Distributed Generation

  • Solid state transformers coming, but standards guide current work

    Nov 11, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Smart transformers are coming, but until then current technology and standards can handle the bi-directional flow of power between utilities and industrial customers with cogeneration or renewable, distributed energy resources.

  • 'Smarts' overrated, some say; others envision symbiosis

    Nov 08, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Discussions about grid hardening and resiliency have gone in every direction: smarts should give way to traditional measures such as aggressive vegetation management, smart meters did play a role in post-Sandy restoration and end-users should play new roles if they expect to survive more extreme weather events. We discuss these ideas with our readers.

  • New commercial venture generating interest

    Oct 04, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Vehicle-to-grid technology and its business case have advanced to commercialization and, despite persistent skepticism, San Diego Gas & Electric and the PJM Interconnection are actively examining both. We bring you the conclusion of a two-part article, with links to more.

  • American grid expert weighs in

    Aug 01, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Erich Gunther, recognized grid authority, received some data on frequency variations on India's grid that is implicated in the historic blackout this week. He shares thoughts on immediate steps the developing nation can take to address a load-generation imbalance. 

  • Decentralization could be beneficiary

    Jul 31, 2012 | Phil Carson

    A blackout in India cuts power to 700 million people. When the causes are found, will the answer be decentralization, privatization and automation? And who will profit? Our correspondent cites reports on the event and muses on outcomes.

  • Needed: applications, alternatives, regulations, markets

    Jul 25, 2012 | Phil Carson

    California regulators' struggle to respond to legislation mandating energy storage has led them to adopt a framework for analysis that will address applications, alternatives, cost effectiveness and the regulatory and market frameworks that must include storage if it is found to have useful, cost-effective applications. It ain't easy and it ain't simple.

  • E-Energy pilot projects a research priority

    E-Energy in Germany
    Jul 05, 2012 | Kate Rowland

    In the course of basic energy reform, Germany is vastly changing the structure of its supply system in the coming decades. A recent report details the interim results of Germany's E-Energy pilot projects, moving toward what it is referring to as the Internet of Energy. We review the highlights.

  • Advocates point to drivers: costs fall, innovations rise

    Jun 13, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Falling prices and financing options have propelled solar photovoltaics and concentrating solar power plants to mainstream portfolio elements among utilities, according to solar advocates. While distributed generation continues to pose challenges, there's no turning back, advocates say. 

  • E-Energy pilot projects a research priority
  • Help is still needed: where does the federal government fit in?

    Energy storage investments
    May 24, 2012 | Kate Rowland

    In light of news announced in yesterday's Boston Business Journal that Bill Gates, chairman and former CEO of Microsoft, is among the investors in Liquid Metal Battery Corp.'s $15 million Series B round, it seemed appropriate to discuss the May 22 Senate committee hearing on the American Energy Innovation Council's (AEIC's) report, "Catalyzing American Ingenuity: The Role of Government in Energy Innovation." You see, Gates is also a member of the informal AEIC group, and not afraid to put his money where his mouth is.

  • EPRI's Robert Uluski puts the equation together

    May 03, 2012 | Kate Rowland

    Marrying DMS with OMS is just the beginning. EPRI's Robert Uluski's conversation with Intelligent Utility magazine editor-in-chief Kate Rowland looks at future applications, as well.

  • Industry group: monetize the balancing function

    Apr 15, 2012 | Phil Carson

    There's a natural tension between the innovations created by vendors and the constraints that bind their customers. Today we hand the floor to one element of the energy storage community: the Coalition to Advance Renewable Energy Through Bulk Storage or CAREBS. 

  • One advocate argues that economics will drive it

    Apr 12, 2012 | Phil Carson

    As more distributed resources connect to the grid, the more the grid itself will become a secondary feature, with generation and transmission serving as a backup system, argues one advocate of distributed generation. Economics and the American devotion to self-sufficiency will drive this trend, one that utilities can lead or trail. Some are, some aren't.

  • New report cites factors due to technology, economics

    Mar 20, 2012 | Phil Carson

    The issue on the table is how to integrate variable resources with the power grid in the most efficient and reliable manner. What are the challenges, both technically and in terms of policy?

  • GenerationHub.com, Energy Central's new online intelligence service for the electric power generation industry, is now live.
  • National security depends on EE & RE, not drilling

    Feb 28, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Navy admiral discusses the connection between energy independence and national security, and the role of energy efficiency and renewable energy in achieving independence and security. This no-nonsense approach is saving lives in the field.

  • Pathways to obsolescence, considered

    Feb 15, 2012 | Phil Carson

    The centralized power industry will be a largely irrelevant shadow of its former self within a generation, our soothsayer says. Utility culture and practices will run up against American ingenuity,  technology and self-sufficiency and the latter will win, hands down. A prognosis for the future, from our columnist.

  • Insights from the UAI Summit 2012

    Feb 15, 2012 | H. Christine Richards

    Christine Richards reveals key analytics findings, and analogies, from the first day of the Utility Analytics Institute Summit in Orlando, Florida.

  • Utilities, vendors, enviros, consumer advocates weigh in

    Feb 08, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Implementing energy storage is fraught with complexities. While it has some clear-cut applications, some argue that alternatives for those applications are less costly. And implementing energy storage can have unintended consequences for the electricity market, possibly upending environmental goals. Should California establish procurement goals for  utilities, given the uncertainties?

  • "Single version of the truth" sought for uniform results

    Feb 06, 2012 | Phil Carson

    Big Data calls for an IT architecture that can store, manage and extract value from data streams on a scale not seen by utilities until now. Central governance is favored over separate silos. And in-house expertise in determining the business questions that guide data mining will likely be sought. Two utilites describe their approach in this column.