Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Electric utilities explore the hybrid route
    Jul 26, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    "One size fits all" is definitely not the case when it comes to utility communications planning. From broadband over power line and microwave to WiFi, WiMAX or cellular, many electric utilities are using a hybrid approach to smart grid communications networks. Three utility executives discuss their plans here.

  • 'Distributed smarts' mean self-sufficiency, microgrids, municipalization
    Jul 26, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Our columnist identifies several trends that take "smart grid" ideas outside of central utility control and discusses how that will change the utility industry in unpredictable ways.

    Comments: 3
  • Costs and benefits weighed by leading utilities
    Jul 25, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Do the benefits of smart grid deployments outweigh the challenges? Our columnist looks at three utilities across the country and finds that their priorities, locations and external drivers lead to an affirmative answer. At least the utilities in question, including San Diego Gas & Electric, CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy, all say that rigorous business cases support their moves to modernize the grid and connect with customers.

    Comments: 2
  • Substation automation, fiber and sensors come before AMI
    Jul 22, 2011 | Phil Carson

    The Snohomish County Public Utility District chose to begin its smart grid journey by tackling substation automation, a fiber network and distribution line sensors. Our columnist describes SNOPUD's work and speaks with its CIO.

    Comments: 2
  • University of California San Diego takes microgrids to the world
    Jul 21, 2011 | Phil Carson

    The second installment of a conversation with Byron Washom, director of strategic energy initiatives at the University of California San Diego, reveals operational details of UCSD's mircrogrid and how that microgrid fits with its local utility and independent system operator. If you're interested in the future of electric utilities, read this column.

  • Preparing for one million cars by 2015?
    Jul 21, 2011 | Christopher Perdue

    In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama called for putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. A report earlier this year from the Department of Energy, "One Million Electric Vehicles by 2015," claimed that although the goal is ambitious, key steps already taken and further steps proposed indicate the goal is achievable. In this article Christopher Perdue examines what utilities can do to prepare for a proliferation of electric vehicles.

    Comments: 2
  • University of California San Diego takes microgrids to the world
    Jul 20, 2011 | Phil Carson

    One proponent of microgrids offers a can-do assessment of how these systems can meet myriad challenges and complement a centralized power structure. The University of California San Diego is not only meeting challenges but taking its findings to market so that others may benefit as well. Today we feature the first of a two-part interview with Byron Washom, UCSD's director of strategic energy initiatives.

  • CEA sets guidelines for selection and use of smart grid standards
    Kate Rowland, editor-in-chief, Intelligent Utility magazine
    Jul 19, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    The Canadian Electricity Association recently released its "Guideline for the Selection and Use of Smart Grid Standards." In it, the association promotes the use of a consensus-based standards approach. Earlier this year, an EPRI cost-and-benefits report also indicated consensus-based standards deliver better results. And the industry is working on them. But will they come together quickly enough?

    Comments: 1
  • Microgrids are on the rise for reliability and cost-effectiveness
    Jul 18, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Microgrid announcements are coming fast and furious, largely because microgrids make sense for reliability and economics. The question is whether they will serve the centralized grid and vice-versa, when the going gets tough.

    Comments: 1
  • IDC reports progress, new urgency
    Jul 15, 2011 | Phil Carson

    IDC Energy Insights finds that security-related spending is up among electric utilities in late 2010 and early 2011, but a "security culture" lags behind. The good news: executive awareness of the threat landscape is up and there's  new urgency in the wake of a year's worth of highly publicized incidents.