Insights from our Editorial Team
Strong return on investment, but tough sell?
EPRI estimates of the cost-benefit ratio on smart grid to be 3x to 5x over the next 20 years. The investment of billions of dollars makes sense to commercial/industrial customers who understand the relationship of improved power quality and reliability to their bottom line. The value proposition to residential customers is more diffuse and long-term value propositions are notoriously difficult to sell to consumers. For data and the upshots from an EPRI conference call on these topics and more, read this column.
Transforming the energy ecosystem, one cross-cultural conversation at a time
An all-day consumer symposium yesterday at ConnectivityWeek brought industry stakeholders from across the board together to discuss hot-button consumer-facing topics, and took the first steps towards coming up with consumer-friendly solutions. Panelists didn`t just talk, they joined roundtable breakout sessions between panels, where each and every participant worked collaboratively to identify potential steps forward.
Younger users less informed, more willing to change
A new survey provides insight into the motivations that might drive a change in American energy consumption habits. At the top of the list: jobs and energy independence for economic and energy security. Way down the list: environmental concerns. Behind the motivations, the driver is the recession.
New survey challenges conventional wisdom
A new survey finds consumers increasingly concerned about rising electricity bills and desirous of options for managing their use and costs. Those options include alternatives to traditional service. While they look to their utility for help, they are open to other sources. Welcome to the land of threats and opportunities, a land where time is speeding up.
Your visit today helps America's energy independence
Vice President Joe Biden visits the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colo., today and our columnist sends him a memo on the importance of the nation's national labs to jobs, economic growth and energy independence. Columnist Phil Carson reminds Biden and his audience that President George W. Bush came to NREL with the same message five years ago. And Carson shares his three recent visits to NREL with details on the lab's work in three crucial areas.
Using analytics to do more than simply crunch data
The science of data analysis and analytics has been successfully applied to the banking, oil, insurance, telecommunications, travel and retail industries, to name but a few. Now the electric utility industry is turning its eye to data analytics, as well, in order to best mine the new information now coming in in droves. Here, in an interview with OGE Corp's Craig Johnston, we look at the company's work in utilizing the information to better inform and improve its business.
Colorado regulators: show us the value
Since the Colorado Public Utilities Commission capped cost recovery for Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity in late winter, the utility has argued that the project's potential value merits total, immediate cost recovery. The commission disagreed and insisted that ratepayer value be established prior to full cost recovery. Details here.
IDC: Distribution system upgrades underscore security needs
Cyber security remains a threat and utilities are challenged to address the vulnerabilities of their specific systems. Converting to digital technologies and upgrading the distribution system provide vulernabilities laden with regulatory uncertainties, but a webcast yesterday provided a refresher on the priorities and steps to achieve them.
NRECA releases open-source toolkit for utilities
It's time for utilities to take the lead in the cyber security effort. NRECA's off on the right foot, and willing to share. Kate Rowland takes a look at the association's efforts, and reports as well on the Edison Electric Institute's thoughts on government-industry communication on the topic.
Xcel challenges Colorado PUC decision, loses
We last reported on Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity in Boulder in February, when the Colorado Public Utilities Commission rendered a written version of its decision to limit cost recovery for the project. But when $16 million hangs in the balance, as it does here, one might have expected more action in the case. Here we provide a synopsis of what's transpired.