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ELP Volume 79 Issue 7
There's good news and not-so-good news for the New England electric power market. A recently released ISO New England study showed that power plant availability has increased since 1995, an initial sign that the wholesale market there is working as intended. But concerns linger over poor performance from new combined cycle plants and transmission bottlenecks within the region.
Transmission issues are now moving to the forefront of the energy industry. Questions about infrastructure investment and developing technology are discussed in both July's Industry Report on page 18 and in Burns & McDonnell Engineering's article "3-D Modeling Boosts Transmission Capacity" (page 30). Photo courtesy of the Department of Energy.
Coal used to be the villain in the energy industry scenario: a dark figure that everyone was trying to excise from the equation. Now a number of contributing factors-including California's rolling blackouts, an unusually cold winter and the high price of natural gas-have shifted coal to hero status.
After controlling the controllables, like buying, moving, blending, timing and burning, coal-fired generation plants are left building masses of data in disparate systems, according to Suzanne Shea, executive vice president and co-founder of Praxis Engineers.
When searching for ways to lower costs and increase productivity in the hyper-competitive era of deregulation, utility companies should consider the benefits offered by mobile computing solutions for field service employees. Not only do these solutions allow companies to maximize their technology investments, they also lead to substantial returns on investment (ROI).
Texaco Energy Systems Inc. (TESI) will tailor its existing fuel processing technology for Reliant Energy Power Systems' (REPS) proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system. REPS' PEM fuel cell prototype is a 7.5 kW unit that uses TESI's fuel reformer to extract hydrogen from natural gas.
Some are calling it the price of NIMBY (not in my backyard): a set of regional grids, effectively disconnected and straining to push more and more power through lines that could have accurately been labeled "archaic" a decade ago.