Community News and Information
Updated: 4 hours 38 min ago
This week’s collection of smart grid wins makes up for its brevity with a healthy dose of variety, from IoT and transmission to metering, a new partnership on cybersecurity and grants for community microgrids in California.
The changing utility business model has been the source of considerable debate and handwringing. Yes, there are plenty of challenges confronting utilities now, but is wholesale change really coming soon? Jared Anderson of Breaking Energy recently interviewed an expert on the topic, and he had some very interesting things to say.
Japan made a series of bad choices in its efforts to adopt renewables, despite having plentiful solar, wind and geothermal resources. A recent blog post from the Rocky Mountain Institute draws what may be some surprising conclusions about what went wrong in Japan coupled with a comparison to Germany’s approach. Click for details.
Battery costs must drop if the stationary energy storage market is to grow as hoped over the next few years. New technologies look like promising ways to get around the need for metals like vanadium, but two Lux Research analysts report that project costs remain a concern.
The smart grid initiative has so far mostly been taken up with smart meters, and AMI has been regarded as the tool to enable the beginnings of a smart grid. But what’s next? Guest author Brett Sargent points to the distribution transformer and explains why it’s the next big thing.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association is afraid DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review, the closest thing the U.S. has to a national energy policy, will be a bust unless it yields more than a collection of unfocused ideas. Click to read some of the association’s nuts and bolts smart grid-related recommendations.
The heated debate and contention over distributed generation, rooftop solar for example, has resulted in stakeholders taking sides and pounding each other rather than working to solve the problem. The Critical Consumers Issues Forum has released a report that outlines principles for an alternative: collaborative ways to resolve energy challenges, a “civilized” way of doing it.
Reducing the cost of energy storage technologies is important. It’s good business. But guest author Rogers Weed points out that it is just as valuable to increase the benefits storage systems provide. As he points out, business cases are referred to as cost-benefit analyses for a reason.
You would think just about every smart meter wrinkle has been discussed, dissected and considered by now. But the insurance industry has another one utilities may have to deal with: insurers are starting to worry about cyberattacks. And one insurer says coverage for cyberattack losses is generally not provided by the energy insurance market.
A revealing report from a Texas regional energy efficiency advocacy group outlines the state’s achievements, its shortcomings and how far it has to go to fully mine the value available from smart meters. And it offers very useful ideas utilities in every state can learn from.
Several utilities have walked away from home gateways, turned off by the expense and what they saw as minimal advantages. But according to the head of smart grid project management for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, they do have benefits – for both utilities and their customers.
There has been plenty of compelling evidence of Google’s intent to take over the electric grid. So Tendril CEO Adrian Tuck’s four recommendations on how utilities can transform themselves and successfully meet that challenge are very timely.
Earlier this week we shared a story reporting on the U.S. electric grid and its ranking as the worst in the industrialized world. Apparently we aren’t doing much better in energy efficiency either, according to a scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
In case you were wondering, offshore wind energy is far from dead in the U.S. The Department of Interior has opened up two large areas off the coasts of Maryland and Massachusetts for development. Qualified companies will be able to participate in competitive lease sales for construction of commercial wind projects.
This week’s collection of smart grid wins includes quite a mix of projects and developments, including major accomplishments for GRID20/20, Itron, Siemens. Italy’s Enel, GeoDigital and others. Click for details.
Most of the threats to electric grids are well-known, from random shooting incidents to very well-orchestrated cyber attacks. Click the link to read about what could be a much more catastrophic threat from the sun… geomagnetic solar storms. “It may be a 100-year” event. So was Hurricane Sandy.
UK electricity providers are doing something many U.S. utilities wish they had done: educate their customers about the benefits of smart meters before the rollout starts… not afterward. Read the story for a quick look at how the UK is handling customer engagement, and why.
GE’s acquisition of Alstom Grid was a surprise for many observers. But now the questions are bubbling up. The big question? Can GE break loose from its previous tendencies and work with its new acquisition to successfully integrate their product lines? There are significant opportunities for GE if it can.
This report details the promise and potential of smart energy in Texas. Texas has rolled out seven million smart meters, but has only begun to use the intelligence latent in the system to enable smarter energy usage, including time of use pricing and demand response.
Today’s energy storage technologies aren’t all about lithium-based batteries. Much improved and more cost efficient next-generation flow batteries are attracting a lot of interest and investment. Here are two examples of the new technologies that could very well make it to the grid-scale energy storage market.