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Updated: 14 min 1 sec ago

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.

Why it may soon be easier to connect meters back to the utility (a new standard)

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 17:54
While Zigbee is a top standard for linking smart meters to home area networks and from that point to in-home energy monitors, no single standard for connecting the meter back to the utility has been available. Now the Zigbee Alliance is working with a team of smart grid vendors to meet that need. Read the story for details.

Free open source toolkit for high-performance grid simulation

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 17:45
Grid simulation can be a great tool for electric utilities but it requires an incredible amount of computing power. Fortunately, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory now offers an open source toolkit that helps reduce programming complications and provides many additional features. And yes, it’s free.

Utility death spiral? Bull$&!# says Warren Buffett

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 17:31
The “utility death spiral” stories have been proliferating for some time. But not everyone agrees with them. Certainly not master investor Warren Buffett who paid $5 billion last year for NV Energy. Click to find out why Buffett is hot on utilities... and why he thinks the dire predictions are wrong.

Doing good customer engagement? Now you can win an award (if you hurry!)

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 16:43
If your electric utility has an excellent customer engagement program, wouldn’t it be great to get some recognition for it? The International Smart Grid Action Network is now sponsoring awards for utilities doing exemplary work in customer engagement and empowerment. But hurry. The deadline for nominations is coming up soon.

UK rediscovers what the US already knows about the smart grid

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 16:33
A British think tank has released a new report with recommendations for the UK’s smart meter rollout. While the recommendations won’t be big news for utilities in the US that have embarked on smart meter initiatives, they may be worth reviewing for utilities that haven’t yet started on metering upgrades.

Why you should steal ideas from New York's energy vision

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 16:24
The United States does not have a national energy policy or a clear vision of what our energy future should be, nor do most states. But New York is working on one in conjunction with its ambitious grid modernization initiative. Click to find out what the state is doing and why you should consider doing the same.

Utilities: More evidence demand may DROP instead of grow (Congress may insist!)

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 17:45
The push for energy efficiency already has plenty of steam behind it and it looks like Congress is adding to the momentum. The US House of Representatives has passed a major energy efficiency bill with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, and the Senate appears ready to do the same. Read the story to find out what the impact could be for utilities.

Smart grid project wins… and an opportunity from BPA

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 17:26
Take a few minutes to read about an array of projects, from transmission and metering to demand response and powerline communications in our smart grid wins roundup. You might also be interested in the Bonneville Power Administration’s call for partners to help develop technologies to improve the Northwest electric power system.

What utility execs are REALLY worried about (not cybersecurity, even if it should be)

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 17:13
It’s not that utilities don’t care about cybersecurity, but they do have other more pressing issues to worry about, according to a State of the Electric Utility report. Click to find out what issues and challenges concern utility professionals most, and where they see major opportunities.

Itron announcement validates growing managed services trend

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 16:55
Managed services have been catching on with utility executives who realize they don’t need to make major investments in a data center and expert staff when they can hire a company to provide the computing power and expertise they want. With Itron’s announcement of its AMI and other managed services package, utilities now have another option to consider.