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Updated: 3 hours 51 min ago

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.

Has the UK already invented the utility of the future?

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 17:16
After a detailed examination, UK gas and electric utility regulators found that the current regulatory model needed to change if utilities were to successfully deliver on the promise of a sustainable energy sector. Guest author Paul Alvarez describes the new UK model and what it is intended to accomplish.

Should we be working on a strong grid instead?

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 18:50
With the number of power outages growing steadily since 1990, is it possible we should be focusing more on a strong and resilient power grid and less on how green it is? Click to read an argument that advocates reliability and strength over other goals.

Europe’s green energy industry faces collapse, claims conservative news site

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 18:10
Europe’s aggressive rush to embrace renewable energy has resulted in turmoil for some countries, including escalating prices for consumers and slashed subsidies for providers, according to a conservative news web site. It’s time well spent to follow the tumultuous story for the lessons it can provide.

Why New England’s power situation is precarious. (Did you guess pipelines?)

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 18:03
Many regions of the country may have access to abundant power. But that doesn’t appear to be the case in New England where a shortage of natural gas pipelines has constrained supply and drove prices through the roof during this year’s severe winter. Read the story for details.

Putin targets U.S. power grid for attack

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 15:05
A major hacking campaign has compromised computer systems at over 1,000 utilities in the U.S. and Europe, and some observers believe the attacks are Russian in origin. Read the story for details and to learn what one cybersecurity expert says utilities should be doing (and how much they should be spending) to thwart cyber attacks.

Coordinating energy efficiency with a new standards roadmap from ANSI

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 17:37
Energy efficiency has a key role in maintaining the US economy, not to mention energy security, job creation and enhancing the country’s competitiveness. And there is a pressing need for coordination of energy efficiency initiatives at the national level. To meet that need, ANSI’s energy efficiency collaborative has released an efficiency roadmap for the built environment.

Smart grid wins: It’s been a busy (and global) week for smart grid projects

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 17:27
You’ll see some familiar and not so familiar names in this week’s roundup of smart projects and developments. It’s a diverse collection including metering, energy storage, outage management and more. And they’re happening in a variety of locations, from the US to Scotland, Saudi Arabia and India.

Get our latest infographic: 20 questions to ask BEFORE you buy smart meters

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 12:39
Most in the electric power industry would call it a foregone conclusion that utilities will move to smart metering. Obviously many already have. But how to choose the right smart meter isn't so obvious. Our latest infographic highlights 20 questions utilities should ask before buying smart meters. Click to get your copy.

DOE invests $33 million to develop fuel cell technology

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 16:42
DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy is funding 13 projects focused on developing efficient intermediate-temperature fuel cell technology for distributed generation applications. Click to learn about three approaches developers will use and the state of fuel cell technology today.

Storage gets a lift from California’s $415 million for behind-the-meter generation

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 16:32
California legislators have approved $415 million in funding for behind-the-meter power generation from wind and fuel cells to be paired with energy storage. Dean Frankel of Lux Research explains how the program will work and lays out the details. For more, read the companion story on DOE’s funding initiative.

Two massive new revenue opportunities where utilities have a head start (but will they blow it anyway?)

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 16:19
A new survey from Accenture says more than half of the world’s energy users would consider installing connected-home solutions or solar panels in the next five years. These are massive opportunities for utilities, even if they are risky and challenging. And utilities have natural advantages to capture these new revenue streams that shouldn’t be wasted.

7 ways to solve your low-income utility customer problem

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 18:29
Low-income customers typically spend a high percentage of their income on energy, and utilities have been wrestling with how to come up with programs and protections to help them for years. Fortunately, a new report from the Distributed Energy Financial Group says there are ways to solve the problem, and smart grids can help.

The 3 steps to snagging a multi-billion-dollar "data dividend"

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 18:19
There is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity electric utilities haven’t caught on to yet: the business value of data. Guest author Gary Wachowicz explains the “data dividend,” what it is, and how utilities can quickly get on board and be competitive.