Insights from our Editorial Team

  • 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
  • EPRI report provides insights on pros/cons for utilities
    May 01, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Arguing about the role and feasibility of energy storage? Why not consult a fresh report from the Electric Power Research Institute on the matter? Our columnist provides some context, an opinion or two and highlights from the contents.

    Comments: 6
  • Myriad motives and interests drive California debate
    Apr 29, 2011 | Phil Carson

    Dozens of players, representing myriad, diverse interests gathered in Sacramento yesterday to discuss the crucial issues surrounding energy storage. Our columnist summarizes some of the issues, viewpoints and questions to be addressed in the storage debate.

    Comments: 6
  • Customer segmentation efforts receiving renewed attention
    Apr 28, 2011 | Christopher Perdue

    With utilities increasingly examining how best to engage residential customers with smart grid products and services, customer segmentation efforts are receiving renewed attention. With the proper customer segmentation effort, utilities can characterize their customers via specific qualities such as age, gender and income level and combine it with their own historic interactions with the customer. This provides a comprehensive view of the customer and the opportunity to better engage that customer with products and services that they will find valuable.

    Comments: 3
  • Accenture: Bundle price + value for each segment
    Apr 27, 2011 | Phil Carson

    The electric utility industry is discovering that listening to customers can inform the business case and lead to market success. Accenture has done a lot of the listening in a global study that offers specific steps for utilities in uncertain times. For  the latest thinking on the way forward, read this column.