Insights from our Editorial Team
Readers describe the shape of things to come
What will the centralized power industry look like in 5, 10, 15 years? Many predict major inroads by alternative energy sources and practices, while others insist that the nature of power's infrastructure guarantees its existence, if not hegemony.
KEMA and industry group opt for centrism
How to pitch continued federal support for energy storage research and demonstration projects? One group is making an appeal to policymakers' patriotism and election year dedication to national security and energy independence. The argument is well-honed, if familiar. How will it play?
After nearly a decade, situational awareness still not adequate
Last September's blackout in Arizona and Southern California robbed 2.7 million people of power. Synchrophasors and situational awareness might have limited the extent of the blackout. Ongoing work in the Western Interconnection is set for completion next spring, when we'll begin to learn if synchrophasors live up to their promise.
But will utilities listen if customers talk?
Customer survey after customer survey confirms that utility customers are there for the claiming, but will utilities move in time before the modern, digitally savvy customer is claimed by others? Fighting for ownership of the customer is not as effective as persuading the customer with thoughtful options and service offerings.
'New' ideas and their upshots for utilities, explained
Advancements by utilities, documented in these pages, raise bigger questions than the tactical applications they're designed to address. From energy storage to energy advisors, from microgrids to customers, nothing utilities do occurs in a vacuum. Even regulated monopolies face competition, directly or indirectly, from ideas to rivals for their customers' attention.
FERC's Wellinghoff discusses, and Minnesota co-op announces big project
Two different conversations today -- one held by FERC Chairman John Wellinghoff, and another led by Minnesota-based cooperative Great River Energy -- coalesced to point to the increasing importance of demand response and demand-side management to electric utilities in today's environment.
Readers keep us honest on bold assertions
We slung around a few "big bold new ideas" this week and then huddled behind sand bags as "incoming" whistled over our heads. Thanks, dear readers, and enjoy this slice of your fellow readers' reactions.
SMUD study promises answers to today's questions
If given real-time energy use data, customers will save energy. Different types of information may lead to different behaviors. Depending on your utility's needs and strategy, you may find this SMUD study valuable. While it answers some questions, others remain to be resolved.
Boulder effort moves forward, as do others
The upcoming battle between Boulder, Colo. and its incumbent service provider, Xcel Energy, has all the ingredients for a big screen thriller, except the white hats and black hats. Boulder wants control of its destiny, Xcel wants to protect its business. The two sides are inching towards conflict.
Recent coverage of 'big ideas' in this space
Danger! The power industry is awash in big ideas and bold new thinking. We've featured a half-dozen or more big ideas in the past week. Have you considered them? Discussed them with colleagues? Or should the industry simply build more coal-fired power plants to ride into the future?