Community News and Information
Updated: 3 hours 15 sec ago
Electric utilities often find themselves between a rock and a hard place, and cybersecurity is a good example. If they share security problems they risk damaging their stock prices or attracting more attention from hackers. If they don’t share, other utilities could be at risk. But changes in an automated data sharing program could give them some much needed breathing room.
While the numbers make it clear that President Obama’s goal of one million plug-in electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015 won’t be met, that’s no reason for disappointment. As Pete Danko of Breaking Energy found, plug-in EV sales are growing at an astonishing rate… if more slowly than many had expected.
Will you soon be asked to share your utility communications network? (With a water department for instance)
While some may initially balk at the idea of sharing utility communications networks with another operation, such as a water department, both can benefit tremendously from sharing a network and information. Click to read about a private electric utility and a city water department that plan to do just that. It’s said to be the first collaboration of its kind.
While superstorm Sandy is long gone, its harsh lessons remain fresh for the states affected by the devastation. New York recently funded seven research projects, most of them related to technologies for grid resilience, outage mitigation and improved energy efficiency, including microgrids.
Canadian utility SaskPower was ordered to replace all smart meters it installed after eight minor fires were linked to the meters, despite protests from the meter maker that their devices did not cause them. And lawmakers in Ontario want Toronto Hydro and Hydro One to remove smart meters they deployed. Click for story details and let us know what you think about those decisions.
Ready for another twist in the discussion about what the utility of the future should or could be like? Jon Wellinghoff, former FERC chairman, and James Tong, strategy VP at Clean Power Finance, recommend taking grid operations out of utilities’ hands. Read on to find out why they believe it would significantly benefit the public, and how it could benefit utilities as well.
One thing troubling the electric vehicle landscape has been the absence of standards to allow for smart charging. Now, thanks to a collaborative effort between the Electric Power Research Institute and eight car manufacturers, that much needed standard should be on the way.
Increasing numbers of utilities are adopting behavioral programs to encourage energy efficiency. Even so, many wonder if the effects of those programs will last… if customers will stick with them once the newness wears off. Opower offers evidence that customer interest will remain, and could grow.
Those consumer gadgets that make life more convenient, such as sprinkler controllers or garage door openers, don’t sound dangerous. But they could be. Read the story to learn what a security professional has to say about how those and other IoT consumer devices could attract hackers who want to get at smart meter data.
In an effort to increase public access to its scientific research, the Energy Department has launched a web-based portal that will offer research publications and digital data. The Department says it hopes the move to make its research more readily available will support more innovation, commercial opportunities and accelerated scientific breakthroughs.
This week’s collection of smart grid projects covers a lot of ground: Silver Spring Networks and Trilliant expanding their presence in new and existing territories and GE’s Solutions as a Service implementation for example. And there’s more news from Itron, Siemens and Plug Power.
As the number of threats to the U.S. electric grid increases, the need to raise awareness about them becomes even more critical. Chances are you’ve read several news accounts describing attempted grid attacks from hostile countries. While there are defenses, understanding threats is the first step to preparing for them.
ACEEE is talking up the benefits of electric and natural gas utility dual-fuel energy efficiency programs, but they’re not ignoring the challenges and concerns such an undertaking can present. Read the story for a status update and for access to profiles of 16 successful dual-fuel programs.
French regulators have decided the country’s goal of supplying 95% of electricity customers with smart meters by 2020 was “too ambitious” and want to scale it back. Click for more on the story and on the overall status of the EU smart meter initiative.
Electric cooperatives and municipal utilities need to be vigilant about pitfalls that could interfere with the returns they expect from smart grid investments. A report from the Smart Grid Research Consortium identifies seven problem areas that are increasingly causing disappointing returns (along with recommendations for how to ensure that doesn’t happen).
Power utilities have a major role in the development and success of a smart city, although the exact nature of the connection between the two can be complex. We thought you would be interested in a collection of articles that address where and how utilities fit into the smart city equation.
Microgrids can be a practical solution to enhance grid resiliency against threats to the grid, whether they come from superstorms or cyberattacks. The downside? They’re expensive and they don’t have much of a track record. New Jersey, however, has come up with an answer to the cost question others may want to consider.
The upheaval in the U.S. power industry and what the outcome could be seem to have become the hot topic of conversation among energy professionals. And those conversations continue to lean toward the “utility death spiral” along with distributed generation. Click to read about what industry leaders and top publications are saying right now.
We’ve said it several times: utilities need to decide what role they want to play in the rapidly changing energy business environment. It’s a challenging proposition but not one utilities have to take on alone. The GridWise Alliance may be able to help.
Chattanooga utility EPB is well-known for its smart grid innovations. Now the company is asking regulators for permission to do something else innovative: sell TV and Internet services outside its service area. Click to find out more about what the utility has in mind.