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Updated: 2 days 5 hours ago

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.

Grid planners -- stop leaving out storage!

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 17:04
Despite progress, the cost of grid-scale energy storage continues to inhibit its growth. But cost isn’t the only reason for slow growth. A new report from the Energy Storage Association says the grid modeling and planning software widely used today is simply not equipped to properly value storage as an integrated grid asset.

The next phase of the smart grid is... streetlights?

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 16:51
Silver Spring Networks isn’t the only smart grid heavyweight to expand its horizons, but it is certainly making serious moves to establish itself as a major figure in the Internet of Things. In addition to its venture in smart street lighting, the company is delving into several other sectors. Click to learn more.

What to do when you have TOO MUCH solar power (think inverters)

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 18:24
Earlier in the solar power boom, utilities pleaded for smart solar inverters to help them deal with integrating the intermittent source of energy. Now there are several flavors to choose from. We take a look at two examples.

EPA’s carbon rule sets off bitter fight before it even exists

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 18:13
The Obama administration will propose new rules for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants next week. It will certainly be challenged legally and in other ways, but the battle over the rules has already begun. Pete Danko of Breaking Energy explains.

Smart grid wins: Defense Department solves a transmission line issue and much more

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 18:00
Transmission, renewable energy, smart water management systems, energy storage and energy efficiency projects and developments. They’re all a part of this week’s smart grid wins. Click to read about a variety of interesting projects here and abroad.

Solid growth expected in several smart grid markets

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 16:57
Current market research reports have good things to say about renewable energy, building energy management systems, smart grid as a service and other smart grid sectors. The reports were selected at random and don’t reflect on all smart grid markets. But they’re still encouraging.

Demand response backlash? Court deals blow to FERC and other DR friends

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 16:40
Demand response supporters were badly shaken by a recent court decision. A FERC rule requiring that power users who cut demand were to be paid the same as providers who increased supply was struck down by a U.S. appeals court. Click to learn more about the decision and read some of the reactions.

Utilities: If you think solar rooftops are a pain, wait until solar streets get here

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 16:26
The controversy over rooftop solar and the challenges intermittent power sources present for utilities is far from over. But it might be time to make room for another: solar roads have reached the second prototype phase. Read on for details.

Grid security: Why it may be safer to switch our control centers to the cloud

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 17:11
A lot of utility professionals may scoff at the thought of moving control center functions to the cloud, but one group of researchers believes it could be a way to protect critical systems and keep the electric grid up and running. Take a look at our brief summary to find out why.

Proof that demand response is all grown up now

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 16:58
Demand response has become a critical part of the smart grid initiative, and appears to be coming into its own. Guest contributor Phil Davis offers a status report on today’s DR and how and where its applications have expanded. Along the way, he dispels common misconceptions and addresses the next steps in enabling integrated DR.

Where to look for smart grid leadership? Try China

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 16:43
For the first time, China’s spending on smart grid last year topped U.S. investments. While spending in the U.S. fell by a third, China spent $4.3 billion and plans to spend $100 billion over the next 10 years on power distribution system upgrades. Click for details on the country’s extremely ambitious smart grid plans.

Why utilities should be emphasizing resiliency (and technologies that can help)

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 17:17
Threats to grid infrastructure are growing: from cyber attacks and natural disasters to obsolescence and retirements of key personnel. And utility reputations are suffering for it. Click for highlights from a recent workshop that offer guidance to utilities looking for ways to answer the calls for better grid resiliency.

The 4 phases of customer engagement (many utilities are stuck at #1)

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 17:03
As utility professionals know, getting customer engagement right has been a major challenge, particularly at a time when customer expectations and demands are changing so quickly. Read the story for some helpful insights on how to communicate effectively with them.

The real reason for grid divorce? It's not cost reduction or green energy

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 16:54
Grid divorce isn’t a new concept, but it has been attracting a lot of attention recently. While a lot of the discussion about customer-owned power plants has focused on cutting costs or the desire for greener energy, there is a more compelling reason why some customers choose to go off-grid. SGN Chief Analyst Jesse Berst shares his thoughts.