Community News and Information
Updated: 11 hours 38 min ago
It’s an old idea, the concept of using a fleet of water heaters for energy storage. But with the help of new technology, demonstration projects are proving that water heaters (and space heaters) can be an effective element in grid-scale energy storage strategies.
It’s a big week for smart grid wins. Read about Elster’s smart meter contract with ERDF in France, a massive transmission network upgrade for Sertex Utility Services, Duke Energy’s major expansion of solar power and more projects.
Silver Spring Networks showcased its successful multi-application, IPv6-based smart street light and smart city solutions recently. That’s not the entire story though. It also is a perfect reminder that utilities should be preparing for the added responsibilities they will have when cities that want to become smart cities ask them to pitch in.
The federal government and Congress generally get low marks for doing much about energy efficiency policy. However, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says if we look instead at the federal agencies there’s plenty of action on efficiency policies that could save Americans a substantial amount of money.
This week’s smart grid wins roundup includes news from all over the map, from Germany and France to Hawaii and Ontario. Read the story to learn about a variety of new projects from Siemens, Itron, Stem, Schneider Electric and others.
The utility customer challenge: They like you but they are not loyal. Are you measuring the wrong things?
Utilities are providing good customer service, most consumer say. But that doesn’t mean they would stick with their current electricity provider if given the choice. Click to read about the latest consumer survey from DEFG EcoAlign. It explains why measuring long-term loyalty could be more valuable than measuring customer satisfaction.
Many industry observers see wave energy as a remote possibility, one of those “out there” technologies, if they consider it at all. However, several companies have quietly gone about their business building and testing a variety of devices to convert marine energy into electric power. Pete Danko of Breaking Energy shares one of the latest developments.
Germany’s largest utilities did not participate in the country’s solar boom and are losing market share and profits because of it. Click to read about how they plan to get back in the game and what some of their options could be.
The idea that a traditional centralized electric grid may not be the best way to deliver power to the millions of people in the world who don’t have it is gaining traction. Read the story to learn about a detailed strategy that calls for major business model and policy changes to support deployment of nanogrids and microgrids in regions with no or intermittent power.
Hawaii’s electricity landscape is changing dramatically. In response to demands from regulators, the state’s utilities have provided plans for how they will reduce power bills and meet a target of providing two-thirds of the state’s electricity with renewables by 2030. Hawaii’s experiences will be worth watching because they could provide a glimpse of the not too distant future for other parts of the country.
Law professor Joel Eisen wants the Federal Energy Regulation Commission to consider a tariff on electricity distribution to create an open access grid that would spur innovation and new technology deployment. Read the story to learn more about his proposal and why he believes it will encourage grid transformation.
California’s net metering policy intended that subsidies be paid to electricity customers who produce onsite energy with rooftop solar installations. The problem is that most of those subsidies go to solar leasing companies while customers receive very little. Click for details on a study by the Edison Foundation’s Institute for Electric Innovation that lays out the issues and shortcomings.
It’s always good to be able to learn from the experiences of others. Now that Estonia is halfway through its smart meter deployment program, a number of valuable lessons have surfaced. Read the story to find out what the program’s project manager sees as the most important takeaways.
For a better shot at getting their rate increase plans approved, utilities should focus on what will get regulators’ attention. Click to read about Duke Energy’s proposal for an ambitious grid modernization plan that takes a nuts and bolts and dollars and cents approach and, for the most part, steers clear of potential problem areas.
Bloom Energy and other fuel cell makers are going after big power users and what they’re offering includes power as a service and reduced upfront costs. If utilities want to hold on to their larger customers, they should consider a partnership arrangement similar to that described in our story.
Don’t miss the opportunity to hear expert panelists dig into asset health management during a Fierce Energy-sponsored webinar scheduled for Wednesday, September 10. Experts from Ventyx, an ABB company, and Microsoft will address the process and tools needed to address critical issues such as aging assets and how to leverage them for optimum performance. There is no charge for the webinar, but space is limited.
The first article in this special issue explored asset health management system strategy and development. Here, guest author Shawn Lyndon shares his thoughts on predictive maintenance and a business tool capable of demonstrating the potential benefits of servicing or replacing aging assets before they fail.
Aging critical infrastructure, whether it’s transformers, breakers or other equipment, is a daily fact of life for most utilities. While many utilities have tried to piece together an asset health management system of some kind, many see it as too massive an undertaking or don’t take it far enough to be truly effective. Read about a different and much simpler approach to centralized full lifecycle management.
DEFG commissioned a national survey of utility customers to glean more insights on what utility customers may value from their utility. The top line findings from EcoPinion No. 19 show a conflicted consumer landscape in terms of customer expectations. The survey report addresses those conflicts and provides information intended to help utilities improve overall customer satisfaction.
As distributed generation (DG) resources grow and comprise a larger share of the energy resources on the nation’s power grid, and as the costs of DG decline, it is critical that these resources are priced appropriately and that subsidies that support them, and the recipients of the subsidies, are transparent to all parties – customers, regulators, legislators, solar providers, and DG advocates. This issue brief illustrates the subsidy created by current state net energy metering (NEM) practices and reveals the need to modify these practices.