executive roundtable: What is the most significant obstacle power generators will face in the next decade, and how do we, as an industry, overcome it?

“For deregulated power generators, the most significant obstacle is regulatory uncertainty in the future of competitive markets. Today’s industry landscape is a blend of regulation and competition. Without a clear path leading to the establishment of broad competitive wholesale markets, significant impediments to the construction of new generation will continue to exist. This opens the question of how future generation needs will be met.

To overcome this, states must be willing to embrace RTOs and allow open access and competitive markets to flourish. FERC must provide leadership and guidance, must be consistent in how it develops rules and must take steps to eliminate perceived market price mitigation so that appropriate price signals will be sent and generation will be constructed when and where needed.”

James H. Miller was promoted to executive vice president of PPL Corp. in January 2004 and became COO in September 2004. He now oversees PPL’s generating and marketing operations and the company’s electricity delivery businesses.


“The biggest challenge facing power generators can be summed-up in one word: transmission. From Austin to Boston, we are trying to build an electron superhighway on country roads. The nation’s transmission grid is in desperate need of an overhaul and expansion in order to provide dependable and reliable electric power.

The power industry needs to galvanize local, state and federal governments to provide a uniform set of standards by enabling the FERC to regulate the transmission industry, with interstate and intrastate authority. The blackout of August 2003 made it clear that investment in the electric transmission infrastructure is urgent.”

C. William Arrington has over forty years experience in the electrical energy industry. His work has been in the areas of fossil fuel, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind and solar generation. He has also managed large programs in the chemical, petrochemical, utility and infrastructure development fields for the U.S. Department of Energy and others.


“Ensuring adequate transmission capacity for the amount of energy generated is a critical issue for generators. The majority of transmission facilities were built to deliver power to native load customers, and the increase in utility and power marketing transactions beyond what has traditionally been delivered to native load has created constraints that will need to be faced.

The development of independent transmission companies (ITC) offers a solution. ITCs look at customers from a broader, more balanced perspective. They have only one product to sell and focus on ensuring that sufficient transmission capacity is available for their customers, including generators. With utilities finding it harder to cooperatively plan transmission expansions due to competitive pressures, ITCs can overcome this barrier due to their independence and focus on meeting all customers’ needs.”

Pat Pope joined NPPD in December 1979 as an electrical engineer and in April 2003, was appointed vice president of energy delivery.


“Forecasts predict electricity demands to surge 50 percent by 2025, thus fuel constraints and siting hurdles are two major obstacles the generation sector will face.

Natural gas remains costly and prospects for steeply increased production and delivery are tenuous. Coal faces an uncertain thicket of new air quality rules. IGCC and other clean coal technologies will be developed, but are costly. Nuclear will continue to play a critical and expanding role if financial and waste-disposal issues can be resolved. Renewable energy sources will continue to grow in importance, yet these sources face challenges (cost, intermittence and load center distances). Finally, siting of new generation continues to present challenges in many parts of the U.S. The key to overcoming these obstacles is to ensure that local stakeholders realize the benefits of having a facility in their communities.”

Richard McMahon directs the energy supply staff of EEI in advancing the public policy and commercial interests of its member companies.

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