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Updated: 11 hours 11 min ago

Smart grid wins: a full slate of innovative technologies and new projects

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 17:05
The smart grid sector is a busy one, and this week has been no exception. Read about a vegetable oil-insulated and cooled transformer from Siemens, Plug Power’s multi-site hydrogen fuel cell order, ABB’s substation order from Kuwait and other projects and developments.

A faster way to restore power? This company thinks so

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:26
If there is such a thing as a quiet explosion, the phrase would accurately describe the growth of low-cost sensors for distribution networks. They’re becoming more widespread, more functional and smarter. Guest author Ashley Walter describes one such technology. Think of it as an example of what’s behind a quickly growing market.

Utilities: Getting environmentalists on your side in the net metering struggle

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:15
The controversy over net metering has been described variously as a “war” or a “battlefield” with rooftop solar companies and supporters on one side and electric utilities on the other. Clean energy and energy efficiency advocate Brian Keene explains why it’s critical for rooftop solar’s continued success that the two sides come together and work as partners… and that everybody wins.

It's time to rethink pre-pay (20% of your customers may soon ask for it)

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:03
North American utilities may not like pre-paid power plans, but now would be a very good time for them to reconsider. Why? A new report from consulting firm DEFG EcoAlign says consumer adoption and satisfaction with the plans are growing, to the point that 2014 could be an inflection point for pre-pay. Click for details on the report’s findings.

A better way to charge EVs? Scientists devise "packet-based" approach

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 17:29
Utilities have good reason to worry about EVs, as in what could happen to a distribution transformer when several neighbors plug their vehicles in to charge every evening at the same time? University of Vermont researchers have a new proposal to duck that problem by reducing the impact of simultaneous charging. Check out the story to find out what they have in mind.

The secrets to integrated security (they're mostly people problems, says EPRI)

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 17:21
The Electric Power Research Institute has released strategies to help utilities plan and implement an Integrated Security Operations Center. The institute says an ISOC could have several advantages and yield significant value, but also makes it clear that a lot of technical resources, staff and time are needed to make it happen.

The next backlash? Why you need to educate C&I customers about demand charges

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 17:09
Power pricing is shifting toward rates based on peak demand, and it could cause headaches for utilities when commercial and industrial customers see higher electric bills they weren’t expecting. Before they start complaining to you and to regulators, make sure they understand their tariffs and power contracts. Click for details and more sound advice from energy services expert Lindsay Audin.

Why microgrids are making progress in the Midwest

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 16:48
Microgrid installations are growing in the Midwest, even in regions where hurricanes and superstorms aren’t an issue. Read the story to find out what is behind the growth spurt and why microgrids are getting closer to the inflection point where they will become a more popular option for a variety of applications.

Smart meters: What we're learning in Europe (I found #12 most intriguing)

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 16:39
Berg Insight has released its latest report on smart metering in Europe, and there’s news that may be a bit of a surprise for U.S. electric utilities. For instance: when completed, the UK’s system will be the largest wireless smart meter deployment in the world… and it’s primarily cellular. Click for a quick summary of the report findings.

At last! Help for the smart grid skills gap

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 16:31
The electric power industry workforce is in jeopardy: experienced workers are retiring and there aren’t enough trained workers to replace them. So it’s great news that the Center for Energy Workforce Development and business and industry groups are working together to ensure that students and workers have the needed skills to step up.

New York joins California as leader in energy storage (and what it means for your state)

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 18:52
Readers have seen the stories about New York’s ambitious plans to beef up the stability of its electric grid as part of a major smart grid overhaul. Energy storage insider Mark MacCracken joins us to share a close look at what those plans entail and why.

Disruption ahead! Nanogeneration and nanogrids could change everything

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 18:19
If you’re getting tired of constant disruptive change in our industry, we don’t want to be the bearers of bad tidings… but there’s more to come. Click to read about new concepts for power generation and power distribution that could dramatically change our future.

Modeling, Analysis and Design of Renewable Energy Nanogrid Systems

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 16:04
This thesis addresses electronic power distribution systems for residential applications. Presented are both, renewable energy ac-nanogrid system along with the vehicle-to-grid technology implementation, and envisioned structure and operation of dc-nanogrid addressing all system components chosen as an inherent part of the future electrical architecture.

It's a global week for smart grid projects news

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 18:42
This week’s smart grid wins roundup features quick summaries of a broad range of projects, from metering to energy storage management, from around the globe. Don’t forget to check out an interesting selection of awards and partnerships.

Five tips to engage utility customers (from a former Disney executive!)

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 17:38
Even though it took a while, utilities seem to be realizing they need to communicate and work with their customers if they’re ever going to have successful demand response and energy efficiency programs. So now seems like the perfect time to share consumer engagement tips from a master.

Why smart grid and smart water are essential to a smart city

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 17:12
Smart city initiatives are underway throughout the world, but many cities are unaware of the importance of energy and water infrastructure to their efforts. Guest authors Jim Anderson and Mark Leinmiller of Schneider Electric make an excellent case for why smart energy and smart water have a critical role and need to be part of the process.

Hope for grid security? The federal government may actually get something done

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 16:39
Congress may not be getting much done, but legislators did take two important steps toward enhancing grid resiliency and physical security. Click to read about proposed minimum physical security standards for critical substations and a recently passed amendment that calls for a comprehensive study of grid resiliency.

Nano-grid: Small scale DC Microgrid for Residential Houses with Cogeneration System in Each House

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 15:54
The microgrid system is a district energy network of distributed generators, such as cogeneration systems and renewable energy (wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, etc.). They are suitable for large scale applications. This paper proposes a small scale microgrid system for apartments, called "Nanogrid,” with each having small cogeneration systems and electrical power that can be shared among them.

Why and how to be proactive about data privacy (don't ignore this!)

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 17:52
Privacy worries sparked by energy use data gathered from smart meters are not to be ignored if utilities want the buy-in they need from regulators and their customers. Read the story to learn the four areas utilities need to nail down to ensure smart grid social acceptance.

National Grid enters next phase of important smart grid pilot

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 17:42
We have followed National Grid’s smart grid pilot in Worcester, MA throughout its evolution, and it continues to be one to watch. The smart meter installations have been completed, so click to get an update on the new applications and tests that are coming next.