Community News and Information
Updated: 7 hours 15 min ago
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This paper defines nanogrids, delves into their existing and potential characteristics, and proposes some principles for standard interfaces between nanogrids and with microgrids.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.