Insights from our Editorial Team
High-touch engagement pays dividends in D.C. and Ohio smart grid pilots
An Intelligent Utility Reality webcast yesterday offered two perspectives on customer engagement from pilot programs in Washington, D.C., and Ohio. One upshot: engagement requires heavy lifting, but there's little alternative. Another: be prepared to succeed. And a sobering reminder: beyond pilot work, utilities will have to scale their outreach efforts. The timeframe for buildout may be an ally.
Halcrow's Mark Gabriel and Siemens Energy's John Wilson talk about the industry's future
There won't be one technological Holy Grail that responds to all our energy needs to get us through the 21st century, says Mark Gabriel, author of Visions for a Sustainable Energy Future. Yesterday, Gabriel and Siemens Energy's John Wilson teamed up to talk about industry megatrends and black swans. What's in store for the intelligent utility?
Soup-to-nuts experiment seeks participants, vendors
The Pecan Street Project in Austin, Texas, a small-scale but soup-to-nuts smart grid will issue a request for information next week to allow potenial participants to pitch their contribution. The project will attempt to introduce all smart grid related components in about 1,000 residences and 75 commercial properties to test hypotheses on customer-focused technology and pricing models.
Mid-term elections bring anti-science bias to Congress
Republican control of the House may derail smart grid efforts if the new majority pursues rescinding federal stimulus funds for smart grid initiatives and turns back the clock on regulation sought by the industry itself. The new leadership has shown an almost anti-science bias.
Government policy spurs private leadership on innovation, Chu says
Energy Secretary Steven Chu advocated government policies as a spur to private investment in clean energy innovations, at a National Press Club lunch yesterday. Chu told reporters that American leadership in clean energy innovation is today's "Sputnik moment" and cited international competition and poor metrics for the United States as wake-up calls for action. This is the policy context for grid modernization, according to our columnist.
Denmark aims for 100 percent fossil-free status by 2040
On the eve of a United Nations conference in Mexico on climate change, which brings the U.S. to the table with no legislated commitment to cutting carbon emissions, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) spoke yesterday about a bipartisan commitment to energy efficiency. While our elected federal officials are decidedly partisan on climate change, both sides can definitely agree on energy efficiency, she said. But can the U.S. step up to the energy efficiency plate the way, say, Denmark has?
Home network alternative plays on privacy and security concerns
The Z-Wave Alliance says consumers should embrace means to manage their energy use without involving their utility. Utilities, of course, have favored the ZigBee protocol, an oft-cited rival to Z-Wave. But what are the issues for consumers themselves?
Ontario is clear on who controls personal information
Who owns customer electricity usage data? For Michelle Chibba, who oversees the policy department and special projects at the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, and for the province of Ontario, the answer's easy. For some states within the U.S., the jury's still out.
"RubberVines" a source of original thinking on utility-customer interaction
A blogger, under the rubric "RubberVines," has big ideas on promoting consumer engagement and he's got the background and the logic to have an impact. Eric Karlson is not just about talk, but is also working on digital tools to assist utilities in this crucial effort.
Joint NARUC-NASUCA annual meetings focus on consumer theme
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) held parallel annual meetings in Atlanta last week and one consumer advocate came away optimistic that smart grid projects will get the balanced scrutiny they deserve. For everyone's sake.