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Updated: 6 hours 51 min ago

Honeywell to build Army microgrid (and more smart grid project news)

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 16:55
Honeywell will build a microgrid for the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg, and Landis+Gyr will acquire GRIDiant Corporation. Those are only two examples of the big news stories readers will find in this week’s collection of smart grid wins.

When not so smart people run smart grids -- 3 ways to raise your operational IQ

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:56
In the first part of his three-part series on the operations maturity model, guest author Kai Hui related how utilities can use it to gauge how effectively they are interpreting using smart meter data. Now, he explains three ways utilities can climb to a higher level on the maturity scale.

Smart grid tech: A bit of what’s new from the technology sector

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:40
The quest for better smart grid technologies and enhancements never stops. Read about GE Digital Energy’s new time synchronization solution, ABB’s latest secondary substation, a new analytics offering from C3 Energy and other platforms and devices.

What NERC got wrong in its new security recommendations

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:19
While generally getting a thumbs up from the electric power industry, NERC’s new physical security standards contain flaws, says Battelle’s Jason Black. Click to read his concerns and suggestions for improving the standards.

How AMI analytics will determine utility winners and losers

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:46
Early on AMI primarily was seen as a way to reduce peak demand and give customers more information about (and control over) their energy use. But as a new whitepaper from Oracle and Opower reveals, there are more benefits to be had… without additional cost. Click for a summary and to download the paper.

To see the future of electric power, just travel to... Africa?!?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 17:40
A solar-based microgrid will be built to provide power for an island off Africa’s Equatorial Guinea. It’s an interesting story because it may be a preview of how some areas of the developing world will skip centralized electric grids altogether in favor of solar + storage systems.

Are you smart enough to run a smart grid? How to grade your operations IQ

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 16:38
All the smart meter data in the world isn’t going to do much good if a utility is unable to efficiently and effectively interpret and extract value from it. In the first of a three-part series, long-time utility insider Kai Hui explains the operations maturity model and how utilities can use it to judge if they are making the most of the data they have available.

Skim 7 years of smart grid progress in 6 minutes

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 16:53
Readers can learn a lot about how the smart grid has evolved just by watching a short video from EPRI. The video highlights the most important results of its Smart Grid Demonstration Initiative, and it can also be mined for ideas on how utilities can explain their own initiatives in an understandable way.

Utility CEO to regulators: We can't keep living from rate case to rate case!

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 16:46
ComEd President and CEO Anne Prammaggiore doesn’t mince words when it comes to sharing her thoughts on why utilities are stuck in the 20th century. Click for her views on why regulations established at that time often don’t allow utilities to provide customers the services they want today.

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.