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Updated: 8 hours 36 min ago

Smart meter progress: What Britain is doing better than the U.S.

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 15:41
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.

Will GE cash in on its Alstom acquisition? Or repeat its old mistakes?

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 15:31
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.

An Update on Smart Energy in Texas

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 14:20
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.

Grid-scale storage breakthrough? Flow batteries get new life

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:55
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.

Forget grid divorce. Native Americans are not getting married to the grid anyway

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:40
For those of us able to take the electric grid for granted, it may be surprising to learn that many isolated communities and Native American reservations can’t or don’t care to connect. Read the story to learn how the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is helping those customers rather than ignoring them.

How to keep customers cool when it’s hot outside (and an idea you may have forgotten)

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:32
In areas where summer weather turns hot and often stays that way for days, the electric grid can take a beating. What options do utilities have when their customers come home and turn on all those air conditioners? Guest author Dave Bryant has some ideas and he’s not talking about new generation or more transmission lines.

Reinventing utilities: Now Minnesota is rethinking the utility business model

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 17:49
Minnesota has taken a bi-partisan, inclusive approach in its attempts to overhaul the state’s utility and energy policies. It’s an interesting way to explore and assess the roadblocks, the opportunities and the options available as the state maps out its energy future.

The net metering battle… 3 more states may offer relief to utilities

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 17:28
Net metering may fade from the headlines for a while, but the issue isn’t going away anytime soon. Read the story to keep up with current developments and initiatives in Massachusetts, Missouri and Maine.

The U.S. grid is the worst in the industrialized world (outages are up 285%!)

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 17:15
The frequency of U.S. power outages has risen dramatically over the past 30 years. And they now cost American businesses up to $150 billion a year. Click for details and a graphic that identifies the states with the highest number of outages.

Market Trends Digest: July 2014

Sat, 07/12/2014 - 14:15
The Newton-Evans Research Company has published a series of 18 electric power distribution market two-page snapshot market summaries. The new series of market overview reports (executive market summaries) includes supplier listings, representative products, and estimated market size for each topic, vendor market share estimates and market outlook and growth factors through 2016.

How Seattle City Light spent big bucks to make itself look stupid

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 17:17
Smart Grid News has published stories on utilities that have won high marks for how well they use social media to engage customers. So it seems only fair to share a story about one utility that illustrates how to do it wrong. Click for details.

Checking in with Pecan Street’s latest project

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 17:10
Austin’s Pecan Street, the community-scale test bed for smart grid technologies, has taken on a new project that could significantly change how we use electricity and monitor consumption. We thought you’d like to take a look at what they’re up to now.

Smart grid wins: new transmission projects and a major solar farm at Indy 500

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 16:59
In this week’s smart grid wins roundup you can read about new transmission projects for ABB, Alstom Grid and others, an impressive new solar farm at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, grants for Washington energy storage projects and an award for Sensus.

Forget lead and lithium. How about grid-scale batteries based on... water?

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 17:42
In an attempt to sidestep the disadvantages of today’s grid-scale energy storage technologies, researchers are developing a water-based battery that does not include expensive rare metals or toxic chemicals. The project is in its early phase, but an interesting one to follow.

Why should Black Americans subsidize "largely white, male" net metering users, asks ASU professor

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 17:05
While net metering does help popularize green technologies, it does so “on the backs of our nation’s poor,” says Arizona State University professor Matthew C. Whitaker. While the fairness of net metering has been questioned before, he adds a somewhat different dimension to the rooftop solar discussion.

Why nanogrids may be bigger than microgrids (in some places it's true already)

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 16:58
Nanogrids don’t get a lot of attention even though they are “big business” compared to microgrids, according to current research. In addition, they could have a significant impact on the future of microgrids and our electric grids. Read the story to learn why.

Con Ed will pay customers $150 million to save $1.1 billion

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 16:39
At a time when flat or falling demand for electric power has been a cause for concern among many, it may be surprising to note that some utilities want to encourage customers to use less. Click to find out why Con Ed wants to give customers incentives to reduce their power consumption.

Three more reasons Google is serious about disrupting the grid

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 16:30
Google has sparked a lot of discussion and speculation about its plans for the electric grid, specifically how and why it would want to take control of the grid. Read the story for three reasons the Internet giant is indeed serious about it.

Want resiliency? Here's how to get it. (New Jersey has already started)

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 16:15
How to cope with a future of distributed generation has been a major worry for electric utilities. But guest author Michael Panfil explains there could be big benefits in terms of improved grid resiliency. If utilities want to take advantage of the opportunities a distributed future presents, they need to step up and get in the game. Or someone else will.

When bad rates happen to good utilities (like SDG&E)

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 17:03
Something’s wrong with California’s electricity rate structure, SDG&E’s Jim Avery says. The two-tiered rate plan gives low rates to customers who use less power and higher rates to those who use a lot. Unfortunately, he says, that concept is out of date… and encourages customers to do what it never intended.