Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Expert touts hardening, resiliency as avenue to growth
    Dec 16, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Massoud Amin, an IEEE senior member and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Minnesota, has been working on smart grid concepts for decades. In a Q&A session, Amin discusses the lessons of Hurricane Sandy and calls for infrastructure investments.

  • Dec 13, 2012 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

    The Electricity Subsector Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model (ES-C2M2) hasn’t been in the works for a decade. It hasn’t been languishing in a subcommittee waiting for rescue or funding. In fact, it all started just a scant year ago when the White House knocked on the door of the Department of Energy (DOE) and asked how we (as a government body and as an industry entity and as a group of concerned consumers) start to pinpoint what utilities are doing on cybersecurity and what they should be doing, a now-and-the-future scenario. Thus was born the ES-C2M2.

  • Achieving energy goals: a practical process
    Dec 12, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Boulder's city council is delving into every aspect of "going muni" to make a sound decision on the matter, while keeping every avenue open, including future cooperation with currently divorced partner, Xcel Energy. The careful approach could have historic consequences for communities and investor-owned utilities.

  • Financial modeling will be crucial to discern strategy
    Dec 11, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Boulder, Colo. continues to offer ideas on how it could work with its spurned power provider, Xcel Energy, in a scenario short of forming its own municipal utility. Meanwhile, it is moving ahead on concrete steps to articulate alternative strategies and develop a financial model to evaluate them. 

  • Institute focuses on behavior studies to ID gaps
    Dec 10, 2012 | Phil Carson

    A better grasp of who participates (and why) in voluntary pricing, energy feedback or control technology pilots and programs could improve energy efficiency efforts and lead to smarter investments in grid modernization, according to an EPRI report. 

    Comments: 3
  • Colorado city adds engineering, finance muscle, talks to Xcel
    Dec 09, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Boulder, Colo., is talking to former (and current) power provider Xcel Energy, while it also retains engineering and financial expertise to explore municipalization. (The city already has retained legal counsel on regulatory and asset matters in dispute.) The city proceeds on both fronts tomorrow night in an open session. 

    Comments: 4
  • Dec 06, 2012 | Kathleen Wolf Davis

    Before 2002, Texas looked like the rest of the United States—at least, as far as electricity was concerned. There were monopoly utilities, vertically constructed and vertically managed dotted across the landscape, a mirror to other geographies, whether coastal or bread basket: Back then, all utilities looked pretty much alike. But, unlike the rest of the U.S., Texas is now a self-contained competitive market that has pushed the focus horizontally out to the Texas consumer across the state. And, the tech benefits have responded to that growing market.

    Comments: 1
  • More systems integration talk, for `next time'
    Dec 05, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Americans love to point fingers, demand something for nothing and pretend they still live in the greatest nation on Earth. Alas, Hurricane Sandy's impact on Eastern utilities appears to establish a vast gap between expectations and willingness to adapt or pay. Recent coverage of the situation underscores why.

  • `Distractions' (investigations) may hamper improvements
    Dec 04, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Systems integration gets more emphasis in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, from a consultant who specializes in service restoration after major events. And if you think the storm was a doozy, wait til you consider the investigations and lawsuits now brewing. 

  • New `report' espouses mainstream ideas, but in odd company
    Dec 03, 2012 | Phil Carson

    A new paper that argues against stimulus funding for smart meters and calls for reforms that allow communities to pursue municipalization is "a day late and a dollar short." Especially as it links arms with an anti-meter effort undercut by minimal (and shrinking) opt-out rates. Good ideas, late to the party, odd company.

    Comments: 2