Insights from our Editorial Team
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.
Smackdown, or merely a matter of choice?
In the same way that one smart grid does not fit the needs of all utilities, neither can one communications network do the job for all. There has been a lot of buzz around Wi-Fi and WiMAX. Some say it's akin to comparing apples to oranges, and I would have to agree. It all comes down to the business case for each utility, and what type of telecommunications protocol-direct client connections over fiber or wire, or wireless mesh networking (and if wireless, what type) best suits the utility's distinct needs.
Red herrings and conventional wisdom get called out
Readers debate "the real issue" involving smart meters in California as well as the merits of compressed air energy storage. The conversation continues where a handful of recent Intelligent Utility Daily columns left off.
Insights from San Diego, Detroit and Houston
An Intelligent Utility Reality webcast, "Electric Vehicles: A Tale of Three Cities," provided insights into EV adoption, distribution system impacts and charging stations in San Diego, Detroit and Houston. If you missed the webcast, here's a synopsis and a chance to replay the webcast.
New Smart Grid Demands on IT Leading to Industry Changes
The proliferation of advanced metering infrastructures (AMI) being deployed in the utility industry has placed new demands on the information technology (IT) department. As a result, chief information officers (CIOs) are facing unprecedented change. Christopher Perdue discusses this issue with Reid Nuttall, chief information officer at Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company (OG&E).
Fort Collins, Colo.: where bottom up meets top down
A community-based smart grid project launches in Fort Collins, Colo., and involves the city, the municipal utility, Colorado State University, vendor partners and the U.S. Department of Energy. This year the project will generate the data that may jump-start a more ambitious local project to turn the city's downtown and university campus into a "Zero Energy District."
Compressed air is technically solid, but markets rule
Compressed air energy storage, or CAES, is being evaluated for its ability to store off-peak power from wind and return it to the grid to meet peak demand and/or take the sting out of ramping, intermittent renewable energy sources. The question of technical feasibility is trumped by this potential solution's market economics. We talk to Dan Rastler at EPRI about CAES' promise and constraints.
Do consumers really know the difference? Do they care?
In the waning hours of 2010, Intelligent Utility magazine editor-in-chief Kate Rowland was posed with a question by an energy/electricity-savvy neighbor. "What's the difference between energy efficiency and demand response, and why should I care about the differences between the two?" She set out to answer the question, and realized the second part of it was much more important than the first.
Toronto Hydro's Rob Wong discusses the relationship
Toronto Hydro's head of IT, Rob Wong, talks about improving IT culture and his utility's method for aligning IT and OT, or operational technology. The second part of a two-part interview, which began yesterday.