Insights from our Editorial Team

  • Bonneville Power provides balancing services for wind
    May 11, 2011 | John R. Johnson

    The onset of increased wind penetration has driven utilities to provide a balancing act to account for wind energy's variable nature. The Bonneville Power Administration has to do this balancing act on a massive scale. Here's how BPA does it.

    Comments: 2
  • Kate Rowland, editor-in-chief, Intelligent Utility magazine
    May 10, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    U.S. Senator Richard Burr told a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing late last week that he's "encouraged to slow down the implementation of smart grid technology until we learn the things that we need to learn with a great deal of confidence." And that wasn't even on the hearing's agenda.

    Comments: 6
  • U.S. programs seek to improve performance and economics
    May 10, 2011 | Phil Carson

    You know them as batteries. Researchers call them electrochemical storage devices. To improve performance and cost effectiveness, more basic and applied research is needed, including utility-based demonstration projects, according to a set of researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. For promising areas of research, read this column.

  • Perhaps not if powered by coal?
    May 09, 2011 | Ken Silverstein

    Electric vehicles are all the rage for their contribution to reducing carbon emissions. But if EVs rely on coal-fired electricity, is that statement still true? Either way, are EVs a cost-effective solution to carbon emissions? Guest columnist Ken Silverstein juxtaposes the Administration's policies with a recent paper that attempts to answer whether EVs will contribute to lower carbon emissions.

    Comments: 16
  • California utilities share their approach
    May 06, 2011 | Phil Carson

    "Energy storage" is a term bandied about rather loosely. In fact, the term represents a slew of potential applications, which according to four California utilities must be defined first, before a technology solution is selected. Whether the solution is storage or an existing technology must be weighed based on cost effectiveness. For several utility insights to a potentially complex subject, read this column.

    Comments: 6
  • AEP using Facebook to address legal challenges to new power plant
    May 05, 2011 | Christopher Perdue

    Utilities are increasingly using social media to make customers aware of outage restoration updates, energy efficiency tips, renewable energy activities and other company news. In this article Christopher Perdue looks at how AEP is using social media in a rather new way.

  • EPRI and dozens of utilities focused on applications
    May 05, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Energy storage is all about the application. Find the needed application, review all technologies that can address it, crunch the cost-benefit ratios, then decide whether one storage strategy or another makes sense, or whether existing technologies are sufficient and cost effective. That's tne new mantra. We speak to EPRI's Dan Rastler on his organization's findings.

  • Iowa storage project approaches decision points
    May 04, 2011 | Phil Carson

    The surfeit of wind energy in some locations has driven a renewed look at the economics of compressed air energy storage, or CAES. One project in Iowa, one of handful around the country, is nearing a series of decisions on the technical and financial viability of this technology. For details on how CAES could provide intermediate power to dozens of municipal utilities and other investors in the Midwest, read this column.

    Comments: 5
  • It's time for some serious discussions
    Kate Rowland, editor-in-chief, Intelligent Utility magazine
    May 03, 2011 | Kate Rowland

    What's the future of electric grid modernization? While what we are trying to accomplish might be clearer now than it was two years ago, the terrain of grid modernization is changing even as we walk upon it. From a micro level to a macro level, we're not so much just modernizing our country's electricity system as recreating it. The system is changing on so many different levels, and those utility employees in operations are, quite frankly, manning the day-to-day front lines, implementing changes while maintaining reliability.

    Comments: 6
  • Boulder, among others, ponders the choice
    May 03, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Are the cities currently considering municipalization more capable of moving faster towards grid modernization and away from fossil fuels than the investor-owned utilities that currently serve many of them? Are cities such as Boulder, Colo., well-advised to try? Our columnist captures the discussion in the locals' words.

    Comments: 1