Updated: 6 min 20 sec ago
It used to be that yachts and foreign sports cars were a measure of conspicuous consumption. Now it’s all about whose got the smarter appliances. At the recent Consumer electronics Show, Dacor introduced its 30” Discovery iQ, the world’s first wall oven to feature the integrated Discovery iQ Controller for Android.
Enel chief executive officer Fulvio Conti and José Luis Fernàndez Zayas, Executive Director of the Instituto de Investigaciones Eléctricas have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at cooperation in geothermal generation as well as smart grids. The signing ceremony took place in Mexico City at the presidential palace.
Just as home entertainment systems drove cable services in the United States, smart appliances are showing consumers the practical value of wireless technology in ways smart meters can’t. The array of smart appliances on display at the Consumer Electronics Show sometimes seems straight out of The Jetson’s.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has issued an order that will require the state’s major utilities to submit a 10-year grid modernization plan (GMP) by summer 2014 that includes smart metering with advanced functionality such as outage detection and restoration, smart appliance communication and control, and power quality support, and voltage reduction.
The Wi-SUN Alliance, which promotes standards compliance and interoperability testing of smart utility networks, has announced the addition of several new members including Huawei and Cisco Systems, the latter also joining the Wi-SUN Board of Directors alongside existing directors from Analog Devices, Fuji Electric, Murata Manufacturing, Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Omron Corp., Osaki Electric, Renesas Electronics, and Silver Spring Networks.
Iberdrola Renewables has petitioned the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) to build a new wind farm in the state. If approved, the 75.9 megawatt (MW) Wild Meadows Wind Farm would become Iberdrola’s third wind power project in New Hampshire. The previous two facilities became operational in 2008 and 2012.
ReneSola has signed a contract to supply 420MW of solar panels to a leading Japanese-based solar project developer. Specifically, ReneSola’s Virtus II 300W 72-cell high-efficiency polycrystalline PV panels will be installed in more than 10 ground-mounted power plants in the mountain regions of Japan. The PV panels will provide power to the surrounding residential homes.
Inversiones Eolicas de Orosi Dos (IEDO)has contracted with Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica to develop a 50MW wind farm in Costa Rica. The new facility is scheduled to be built on the Los Angeles and La Frescura farms. In addition to the construction of wind turbines, the contract also call for wind measuring stations, an operations building, and an electrical substation as well as a SCADA control system to supervise, monitor, and control all the various project components.
The concept of smart homes is extending to consumers’ garages. Just in time for the opening day of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Google has announced a new partnership with General Motors, Audi, Honda, and Hyundai, as well as with chipmaker Nvidia, to equip cars with the Android operating system starting this year. The collaboration, called the Open Auto Alliance, maintains that Android’s “open development model and common platform will allow automakers to more easily bring cutting-edge technology to their drivers, and create new opportunities for developers to deliver powerful experiences for drivers and passengers in a safe and scalable way.” Audi’s head of electrics/electronics development Ricky Hudi says, “The worlds of consumer and automotive technologies have never been more closely aligned, and this alliance will only pave the way for faster innovation. Working toward a common ecosystems benefits driver safety above all.” Mary Chan, president of General Motors’ global connected consumer unit believes “partnering with Google and the OAA on an ecosystem that spans across vehicles and handheld mobile devices furthers our mission to bring vehicles into our owners digital lives and their digital lives into their vehicles. We see huge opportunities for the Android platform paired with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles.” When exactly the various car makers will introduce Android integrated models will vary but all have committed to having it happen by the end of 2014. The vehicle Android will have to-be-identified later car-specific features. NVIDIA president and chief executive officer Jen-Hsun Huang calls cars “the ultimate mobile computers. With onboard supercomputing chips, futuristic cars of our dreams will no longer be science fiction. The OAA will enable the car industry to bring these amazing cars to market faster.” (SmartMeters.com Journalist Kathleen Tracy, reporting from CES)
GreenWave Reality has extended its partnership with E.ON to provide smart home services across Europe, licensing hardware, software, hosting, and cloud services. GreenWave’s goal is to “establish a smart home infrastructure to drive development of a wide range of consumer-facing energy management applications including solar, home automation, and connected lighting.”
In a good-news, not-so-bad news scenario, a new report from Research and Markets concludes that Europe will likely fail to meet its goal of deploying smart meters to at least 80 percent of its electricity customers by 2020. Germany’s decision not to deploy smart meters and delays experienced by other countries in planned rollouts, including France, means the penetration rate will more likely be in the 60 to70 percent range by the goal date—still a good number, all things considered.
Enel Green Power’s (EGP) Valle de los Vientos wind farm is now operational and connected to the grid. The facility is located in Chile’s II Region of Antofagasta. The new plant is comprised of 45 2-MW wind turbines for a total installed capacity of 90 MW. The wind farm is expected to generate more than 200 GWh per year, the equivalent of eliminating the emission of more than 165 thousand tonnes of CO2 annually.
Engineering students at the Government College University (GCU) at Lahore, Pakistan, have built a smart meter that sends text messages via GSM to consumers about electricity bills. The meters were part of the annual project exhibition organized by the GCU Electrical Engineering Department with the support of Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), Google Pakistan, Institution of Engineering and Technology, and British Science Association.