Smart grids

Among the recommendations: ensure that all benefits, and not just the costs, of efficiency programs are accounted for.

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Virginia has steered clear of clean energy policies that are creating jobs and businesses in dozens of states. Perhaps the biggest reason is that the state’s energy policy – and the only market for electricity – is run by investor-owned Dominion Virginia Power which serves 70% of the state’s electricity load. Curiously, that’s not the case for natural gas, where households and businesses can shop prices and supply contracts offered by several for suppliers.

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There is no shortage of ideas on how businesses, governments and households in the U.S. and other industrialized countries can become more energy efficient; same applies on how to grow cleaner supplies of energy while lowering harmful greenhouse gas emissions and doing so in ways that create sustainable jobs. There are so many ideas, in…

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The absence of a viable means to store a significant amount of electricity generated from renewable resources is one of the tallest hurdles limiting their growth.  After a series of financial setbacks and exhaustive regulatory deliberations, energy storage fed by renewables  is set to earn a scalable role due largely to a new mandate in…

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Two settlements at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) made public this year involving large civil penalties illustrate how the market for demand response (DR) services could be ‘gamed’ by artificially inflating normal levels of power consumption. In the most recent settlement, the FERC reached a consent order June 7 with the Enerwise Global Technologies…

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Of all the forward-thinking at this month’s 10th annual Town Meeting on Demand Response and Smart Grid in Washington, DC and similar conferences in the U.S., one new application is appears curiously off the main radar screen. I’m talking about software that utilities can use to automatically program large-scale demand reductions in real time by…

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In the six months since a consultant to the Edison Electric Institute wrote a paper describing “Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business,” many utility officials, analysts, investors and consultants have been mulling over how investor-owned electric utilities may have to change principally due to the growth of demand…

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With more U.S. homes receiving smart meters and more utilities deploying their smart grid infrastructures, there are handful of utilities that have made notable progress with valuable lessons to share for the rest of the industry. I’m talking primarily about CenterPoint Energy in Houston, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern…

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That question has been posed by the now newly re-elected Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley. He is seeking a “viable method to explore the contours of the utility of the future” with a pilot program to be proposed by March 15, 2013. Utility of the future, in Maryland, you ask? That was my reaction because…

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If you need to quickly grasp the potential and benefits of the emerging smart grid in the U.S., this infographic is the best effort yet.  It comes courtesy of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative and its 90+ member utilities, technology companies, non-profits, regulators and consumers advocates. Increasing the power grid’s efficiency by 9% equates to…

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