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Updated: 1 day 7 hours ago

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.

Proof that fuel cells are starting to catch on

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 16:55
Smart Grid News ran a story last week reporting that many microgrids would be powered by fuel cells rather than renewables or gas turbines. Some responses made it clear there is skepticism in the energy industry about that point of view. Click for details from another source on how widespread fuel cell technology adoption has become.

How to influence what the U.S. federal government does and thinks about utilities

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 16:44
Should utilities try to influence national energy policy? Certainly. And here is an opportunity to make your voice heard via Americans for a Clean Energy Grid. It’s not necessary to agree with the organization’s positions to take advantage of the chance to influence DOE policy on U.S. energy infrastructure. Read the story for details on how to participate.

Nanogrids: Evolving our electricity systems from the bottom up

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 15:20
This paper defines nanogrids, delves into their existing and potential characteristics, and proposes some principles for standard interfaces between nanogrids and with microgrids.

Want to know the past and the future of renewables? Here it is at a glance

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:41
As the accompanying story notes, distributed renewables are a major issue for electric utilities. We thought you might be interested in an infographic from Ventyx that pinpoints some key developments in the renewables sector. For example, while solar gets the headlines, most renewables growth in the past four decades was from wind energy.

Utilities: Take these 4 steps to avoid being crushed by distributed renewables

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:33
Distributed renewable energy generation has been labeled a likely source of “disruptive change” for electric utilities, their “biggest challenge” and more. But there are steps utilities can take to benefit from the renewable energy surge, according to the American Council on Renewable Energy.

Will microgrids be powered by fuel cells instead?

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:27
The fuel cell market has had a rough and tumble history but new research suggests the technology could become a preferred source of electric power for microgrids within just a few years. Click to read some of the latest trends identified by Navigant Research.

What customers really want to hear (it could mean succeed or fail for utilities)

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 17:31
As utilities struggle to engage customers and keep them happy, the cost issue looms large. Yes, power prices should be low, and customers should be able to control how and when they use electricity to keep their costs down. But there’s another part of the equation that matters more if utilities want to compete successfully in today’s new business environment: Choice.