Insights from our Editorial Team
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.
We civilians need more urgency, less dithering
An op-ed piece in The New York Times yesterday reflected the urgency with which the military has adopted various elements of a smarter grid, including energy efficiency, microgrids and renewables. Our columnist suggests that civilians State-side take a page and put some urgency into their role as well.
Tech-savvy crowd seems intrigued
Christopher Perdue looks at the energy industry's presence at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.
Blogger says meter is 'irrelevant'
We examine a blogger's complaint that his smart meter is "irrelevant" and his bills too high, admittedly due to central air conditioning and a love for his flat-screen TV.
Xcel shareholders pay, too, unless benefits proven
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission ruled that Xcel Energy's shareholders must pay a portion of the costs for SmartGridCity in Boulder, unless the utility can prove tangible benefits to its 1.4 million ratepayers in the state. The decision marks a victory for consumers and for intervenors in the case, but it revealed a flawed process for project oversight and cost recovery. Finally, the focus may shift to the project itself and whether its value propositions are validated.
Consumer electronics, auto shows present challenges
News from the Consumer Electronics Show last week and the Detroit Auto Show this week demonstrates that electric utilities may be permanently behind the curve in catching consumers' attention. As utilities dither over the effort to engage consumers, purveyors of shiny gadgets hold the key to consumer desire and interest, our columnist argues.