Insights from our Editorial Team
Yogi Berra's infamous quote is playing out in AMI smart grid deployments
American baseball great Yogi Berra is said to have uttered those infamous words: "It's déjà vu all over again." It's unfortunately apropos here, as we see Maine following in California's footsteps, and another smart meter deployment is sidetracked by a few loud and angry dissenters, as well as the attention of the Maine Public Utilities Commission (Maine PUC). Yesterday, the first technical hearing of an investigation by the Maine PUC of the Central Maine Power Company's (CMP's) smart meter project laid out the schedule and manner by which the proceedings will move forward. This investigation focuses on whether allowing customers to opt out of having a smart meter installed is a feasible and financially viable solution to concerns about health and cybersecurity.
EDTA calls for alignment of national efforts
A commercial association for the promotion of electric drive transportation has proposed a five-point plan to nurture the industry for U.S. clean-tech leadership, economic growth and environmental benefits. The purposes are attractive, but will federal monies be available during the upcoming clash over the federal budget?
It's all a matter of time (frames)
Dave Mooney, who leads energy storage efforts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, discusses NREL's efforts and how they help leading utilities, as well as the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Energy.
Integrid Lab pursues 'active distribution system management'
Renewables and Distribution System Integration project, or RDSI, in Fort Collins, Colorado, seeks to demonstrate how various renewable and distributed generation, coupled with advanced building automation, electric vehicles and "robust controls" could not only shave peaks and fill valleys but manage myriad, granular distribution system elements to elicit greater value from existing infrastructure.
Some say no, but setting expectations is a start
With so many utilities spending or planning to spend significant funds on smart gird projects, are there certain things the industry can do to minimize potential negative outcomes and better seize opportunities? Christopher Perdue recently spoke with Pablo Vegas, chief information officer at American Electric Power (AEP), on this topic.
Industry says proper cost allocation will lower cost
A panel of bullish vendors on a webcast held by the Electric Drive Transportation Association said that projected price drops in electric vehicle (EV) batteries would mostly come from proper cost allocation. While manufacturing efficiencies and economies of scale would account for some cost reduction, the major portion would come from the fact that EV batteries at 80 percent of capacity will have reached the end of their life for powering EVs, but would remain valuable for applications such as community energy storage.
Panel will debate future 'wise use' hardware, apps
Mike Howard, CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute, shares his thoughts on the future of the electricity interface, from both the utility and the end-user sides. He'll guide an upcoming panel on the topic, "Revolutionizing the Interface," at the EnergyBiz Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27-March 1.
A Jeffery Deaver mystery spawns some utility industry cyber security questions
Weekend reading unearths a new Jeffery Deaver mystery novel, which prompts questions about utility cyber security in 2011. A leading smart grid cyber security blogger poses the following questions utilities need to consider when planning cyber security projects: "Why are we doing this?" "What are we trying to secure?" and "What will happen if we don't do it right?" Our columnist asks: "Is 2011 the year fiction meets fact?"
Rates, stakeholders, staffing, customer experience
Representatives from three utilities preparing for electric vehicle adoption in San Diego, Detroit and Houston discuss the impacts to their organizations, in follow-up coverage to our popular Intelligent Utility Reality webcast from earlier this month. They focus on rate design, stakeholder outreach and supporting the customer experience.
Privatization trumped by security needs
Initially, the Department of Defense sought to privatize its power utility operations, until it discovered that the market wasn't that interested and that the commercial power sector could not guarantee uninterruptible power. That led the military to embrace microgrids, as the commercial sector began chasing smart grids.