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Updated: 5 hours 29 min ago

First result from Connecticut's big microgrid push

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 16:31
Microgrids have caused a lot of buzz in energy industry circles, but they haven’t really had much of a track record to assess. Connecticut’s microgrid expansion initiative may change that. And the state’s governor is all for it. He wants at least one microgrid for reliable backup power in every town in the state.

The 3 kinds of cybersecurity every utility needs (and a reference architecture you need to know about)

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 16:22
Utilities are routinely criticized for not doing enough to address cybersecurity. With that in mind, guest author Brian Smith of EnerNex does an excellent job of laying out the challenges utilities face when forced to deal with constantly evolving threats. He also shares details of a pilot program intended to improve the agility of their cyber defense strategies.

Why California's demand response programs are failing (and how to fix them)

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 16:15
California’s demand response programs haven’t been a success story. And utilities had underperformed in their efforts to meet peak demand reduction goals, according to a state energy commission report, possibly opening the door to third-party aggregators. While there are changes that could be made to boost utility performance, it’s unfortunate they aren’t likely to come soon.

It will soon be easier to mix and match wireless and powerline communications

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 16:41
Hybrid networks with both powerline and wireless communications are inevitable, and two major standards organizations are working toward a solution to make that coexistence easier to manage. Read the story to find out what the HomePlug and Wi-SUN alliances are doing to make it happen.

Utilities: Forget about Big Data! (Start with small data, then work your way up)

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 16:25
If your utility is trying to figure out how to approach enterprise data analytics, you won’t want to miss our webinar on how to get started. So mark your calendar for Wednesday, April 2nd and register to reserve your spot to hear from experts in the field. The webinar is free to Smart Grid News readers while space remains.

Coming to your territory soon? More jurisdictions require energy storage

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 16:18
It all started when California required utilities to store much of the electricity they produce. Now jurisdictions in other parts of the world are pushing storage too. Click to read how and where the trend continues. Is it time for utilities to start talking with regulators about future energy storage plans?

Massachusetts pushes to stay #1 in energy efficiency (and what it means for your state)

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 17:47
Massachusetts has been named the country’s most energy-efficient state for the past three years and continues to press for even greater levels of efficiency. Utilities in other areas would be wise to keep an eye on Massachusetts because they could soon see the same or similar efficiency requirements in their
own jurisdictions.

The 5 issues forcing utilities to future-proof their mobile networks

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 17:23
As utilities shift to a more de-centralized and distributed workforce, communications with field workers become more critical. Guest author Lee Johnson outlines the changes the shift has created and why it’s so important for utilities to future-proof their mobile networks to accommodate and keep pace with them.

Utilities! Get off your backsides and start building smart water networks

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 17:15
Several jurisdictions are considering extreme and expensive measures, like desalinization plants and canals, to conserve water even though a smart water network can reclaim 20% to 40% of water lost through leaks and theft. In recognition of World Water Day, Sensus offers several good reasons why smart water networks are such an effective solution for saving both water and energy.

Reality check: First-year report card for North America's largest energy storage project

Fri, 03/21/2014 - 18:05
Duke Energy has operated an advanced lead acid battery storage system at its Notrees, Texas wind farm for a year, and is now readying its first report for DOE. Click for some thoughts from a Duke official on the project and where the utility sees value in storage.

Smart grid wins: Building better electric grids

Fri, 03/21/2014 - 17:55
It’s a short list for this week’s selection of smart grid wins, but varied. Read about ABB’s power generation project in India, Ice Energy’s successful energy storage pilot in California and more projects, developments and partnerships.

Psssst! Pass these substation security ideas along to NERC. (Right now.)

Fri, 03/21/2014 - 17:45
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently told the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to develop a new physical security standard, and NERC has less than 90 days to do it. Doug Houseman of EnerNex has obviously put some serious thought into the issue and shares some very good ideas on substation security. Click to read what he has to say.

New inverters make it more cost-effective to combine solar and storage

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:38
We recently reported that the cost of grid-scale battery technology is expected to fall. And there’s more good news for both utilities and the solar industry: significant strides have been made in improving the cost-efficiency of solar installations with smart battery management technologies capable of balancing grid power and battery power.

Ensuring that net metering remains a win-win-win

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:24
The net metering debate is far from over and the us against them mentality is still very apparent. However, the belief that stakeholders can come to a practical agreement is becoming more widespread. Guest author Brian F. Keane explains why it’s critical for the electric and solar industries to do just that… work it out.

Utility dinosaurs: Here are five plans for your survival

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:16
If utility executives want to transform today’s outdated utility business model into one they can live with they had better get busy. If not, someone else is likely to do it for them. Several organizations already have made proposals in an effort to sway regulators. Click to see examples of what they’re recommending.

Future smart meter rollouts: Chaos is NOT inevitable

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 17:04
Considering the depth of experience the electric power industry now has in smart meter deployments, one would think the rollouts would be piece of cake smooth and trouble-free. Not so. Some utilities still make the same mistakes that were made early on. Sangeet Dutta shares why… and what can be done to avoid those missteps.

Vortex Schmortex -- How one utility cut winter power outages in half

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 16:52
The Polar Vortex-related heavy snows and extreme cold made a mess of the eastern half of the US this winter, and even clobbered southern cities that rarely see that type of weather. Yet one southern city managed to keep outages to a minimum. Guest authors David Wade and Mike Edmonds explain how.

More evidence grid-scale batteries will soon be cost-effective

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 16:39
Grid-scale batteries have seemed poised for a breakthrough for some time, although they have never quite taken off. But prices have been dropping for years and there’s good reason to think we may see an even steeper drop in the very near future. Click to find out why.

Even RMI agrees that grid defection doesn't make sense

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 17:39
Grid defection, the concept that electric utility customers will take it upon themselves to provide their own power and abandon the electric grid, has been a hot topic within both the solar and utility industries. While the Rocky Mountain Institute, a renewables and efficiency advocacy organization, released a report recently saying utilities are on their last legs, it has now come out with a blog post suggesting that grid defection is a bad idea. Click to learn more.

Why smart streetlights are the gateway drug for smart grids (and smart cities)

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 17:30
Cities throughout the world are jumping on the smart street lights bandwagon as a practical way to significantly cut their electric power expenses and save energy. But once that network is up and running, there are a lot more ways cities can take advantage of it for smart grid and smart cities applications.