Intelligent Utility Magazine May/June 2011
In This Issue
  • Some elements are more hazy than others
    Gazing into the future of the new utility
    IT'S GENERALLY AGREED THAT THE COMING decade will bring more change to our industry than we’ve seen in the previous century.Industry researchers have clearly indicated they see a massive increase in smart grid spending between now and 2015. Late last year, SBI Energy was definitive in its expection that “The next five years will be a pivotal period for the global smart grid market, with grid...
  • Utility executives discuss the issues
    A SMARTER ELECTRICITY GRID COULD FUNDAmentally change the way customers pay for and manage their energy use. Smart grid investments could help reduce demand, save money and improve reliability and efficiency. But implementing the necessary changes is not without challenges.At the annual EnergyBiz Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., Intelligent Utility interviewed six utility executives to gauge...
  • Pepco tests successful price-responsive structures
    U.S. capital gives thumbs-up to active energy savings
    AMONG RECENT SMART-GRID PILOT PROJECTS, PEPCO Holdings Inc.'s PowerCentsDC--featuring volunteer customers from all eight wards of the District of Columbia, with an additional “control” group of customers to help verify findings--stands out, if for no other reason, because it represents a pioneering study highlighting multiple pricing structures.The collected information indicates that electric...
  • Energy efficiency/demand response coordination momentum grows
    The power of integration
    UTILITIES, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND other electricity industry stakeholders recognize energy efficiency and demand response programs as powerful tools to help customers reduce energy consumption and utility bills and assist utilities with curbing the ever-growing demand for power.Despite the likeness of the two types of programs, utilities have been slow to tap into their synergies.These are...
  • Why two grids can be better than one
    Micro is mighty
    DON'T LET THE DIMINUTIVE NAME FOOL YOU. A MICROGRID might sound like a tiny achievement. But designing an affordable, reliable integrated power system that can seamlessly isolate from the nation's power grid during a blackout or sag--and then reconnect just as smoothly--is no small feat.And, as is the case with any brainy and brawny idea, the microgrid concept didn't materialize overnight....
  • Utility data depth and breadth will continue to increase
    THE SMART GRID IS A SYSTEM-OF-SYSTEMS PROBLEM BOTH deep and wide, demanding solutions across power distribution and power storage, computing and-with implementation of data in and data out everywhere throughout the electrical-delivery system-data management and control.Billions and billions of data points will be processed instantaneously in the next-generation smart grid, rendering the...
  • Renewable energy storage kicked into high gear
    Power storage advances from unexpected sources
    WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS A GREATER IMPACT ON SOCIETY, A Bugatti Veyron Super Sport or a Tesla Roadster? Both have spectacular performance reviews, with the Super Sport setting top speed records. Both will turn heads driving down any road or even through any parking lot in the world. Both are truly engineering marvels.However, the engineering accomplishments behind both vehicles will be dwarfed by...
  • NIPSCO and Dominion Resources execs discuss customer service
    Weighing the impact and keeping it simple
    MANY OPPORTUNITIES EXIST FOR UTILITIES AND THEIR customers as a result of smart grid investments. But there is a delicate balance between the level of investment to make and the ultimate impact it will have on improving utility operations and customer service.I recently discussed this delicate balance with Guy Ausmus, senior vice president of business planning and strategy at Northern Indiana...
  • Key renewables questions not yet answered
    Transmission’s at the epicenter
    SHOULD RENEWABLE ENERGY BE DEVELOPED LOCALLY, regardless of cost or efficiency, or should it come from where it is created most efficiently, with expensive transmission lines built to move the energy? Will the policies that expedite transmission development and determine who pays for it be clarified?I recently discussed these questions with Dave Raskin, a Washington, D.C.- based partner and head...
  • Sierra Energy Group research provides intriguing results
    Meter data management shows promise
    SMART METERS ARE DELIVERING A TIDAL WAVE OF INFORMATION to utilities. Accessing, analyzing and managing the information flowing in, and providing the necessary information to customers, is proving to be a daunting task for old-world customer information systems (CIS).With new meter data management systems (MDMS) being put into place, the onus is on a utility's CIS to enable intelligent use of the...
  • Xcel Energy turns energy savings into a neighborhood affair
    Keeping down with the Joneses
    IN 1597, FRANCIS BACON COINED THE TERM "KNOWLEDGE IS power" in the ethereal philosophical sense. Today, however, knowledge about power, in the practical customer sense, is at work in a pioneering pilot program at Xcel Energy in Minnesota.Called the Energy Feedback Program, it goes beyond the traditional realm of mailing or advertising energy-saving tips to the utility customer. Rather, it is...
  • Kansas City highlights customer engagement
    KANSAS CITY POWER & LIGHT HAS PURSUED AN INNOVATIVE approach to grid modernization: make it part of urban revitalization by engaging disadvantaged customers.The utility, based in Kansas City, Missouri, has targeted a "Green Impact Zone" in a blighted part of the city and is performing aggressive outreach as it installs 14,000 smart meters in homes and businesses, which will also receive new...