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Updated: 3 hours 43 min ago

One way to solve the workforce shortage. Ice Energy partners with college on training

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 16:36
The looming skills gap in the smart grid workforce has generated several innovations to provide the trained, qualified employees the energy industry depends on. Read the story for details on Ice Energy’s partnership with a California college to train students in thermal energy storage and HVAC refrigeration.

CIA, NSA and others tell utilities how to up their cybersecurity

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 16:30
Cybersecurity threats are escalating to the point where reports of new attacks are coming almost daily. Fortunately, efforts to combat cyber attacks are growing too. A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center calls for a number of policy changes and new approaches utilities should know about. Click to learn more and to download the complete report.

Want to cash in on the smart grid? Go to Chattanooga (they have an incubator)

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 17:18
Chattanooga, home to one of America’s most robust smart grids, is inviting entrepreneurs to take advantage of its incubator program on smart grid innovation. The program offers funding access, grid information, suppliers and more. But you’d better hurry. The first round of applications closes March 14.

In San Antonio, automated demand response grabs the spotlight

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 17:01
Automated demand response (ADR) has attracted a lot of buzz and smart grid companies are jumping on the bandwagon one after another. Read the story to learn more about the growing market and to sign up for the Navigant Research Automated Demand Response webinar scheduled for Tuesday, March 11.

Utilities: Why it's time to get tougher on energy theft (And on ourselves)

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 16:52
Losses from energy theft run into the hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars annually. And it’s a worldwide problem utilities haven’t pursued because getting the evidence to prosecute thieves is so hard to come by. But guest author Alan Snook says there is now a way to do just that: Distribution Transformer Monitoring. Click to learn about the technology and how utilities can use it to pinpoint theft.

ComEd accelerates smart meter rollout

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 16:46
Delays in smart meter deployments have been a part of the AMI sector for years. That makes it intriguing to learn of a utility that wants to speed up its installations… and that has been asked to do so by its regulators. Read the story for the latest development in Commonwealth Edison’s smart grid journey.

Smart grid interoperability: We now have an answer (its initials are MQTT)

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 16:30
So, what is MQTT? Guest author Geoff Brown answers that question and explains why it’s crucial to smart grid interoperability and the integration of M2M and the Internet of Things. He also shares problems and challenges – as well as solutions that can be implemented now.

Why utilities will soon be obsolete in HI and CA (and then in your state)

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 16:21
The electric grid may become optional in some parts of the United States because of three converging trends, says a recently released report. But the much talked about utility “death spiral” could be deferred, and there are ways utilities could latch onto a competitive edge. Click to find out how and why.

Who's dominating smart grid security? New report lists 8 leaders

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 17:23
Utilities depend on solid relationships with their cybersecurity vendors to keep them up to speed and prepared for the latest threats. Infiniti Research has released a list of what it considers the top eight companies in the cybersecurity field. Click to find out which companies they picked and see if you agree.

The Next Next Thing: Dealing with distributed generation and rooftop solar

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 17:15
Distributed generation and rooftop solar have been two very controversial issues in the electric utility industry. Controversial because of their impact on traditional utility business models, renewable energy integration and more. Would resolving those issues have a significant impact on the smart grid and electric utilities? That’s the topic of this installment in our Next Next Thing article series.

Smart grid wins: a full slate of innovative technologies and new projects

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 17:05
The smart grid sector is a busy one, and this week has been no exception. Read about a vegetable oil-insulated and cooled transformer from Siemens, Plug Power’s multi-site hydrogen fuel cell order, ABB’s substation order from Kuwait and other projects and developments.

A faster way to restore power? This company thinks so

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:26
If there is such a thing as a quiet explosion, the phrase would accurately describe the growth of low-cost sensors for distribution networks. They’re becoming more widespread, more functional and smarter. Guest author Ashley Walter describes one such technology. Think of it as an example of what’s behind a quickly growing market.

Utilities: Getting environmentalists on your side in the net metering struggle

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:15
The controversy over net metering has been described variously as a “war” or a “battlefield” with rooftop solar companies and supporters on one side and electric utilities on the other. Clean energy and energy efficiency advocate Brian Keene explains why it’s critical for rooftop solar’s continued success that the two sides come together and work as partners… and that everybody wins.

It's time to rethink pre-pay (20% of your customers may soon ask for it)

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:03
North American utilities may not like pre-paid power plans, but now would be a very good time for them to reconsider. Why? A new report from consulting firm DEFG EcoAlign says consumer adoption and satisfaction with the plans are growing, to the point that 2014 could be an inflection point for pre-pay. Click for details on the report’s findings.

A better way to charge EVs? Scientists devise "packet-based" approach

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 17:29
Utilities have good reason to worry about EVs, as in what could happen to a distribution transformer when several neighbors plug their vehicles in to charge every evening at the same time? University of Vermont researchers have a new proposal to duck that problem by reducing the impact of simultaneous charging. Check out the story to find out what they have in mind.

The secrets to integrated security (they're mostly people problems, says EPRI)

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 17:21
The Electric Power Research Institute has released strategies to help utilities plan and implement an Integrated Security Operations Center. The institute says an ISOC could have several advantages and yield significant value, but also makes it clear that a lot of technical resources, staff and time are needed to make it happen.

The next backlash? Why you need to educate C&I customers about demand charges

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 17:09
Power pricing is shifting toward rates based on peak demand, and it could cause headaches for utilities when commercial and industrial customers see higher electric bills they weren’t expecting. Before they start complaining to you and to regulators, make sure they understand their tariffs and power contracts. Click for details and more sound advice from energy services expert Lindsay Audin.

Why microgrids are making progress in the Midwest

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 16:48
Microgrid installations are growing in the Midwest, even in regions where hurricanes and superstorms aren’t an issue. Read the story to find out what is behind the growth spurt and why microgrids are getting closer to the inflection point where they will become a more popular option for a variety of applications.

Smart meters: What we're learning in Europe (I found #12 most intriguing)

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 16:39
Berg Insight has released its latest report on smart metering in Europe, and there’s news that may be a bit of a surprise for U.S. electric utilities. For instance: when completed, the UK’s system will be the largest wireless smart meter deployment in the world… and it’s primarily cellular. Click for a quick summary of the report findings.

At last! Help for the smart grid skills gap

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 16:31
The electric power industry workforce is in jeopardy: experienced workers are retiring and there aren’t enough trained workers to replace them. So it’s great news that the Center for Energy Workforce Development and business and industry groups are working together to ensure that students and workers have the needed skills to step up.