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Updated: 9 hours 55 min ago

It's official: Distributed energy is the biggest challenge of the next 5 years

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 16:28
Utility leaders generally agree the most difficult and immediate challenge they face is distributed energy, according to a new survey from DNV GL. The bright spot? Most utilities are taking constructive steps to meet the challenge, and exploring new technologies to assist them.

5 companies that plan to put utilities out of business

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 17:27
Several major companies with ambitions to branch out into other markets (like Google, Comcast and AT&T) are snaring utility revenue with their home energy management offerings. As you read about the five examples in the story, keep in mind that there are many, many smaller companies with the same game plan.

A quick look at EPA’s 30 by 30 Clean Power Plan (and what it means)

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 17:18
EPA earlier this week announced its Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants 30% by 2030. We thought you would like to see a quick summary of the rule and how it will be applied.

Exelon seeks OK for Pepco purchase… and more smart grid developments

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 17:08
Exelon Corporation and Pepco Holdings have filed an application with FERC for Exelon’s proposed purchase of Pepco. Read about the transaction and other smart grid news from Tantalus, Aclara and more, and about honors for EnerNOC and Memphis, Light, Gas and Water.

Solar City's latest plan to help Americans lose their utilities

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 17:20
Solar City has already proven its little or no money down rooftop solar financing program is catching on. Now, the company is working with Groupon to offer the program online. Jump to the site to learn more about this new wrinkle and why, at the very least, utilities should consider putting more effort into customer service.

One way to fix the electric industry talent crunch: teach kids engineering is “cool”

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 17:05
The electric power industry faces a serious talent shortage as more and more skilled professionals retire from the workforce. While some utilities and vendors have partnered with colleges to help ensure that talented replacements will be available, ABB has taken it a step further with its Kid Grid exhibit. Click to read more about it.

Will demand for electric power fall? Yes, if net-zero subdivisions catch on

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 17:00
If they’re not doing it already, utilities will want to start thinking about how they are going to respond to the net-zero trend. It’s not just net-zero buildings anymore. Net-zero subdivisions are in the testing phase and some institutions and communities are planning for net-zero campuses and downtown districts.

Why Barclays just downgraded the entire utility sector

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 16:31
In yet another challenge for utilities, banking and financial services firm Barclays has downgraded the U.S. electric power sector, contending that solar + storage could become cost-competitive with grid power… and that utilities may fail to re-assess their role in the energy future and adapt. Click for details.

Coming soon? Power lines that can tell you whether they are swaying in the wind

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 16:22
Power line movement can be a problem if a line blown by the wind touches trees, buildings or other lines. It can also cause line fatigue. A Washington state company recently filed a patent for putting accelerometers on power lines to determine if and how they are moving, which could help prevent mechanical failure.

What the race to control the home means to utilities (it ain't pretty)

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 16:12
Several of the largest technology companies are jumping into the home automation market, and all are determined to come out on top. Why should utilities care? Because each of them will include home energy management features in their offerings, and will be exploring partnerships that open the door for them to push new energy services… and cut utilities out of the picture.

Now Ohio is pushing back against renewable energy

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 17:13
Ohio may back off from its renewable energy mandates if a bill proposed in the state legislature passes. The legislation would result in a two-year freeze on the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. Read our story to find out why.

Grid planners -- stop leaving out storage!

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 17:04
Despite progress, the cost of grid-scale energy storage continues to inhibit its growth. But cost isn’t the only reason for slow growth. A new report from the Energy Storage Association says the grid modeling and planning software widely used today is simply not equipped to properly value storage as an integrated grid asset.

The next phase of the smart grid is... streetlights?

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 16:51
Silver Spring Networks isn’t the only smart grid heavyweight to expand its horizons, but it is certainly making serious moves to establish itself as a major figure in the Internet of Things. In addition to its venture in smart street lighting, the company is delving into several other sectors. Click to learn more.

What to do when you have TOO MUCH solar power (think inverters)

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 18:24
Earlier in the solar power boom, utilities pleaded for smart solar inverters to help them deal with integrating the intermittent source of energy. Now there are several flavors to choose from. We take a look at two examples.

EPA’s carbon rule sets off bitter fight before it even exists

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 18:13
The Obama administration will propose new rules for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants next week. It will certainly be challenged legally and in other ways, but the battle over the rules has already begun. Pete Danko of Breaking Energy explains.

Smart grid wins: Defense Department solves a transmission line issue and much more

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 18:00
Transmission, renewable energy, smart water management systems, energy storage and energy efficiency projects and developments. They’re all a part of this week’s smart grid wins. Click to read about a variety of interesting projects here and abroad.

Solid growth expected in several smart grid markets

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 16:57
Current market research reports have good things to say about renewable energy, building energy management systems, smart grid as a service and other smart grid sectors. The reports were selected at random and don’t reflect on all smart grid markets. But they’re still encouraging.

Demand response backlash? Court deals blow to FERC and other DR friends

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 16:40
Demand response supporters were badly shaken by a recent court decision. A FERC rule requiring that power users who cut demand were to be paid the same as providers who increased supply was struck down by a U.S. appeals court. Click to learn more about the decision and read some of the reactions.

Utilities: If you think solar rooftops are a pain, wait until solar streets get here

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 16:26
The controversy over rooftop solar and the challenges intermittent power sources present for utilities is far from over. But it might be time to make room for another: solar roads have reached the second prototype phase. Read on for details.

Grid security: Why it may be safer to switch our control centers to the cloud

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 17:11
A lot of utility professionals may scoff at the thought of moving control center functions to the cloud, but one group of researchers believes it could be a way to protect critical systems and keep the electric grid up and running. Take a look at our brief summary to find out why.