Insights from our Editorial Team
Xcel's response to critics' objections forthcoming
The Climax Molybdenum Company, one of Colorado's largest electricity users, spelled out its objections to an initial ruling by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission that approved triple cost overruns by Xcel at SmartGridCity in Boulder. Read this summary or click through to the document itself. In a nutshell: SmartGridCity is a research and development project that should be paid for Xcel shareholders, not 1.4 million Xcel ratepayers in Colorado.
While many of today's smart grid technology vendors may find themselves tactically well-positioned with their current capabilities, they may be strategically challenged if unable to support a complete smart grid solution. Many vendors are addressing this issue by forming alliances and partnerships with companies that can provide solutions that complement their offering.
Kansas IOU prepares ground for 45,000-meter pilot in Lawrence
Westar Energy is prepping Lawrence, Kansas, for a 45,000-meter pilot that will be coupled with an online energy use portal for customer value. Will this pilot provide the data on consumer behavior and the development of a business case for Westar's other 640,000 other metered customers?
High-touch engagement pays dividends in D.C. and Ohio smart grid pilots
An Intelligent Utility Reality webcast yesterday offered two perspectives on customer engagement from pilot programs in Washington, D.C., and Ohio. One upshot: engagement requires heavy lifting, but there's little alternative. Another: be prepared to succeed. And a sobering reminder: beyond pilot work, utilities will have to scale their outreach efforts. The timeframe for buildout may be an ally.
Halcrow's Mark Gabriel and Siemens Energy's John Wilson talk about the industry's future
There won't be one technological Holy Grail that responds to all our energy needs to get us through the 21st century, says Mark Gabriel, author of Visions for a Sustainable Energy Future. Yesterday, Gabriel and Siemens Energy's John Wilson teamed up to talk about industry megatrends and black swans. What's in store for the intelligent utility?
Soup-to-nuts experiment seeks participants, vendors
The Pecan Street Project in Austin, Texas, a small-scale but soup-to-nuts smart grid will issue a request for information next week to allow potenial participants to pitch their contribution. The project will attempt to introduce all smart grid related components in about 1,000 residences and 75 commercial properties to test hypotheses on customer-focused technology and pricing models.
Mid-term elections bring anti-science bias to Congress
Republican control of the House may derail smart grid efforts if the new majority pursues rescinding federal stimulus funds for smart grid initiatives and turns back the clock on regulation sought by the industry itself. The new leadership has shown an almost anti-science bias.
Government policy spurs private leadership on innovation, Chu says
Energy Secretary Steven Chu advocated government policies as a spur to private investment in clean energy innovations, at a National Press Club lunch yesterday. Chu told reporters that American leadership in clean energy innovation is today's "Sputnik moment" and cited international competition and poor metrics for the United States as wake-up calls for action. This is the policy context for grid modernization, according to our columnist.
Denmark aims for 100 percent fossil-free status by 2040
On the eve of a United Nations conference in Mexico on climate change, which brings the U.S. to the table with no legislated commitment to cutting carbon emissions, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) spoke yesterday about a bipartisan commitment to energy efficiency. While our elected federal officials are decidedly partisan on climate change, both sides can definitely agree on energy efficiency, she said. But can the U.S. step up to the energy efficiency plate the way, say, Denmark has?
Home network alternative plays on privacy and security concerns
The Z-Wave Alliance says consumers should embrace means to manage their energy use without involving their utility. Utilities, of course, have favored the ZigBee protocol, an oft-cited rival to Z-Wave. But what are the issues for consumers themselves?