I’ve mentioned before that Electric Light & Power magazine’s November/December issue is one of the most anticipated of the year. This is true for not only our readers, but for the editorial staff, too.
I look forward every fall to receiving the power plant operating performance tables from Tom Hewson, principal at Energy Ventures Analysis Inc. I’m reminded each year that all forms of electricity generation in the U.S. are interdependent and that a change in one area affects the entire generation fleet. When you read the operating performance article that begins on Page 18, you’ll learn that in 2013, a 35 percent increase in the average spot price of natural gas affected power plant dispatch order, resulting in a slight increase in coal-fired generation and a decrease in gas-fired combined-cycle generation. This is the first time we’ve seen coal-fired generation increase since 2010, as well as the first time natural gas generation has declined since 2008. You’ll read in the article why this trend likely will not continue.
In addition to generation data on coal, natural gas and nuclear power, the plant performance article contains data on heat rates and capacity factors. The online version of this article includes even more information: coal-fired power plant SO2 and NOX emissions and natural gas plant NOX emissions. Because of space limitations, emissions data are not published in this printed issue, but you can view the emissions tables and read about the data in the expanded article online at www.elp.com. You’ll learn that with the help of scrubbers and post-combustion controls, the average emission rates of the top 20 cleanest coal plants continue to decline. You’ll also discover that the nation’s cleanest gas-fired combined-cycle plants are amazingly clean.
Electric Light & Power magazine’s November/December issue also features another favorite of readers and editors: the annual Utility of the Year article. This year, the editorial staff bestowed the prestigious award on Richmond, Virginia,-based Dominion. Once you’ve read Senior Editor Kristen Wright’s interview with Dominion Resources Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II, you’ll understand why we selected Dominion to be the 2014 Utility of the Year. Dominion has excelled in many important areas, including safety record, reputation, infrastructure investments, financials, philanthropy and proactive measures to curb emissions. The article begins on Page 14.
Kristen also penned an article on nuclear power that identifies four recent nuclear plant retirements and explains why some other plants might not be far behind them. The article, which begins on Page 24, also explores why closing more nuclear plants could create problems as states make plans to adhere to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
In addition, this issue contains feature articles on conservation voltage reduction, the Internet of Things and ComEd’s unique way of managing its utility crews, as well as columns from our regular contributors.
I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed writing and editing it.
And because I have a little space left, I want to remind you that the sixth annual Electric Light & Power Executive Conference is just a few weeks away. The one-day event, which will occur Feb. 2, 2015, at the Omni San Diego Hotel, will include several relevant panel discussions, including one with five utility CEOs. It will continue into the evening with the Electric Light & Power and POWERGRID International Awards Dinner, where we’ll recognize our two CEOs of the Year and our Utility of the Year, as well as POWERGRID International magazine’s Projects of the Year. You can find more information about the conference at www.elpconference.com and on Page 27 of this issue. I hope to see you there.
Editor in chief