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Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago

Scientific American: Utilities are conducting a "propaganda war" against solar

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 17:47
There’s no shortage of news about conflicts between the rooftop solar industry and electric utilities. According to a recent Scientific American article, the rooftop solar industry and utilities are at war… and predicts utilities are losing. Click for details.

Download this report: Learnings from the largest smart grid test bed

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 17:36
The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, the country’s largest, has released its 2013 annual report. Catch up on news of the project’s microgrid and lessons participants learned during their work in other areas, including transactive energy, wind forecasting, energy management and Big Data.

A low-cost way to make grid communications more resilient: traffic duplication

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 16:29
As it is in other areas of the smart grid sector, the chore of supporting legacy equipment while making the transition to next-generation communications is a difficult one. Motty Anavi explains how utilities can not only continue to use their legacy equipment as they migrate to newer technology, but also improve resiliency.

For utilities, banks, and other critical infrastructure providers, Y2K arrives April 8 2014

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 16:12
Microsoft will end support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. While the announcement was made years ago, the very tough challenges for utilities and others working with critical infrastructure are no less real. Guest contributors Stuart McCafferty and Andy Bochman offer a detailed account of those challenges as well as ways to mitigate them.

What Homeland Security wants utilities to know and do

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 16:02
Physical and cybersecurity are attracting a lot of scrutiny from inside and outside the energy industry… from agencies like NERC, members of Congress and now, the Department of Homeland Security. Click to read a Q&A with a Homeland Security official on the agency’s revised National Infrastructure Protection Plan and its recommendations.

More investment dollars for energy storage, but early funding still lacking

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 16:56
Strategic investors are good for energy storage startups, but they don’t necessarily reduce the risk of failure. Dean Frankel of Lux Research explains that while the energy storage market is growing, more funding for applied research and technology development is needed.

U.S. Senators want to pay utilities to engage with customers

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 16:48
A bill has been introduced to offer incentives for utilities that give customers more information on their energy use. Introduced by two Democratic senators, there is little chance it will pass in a Republican-heavy House. Still, it’s good to see at least some legislators take a positive stance on how they work with utilities.

Ouch! Minnesota's net metering formula may distress utilities

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 16:25
Minnesota’s effort to develop a fair way to determine the value of solar energy with a new net metering formula may not sit all that well with utilities, particularly if they were expecting it to increase the worth of their grid services. Click for details on the state’s new formula and what the outcome could be.

The coming boom in smart buildings (and why utilities should care)

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 16:55
A report from IDC Energy Insights says the smart building sector is set to take off and that the market will triple in just a few years. Since smart building systems usually cut power usage by 20%, utilities might want to reconsider their load growth forecasts – and also take advantage of the opportunities that market growth will bring.

Will the Feds take over grid security?

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 16:43
Electric utilities have taken a lot of flak for not doing enough to protect the grid. Now, two U.S. congressmen have introduced legislation to give the federal government a larger role in policing the electric power industry. Unless the industry moves quickly and effectively to confront security issues, regulations eventually will come from outside.

4 keys to greater resiliency (#4 is most important)

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 16:34
The devastating series of storms that swept through many parts of the country focused attention on the need to minimize the damage they cause. With the steady advances in data analytics and improved weather data, the time is coming when we can predict the location and severity of storms. And that will be a welcome and valuable addition to the storm damage mitigation toolbox.

Catch up on what’s new in smart grid projects and business

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:30
From a smart grid research grant for New Mexico State University to projects for ABB and Siemens in Italy and Egypt, it’s been a busy week in the smart grid sector. Also, read about the Schneider Electric-Microsoft partnership and an integrated energy marketplace from Accenture and Southwest Power Pool.

Five best practices to engage customers for residential demand response (from a DR pioneer)

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:19
When residential demand response programs were first launched, the conventional thinking was the most important issue was technology. Turns out, as most of us learned, the toughest part is customer engagement. Comverge CEO R. Blake Young shares five key areas for driving high customer engagement and participation in DR programs.

The future of utilities – death spiral or reinvention? Leaders weigh in

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:10
The conversation around the “utility death spiral” is depressing of course. But readers should take a look at some articulate and very well-conceived views from industry observers about options for the industry’s future. As you will see, some see disaster while others see a possible renaissance, a reinvention.

First result from Connecticut's big microgrid push

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 16:31
Microgrids have caused a lot of buzz in energy industry circles, but they haven’t really had much of a track record to assess. Connecticut’s microgrid expansion initiative may change that. And the state’s governor is all for it. He wants at least one microgrid for reliable backup power in every town in the state.

The 3 kinds of cybersecurity every utility needs (and a reference architecture you need to know about)

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 16:22
Utilities are routinely criticized for not doing enough to address cybersecurity. With that in mind, guest author Brian Smith of EnerNex does an excellent job of laying out the challenges utilities face when forced to deal with constantly evolving threats. He also shares details of a pilot program intended to improve the agility of their cyber defense strategies.

Why California's demand response programs are failing (and how to fix them)

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 16:15
California’s demand response programs haven’t been a success story. And utilities had underperformed in their efforts to meet peak demand reduction goals, according to a state energy commission report, possibly opening the door to third-party aggregators. While there are changes that could be made to boost utility performance, it’s unfortunate they aren’t likely to come soon.

It will soon be easier to mix and match wireless and powerline communications

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 16:41
Hybrid networks with both powerline and wireless communications are inevitable, and two major standards organizations are working toward a solution to make that coexistence easier to manage. Read the story to find out what the HomePlug and Wi-SUN alliances are doing to make it happen.

Utilities: Forget about Big Data! (Start with small data, then work your way up)

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 16:25
If your utility is trying to figure out how to approach enterprise data analytics, you won’t want to miss our webinar on how to get started. So mark your calendar for Wednesday, April 2nd and register to reserve your spot to hear from experts in the field. The webinar is free to Smart Grid News readers while space remains.

Coming to your territory soon? More jurisdictions require energy storage

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 16:18
It all started when California required utilities to store much of the electricity they produce. Now jurisdictions in other parts of the world are pushing storage too. Click to read how and where the trend continues. Is it time for utilities to start talking with regulators about future energy storage plans?