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Updated: 7 hours 24 min ago

Boulder / Xcel slapfest gets uglier -- Xcel asks FERC for help

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 20:31
Boulder, Colorado’s attempts to divorce Xcel Energy and set up its own municipal electric utility just took another turn in what is already a convoluted story. Xcel asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this week to rule that the city can’t condemn the transmission line that surrounds it without the agency’s permission.

The rapidly expanding market for distributed renewable energy

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 18:50
As the cost of distributed wind and solar power generation drop, costs for fossil fuel and nuclear continue to increase. While the intermittent nature of those renewables presents challenges for many utilities integrating them, the growth rate of those power sources in many countries may surprise you… particularly in developing nations.

The 5 testing steps that allow utilities to roll out smart devices with confidence

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 18:35
As utilities roll out new technologies, they sometimes find problems after the initial installations. That mistake can be costly and the negative publicity damaging. Guest contributor Angus Panton offers guidance to help utilities ensure that doesn’t happen: advance testing methods that can spot problems in meters and other devices before they’re delivered to customers.

Warning: California is rewriting the financial rules for utilities. Will your region be next?

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 18:23
The California Public Utilities Commission is rewriting requirements for how utilities value distributed energy resources. Guest author Tom Osterhus says the changes will bring new value opportunities, but will be dangerous for utilities that fail to adapt. Click to read his explanation of what those changes will look like and what their impact will likely be.

Two smart meter pioneers who may be takeover targets (because of their patents)

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 23:08
Mergers and acquisitions are nothing new in the smart grid sector, and equity analyst Louis Basenese expects the trend to continue. Why? Against the background of an aging electric grid, the big companies understand innovation is crucial and that cutting edge companies have it. Read on to learn why he believes two pioneering companies could be in their sights.

The 4 priorities that allow utilities to profit from the connected home market

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 22:44
New technologies are frequently viewed with suspicion in the utility industry. Consider the developing “connected home” market as an example. Guest contributor Angus Panton makes the case that the new market offers substantial growth opportunities for utilities… as long as they attend to four key issues early on.

Another expert writes a requiem for today's "traditional" utilities

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 22:36
One view of the future for electric grids and utilities is a scenario that includes two types of distribution utilities, one responsible for maintaining grid operations and another that will sell energy services. Click to read an explanation of one increasingly popular concept of the new utility model: “distribution service operators.”

European power plants could be obsolete starting in 2020

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 19:21
A new report says Europe’s centralized fossil-fuel power plants could be obsolete very soon as a direct result of solar power, energy storage and electric vehicles. And the 2020 tipping point date? That’s when investment bank UBS believes the payback period for a rooftop solar system will be attractively short and batteries much less expensive.

Smart grid tech: breakthroughs, tweaks and building a better battery

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 19:11
Smart grid companies are always coming up with new tech products and services and enhancements to existing products. We thought it was time to take a look at what they’ve been up to, so click to read about new offerings from ABB, Belden, GE, Leidos and other companies.

What to do today to prepare for Big Change tomorrow (from a telecom veteran)

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 18:49
With massive change coming in the utility business environment, it’s not hard to understand that figuring out how and where to begin to cope with it is a challenge. In the age of the data driven utility, guest author Thomas Zimmermann counsels utilities to take an incremental approach for the best outcome to what will be a major transformation.

Distributed Marginal Prices v.6

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 16:13
This whitepaper from Integral Analytics addresses Distributed Marginal Prices, the cost savings accruing across all of the avoided cost categories that exist in the varied and diverse silos of utility value (e.g., supply, ancillary services, bank deferral, line loss mitigation, KVAR support, voltage impacts, customer-specific avoided costs).

U.S. wind energy industry is doing quite well too (It’s not all about solar)

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:43
Wind power usually seems to play the wallflower in the renewable energy world where most of the attention is focused on solar. But two new DOE reports say the U.S. is a global leader in wind energy, ranking second in installed capacity in the world.

Australia and Europe have a power problem -- too MUCH power

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:24
Australia and Europe have far more energy than they need. In Australia, it’s a matter of economics and reduced demand. In Europe, renewable energy subsidies led to the oversupply. Click to learn what the fallout will be as both regions respond to their energy gluts.

This week’s smart grid (and smart water) wins: projects, milestones and a merger

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:04
Read this week’s smart grid wins roundup to learn about new projects and developments for a variety of smart grid and smart water companies. Also, don’t miss the news about the proposed merger between Exelon Corporation and Pepco Holdings.

74% of U.S. utilities are flunking mobile (the East is best, the South is worst)

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 17:57
The migration to mobile is evident in almost every industry. But at a time when people buy clothes, check bank statements or make reservations by phone, the U.S. electric power industry seems to be far behind. There are stunning exceptions of course but many, many utilities seriously lag in their adoption of digital technologies. A new report from Booz Allen offers some suggestions for how they can catch up.

Were we wrong about Germany? Can renewables make a grid MORE reliable?

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 17:49
Critics routinely skewer Germany’s aggressive adoption of renewables, citing high power costs and grid instability as the inevitable results. But there are those who contend the country’s grid is more reliable because of renewables integration. Click to read what they’re saying and why.

The 5 essentials for better customer engagement

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 17:34
Most utilities have customer engagement programs of some kind by now. But are they doing enough, doing it right? Guest author Martin Milani explains why a comprehensive strategy that cost-effectively engages customers across all touch points and programs is far better than stand-alone solutions. And he shares proven approaches for ensuring meaningful engagement.

Future of utilities: New England may opt for "outcomes-based" regulations

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 17:24
The northeast region of the country is undergoing major changes that include rapid adoption of distributed generation, electric vehicles, smart buildings and more. Plus demands from regulators and ratepayers for a more resilient and dependable grid. Read the story for a look at the New England Clean Energy Council’s vision of the electricity future.

The 7 technologies that are revolutionizing the transmission grid

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 17:11
The U.S. transmission network is old. More than half of the country’s high voltage transmission lines have been in service for 25 years or longer. However, there are several new technologies that could help correct its inadequacies and enable it to meet 21st century demands. Click to learn about them.

The good news for solar that could be bad news for utilities (including much higher efficiency)

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 17:01
Solar may seem like a threat utilities don’t really need to worry about quite yet, if ever in areas that don’t get a lot of sun and costs are high. But recent developments in the solar and energy storage industries could mean the time when today’s utility customers start generating their own power is coming soon.