741 requires initial compliance filings by Independent System […]

Demand response and cleaner energy outbidding some coal-fired generation in PJM

Almost like a tree falling in the forest, the recent auction for wholesale power supplies from utilities and competitive generators produced a relatively quiet but telling shift in the PJM power grid which stretches from the Mid-Atlantic states into parts of the Midwest: Several aging coal-fired power plants were outbid by cleaner sources, including demand-response […]

Power Grid and IT Security: Stuxnet Puts U.S. ‘Behind the 8-ball’

It doesn’t take a computer geek to grasp the looming threat of a cyber- attack on national power grids, along with networked systems that run or protect various industrial and national security functions of national economies and governments. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke  illuminated the threat at the opening session of GridWeek 2010 here in Washington, […]

RIP for FITs, or NOT?

Americans don’t have to look very far these days to see the role a Feed-in Tariff can play in jump-starting purchases – and the economic and environmental benefits – of solar electric / photovoltaic (PV) systems.  Customers signing onto a FIT invest in their own PV systems to generate their own electricity and sell energy […]