How DG and microgrids change the game for utilities.
Energy microgrids have emerged as more than just a curiosity. The technology is improving, costs are falling, and developers are lining up to build projects. How will microgrids overcome the substantial challenges that stand in their way?
Independent microgrids are coming. Will franchised utilities fight them or foster them?
Sara C. Bronin and Paul R. McCary
Despite offering a range of benefits, microgrids are proving to be controversial—especially when non-utility owned microgrids seek to serve multiple customers. The biggest battles are taking place in the realm of public policy. But utilities that pursue collaboration rather than confrontation are finding interesting opportunities for profitable investment.
Will Boulder be the last city to go muni? Don’t bet on it.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
When the goals of a utility and its host community aren’t in sync, breakups happen.
Microgrids begin to make economic sense.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
With microgrids in place, doomsday preppers wouldn't need to worry so much about a zombie plague.
Technology is changing the game. Is your utility ready?
Although today microgrids serve a tiny fraction of the market, that share will grow as costs fall. Utilities can benefit if they plan ahead.
Mastering multi-channel communications for customer service success.
Utilities across the country are experimenting with various new ways to communicate with customers—from Twitter feeds to text alerts. But few utilities have figured out how to integrate new media channels into a coherent customer engagement approach. A multi-tiered strategy will best serve the needs of customers—and the utility.
Three CEOs, three business models, one shared outlook.
Cheap gas, regulatory uncertainties, and a technology revolution are re-making the U.S. utility industry. Top executives at three very different companies—CMS, NRG, and the Midwest ISO—share their outlook on the industry’s transformative changes.
Performance standards are a valid idea—if targets are achievable.
Hossein Haeri and Eli Morris
Performance standards are a valid and necessary idea to drive conservation, but only if targets are realistic and achievable. So far, success has been determined by program rationality. A uniform, market-based approach would give retailers flexibility to spur innovation.
Uncertain market design affects generation investment planning.
Mark Griffith and Keith Durand
Faced with state-wide electric utility restructuring and power-market deregulation, the state of New York constantly has been adjusting the state’s power markets to meet the potentially contradictory goals of low cost, yet reliable power. In New York this has taken many forms, including monitoring of energy prices, caps on capacity prices and forced divestment of assets to reduce potential market abuses.
Why a risk-hedging product for small customers isn't the gamble you may think.
Michael O’Sheasy and Mike Becker
Some innovators in the electric industry recently began offering financial hedging products that absorb risk from large customers. Why not offer this kind of protection to customers with small electric loads? Protecting customers from price risk is the essence of flat pricing, and it is where a company can step in and capitalize.