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Build to Order

Engineers and constructors adapt to serve an industry in transition.
From gas pipelines to PV arrays, the nation’s contractors are seeing growth in utility infrastructure. Fortnightly talks with executives at engineering and construction firms to learn what kinds of projects are moving forward, where they’re located, and what lies over the horizon.

Vendor Neutral

Calpine signs PPA with Public Service Company of Oklahoma; TransCanada and Ontario PowerAuthority agree to develop 900-MW gas-fired power plant; Panda selects Siemens to build combined-cycle plant; Progress Energy retires coal plants dating from 1923; Southern Company and Turner acquire 30-MW PV project; PSO begins smart meter pilot rollout; Southern California Edison contracts with Corix to install smart meters; Iberdrola USA hires Burns and McDonnell to review grid infrastructure. Plus contracts and announcements from Itron, eMeter, Echelon, Quanta Services, DNV, Metadigm, Landis+Gyr, and others.

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Homer Electric Association contracted NAES Power Contractors to install a GE LM6000 gas turbine at its Soldotna plant in Alaska.
TransCanada plans to build a 900-MW gas-fired power plant on the site of Ontario Power’s Lennox generating station near Bath in eastern Ontario.
Ocean Renewable Power began delivering electricity to Bangor Hydro from the Cobscook Bay tidal project. ORP says it’s the first grid-connected ocean energy project in the United States.
Progress Energy officially retired two coal-fired power plants, including the utility’s first coal-fired facility, the Cape Fear plant, built in 1923.
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Vendor Neutral

Vendor Neutral

Constellation completes 16.1 MW PV project in Maryland; Ikea commissions 31st solar project, reaching 38 MW installed; IPL and MidAmerican install $545 million scrubber in Iowa; DTE partners with Enbridge and Spectra on pipeline for Utica shale gas; plus contracts and announcements from Dominion, Sempra, Southern Company, AEP, EPRI, Itron, Landis+Gyr, Opower and others.

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Spent fuel at AEP’s Cook nuclear plant will move to a recently completed on-site dry-cask storage facility.
IKEA’s Bloomington, Minn., rooftop photovoltaic array—its 31st U.S. solar project.
Suntech says its new utility-scale solar module, the Ve-Series, is certified to withstand extreme winds and snowfalls.
The C.P Crane coal-fired generating plant, one of three Maryland power plants that Exelon will sell to Raven Power Holdings.
Exelon sold its stake in five  Constellation power plants in California, including the Chinese Station biomass facility.
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Vendor Neutral

Transactions (September 2012)

Duke and Progress complete their merger; NRG agrees to acquire GenOn; Algonquin acquires National Grid's New Hampshire distribution business, and acquires an interest in Gamesa's Sandy Ridge wind project; plus other equity and debt transactions, totaling more than $34 billion.

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Transactions

The Fortnightly 40 Best Energy Companies

(September 2012) Our annual financial ranking shows some remarkable shifts among the industry’s shareholder value leaders. Despite flat demand and low commodity prices, investor-owned utilities are investing heavily in capital assets. Investment discipline and operational excellence distinguish leaders on the path to financial performance.
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The <i>Fortnightly 40</i> Best Energy Companies
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Behind the Rankings
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Our annual survey of power and gas company performance relies on a modified DuPont model, based on its 89 year-old namesake approach for calculating shareholder value in asset-intensive industries. In 2008 we tweaked the model—which originally was developed in 1919 by a finance executive at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.—to measure growth on a long-term, sustainable basis (See sidebar “F40 Model Characteristics”).

The Fortnightly 40 model combines several common measures of financial performance—profitability, dividend yield, cash flow, return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA)—together with a sustainable growth-rate calculation, to produce an overall picture of a company’s value and long-term prospects. To avoid the pitfalls of short-term fluctuations, the model evaluates four years of results for each company. (This represents a change from 2008 and previous F40 rankings, which considered three years of financial results.)

The universe for the ranking—which this year numbers 82 companies—includes publicly traded, U.S.-based companies with major assets in energy production, transportation and retail delivery, and positive shareholder equity value for the past four years. Pure-play mining and exploration & production companies are excluded, but a few pure-play merchant power generation companies are included in the sample.–MTB

Credits: The Fortnightly 40 model was developed in 2006 by former Fortnightly Executive Editor Richard Stavros and Jean Reaves Rollins, managing partner of the C Three Group in Atlanta.

F40 Model Characteristics

Time Frame: 4-year average

 

Sample: 80 largest U.S.-based investor-owned power and gas companies, with assets in power generation or electricity and gas transmission and distribution.

Components:

1. Profitability= Margin = Income from Continuing Operations/Total Revenues.

2. Dividend Yield= Annual Declared Dividends/Year-End Stock Price.

3. Free Cash Flow= Operating Cash Flow from Continuing Operations – Capital Expenditures.

4. DuPont ROE Five-Ratio Model:

a. Earnings after taxes (EAT) = Income from Continuing Operations after Taxes;

b. Earnings before taxes (EBT) = Income from Continuing Operations + Income Taxes;

c. Earnings before interest and taxes = Income from Continuing Operations before Income Taxes and Interest;

d. Revenues = Total Revenues;

e. Assets = Total Assets; and

f. Equity = Total Common Shareholders Equity.

5. DuPont ROE= (EAT/EBT)×(EBT/EBIT)×(EBIT/Revenues)×(Revenues/Assets)×(Assets/Equity).

6. DuPont ROA= (EAT/Revenue)×(Revenue/Assets)

7. Sustainable Growth= DuPont ROE×(1–Dividend Payout Ratio).

8. Fortnightly Index9. Companies excluded from the FY2011 survey due to M&A activity: Allegheny Energy, DPL, and Nicor.

Author Bio: 

Michael T. Burr is Fortnightly’s editor-in-chief. He acknowledges the editorial contributions of the C Three Group and Accenture.

A challenging year brings a change in the rankings.

Vendor Neutral

Panda Energy awards turnkey $300 million turnkey contract to Siemens and Bechtel; Dominion starts up 585-MW CFB plant; Ocean Power Technologies and Lockheed Martin partner on wave power project; Infigen awards wind turbine service contract to Mitsubishi; ITC commissions 345-kV line in Oklahoma; ABB tests world’s biggest DC transformer; Xcel gets green light for Tres Amigas-area transmission upgrades; plus contracts and announcements from Elster, Sensus, Enertech, and others.
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Dominion Virginia Power started up the 585-MW Virginia City circulating fluidized bed power plant in July.
The latest inspection report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission indicates steam generator tube wear at the San Onofre nuclear plant was caused by excessive vibration under certain circumstances.
ITC Great Plains commissioned the Hugo-Valliant HVDC transmission line and substation project in Oklahoma.
The first three wireless EV charging systems were installed on Nissan LEAFs as part of the Plugless Power program. The systems use electromagnetic induction to charge EV batteries without driver interaction.
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Vendor Neutral

People (July 2012)

Southern Company announced changes in the company’s management team. Great Plains Energy and Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) appointed Scott Heidtbrink as executive v.p. and COO of KCP&L and greater Missouri operations. NV Energy announced two senior leadership appointments. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) appointed Jesus Soto Jr. as senior v.p. of gas transmission, operations, engineering, and pipeline integrity. And others...

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People