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Updated: 4 hours 3 min ago

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.

Smart grid security: WSJ reveals we're 10 bullets away from an 18-month blackout

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 17:22
Members of Congress recently have been drawn to electric grid and grid security issues. Whether they’re grandstanding or not, the attention is welcome if it will help get serious grid security planning and standards moving faster. Click to learn why Senator Dianne Feinstein is pushing FERC to do more for physical protection of the grid.

“No-touch” energy audits: easier than ever for customers to reduce electricity use

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 18:02
With the energy efficiency initiative in full swing, news of novel approaches for achieving it is almost routine. Now, ConEd has partnered with building efficiency intelligence company Retroficiency to make immediate and significant reductions in energy use possible for commercial and multi-family buildings.

Smart grid wins, from Mozambique to Miami

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 17:48
It’s been a big week for smart grid wins, from the largest networked street lighting deployment in North America to substation projects in Qatar and Mozambique. Click to read more sector news, such as DOE’s new wind energy resource center and Philadelphia’s major smart buildings project.

David Crane: No, you fool, utilities are not “shockingly stupid”

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 17:40
Utility CEOs as a group are generally considered conservative or slow to react by many people, and they may have a point. But some critics refer to them as stupid, while failing to consider the regulatory environment they have to work with. Click to read our take on why the critics with the “utilities are stupid” point of view are so very far off base.

Smart grid market research: a quick review

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 17:10
There is a massive amount of smart grid market research out there on every conceivable topic. We’ve selected a sampling of the latest reports that should interest many of our readers. Click for a quick look at new research in the transmission, metering, smart cities and smart water markets.

The tipping point for time-of-use rates?

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 17:02
Residential customers of many utilities still don’t have time-of-use rates. But that could change. Several major California utilities have filed for time-of-use programs which indicates they could soon make a big push for them. And if they get it right, their actions may influence utilities and regulators in other states.

Latest smart meter pushback: Laws to prevent meters from "stealing secrets"

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 16:35
The smart meter backlash hasn’t died out, but the focus has changed. Earlier, the primary fears and concerns from opponents centered on health and safety concerns. Those fears continue, along with the more recent claim that smart meters spy on homeowners… and some go further to say utilities will sell the information they collect to third parties.