The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) awarded a contract to Siemens to construct the federal government’s largest wind farm. The Pantex facility will consist of five 2.3-MW turbines on 1,500 acres of government-owned property east of the Pantex plant in Amarillo. Using an energy savings performance contract, Siemens will provide a turnkey wind farm system that includes a multi-year service, maintenance, and warranty agreement.
Department of Energy
New Opportunities: Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy, was named to a committee composed of CEOs from the utility and nuclear industries that will receive regular briefings from the FBI, National Security Agency, Department of Energy, and Department of Homeland Security to begin cooperative efforts on cybersecurity issues.
Refining the business case for advanced distribution investments.
As utilities plan their capital budgets for the next few years, investments in advanced distribution systems face an uncertain future. Customers question the value—and propriety—of some programs, while long-term strategic goals depend on seamless integration. What will be the path forward for smart grid technology?
Virginia brings a new coal-fired plant online.
Reports of coal’s demise are exaggerated. This summer, Dominion cleared the regulatory gauntlet to start up a new coal plant. Whether the example can be replicated might hinge on state incentives—and the forward price of natural gas.
Continuous improvement requires changing practices and cultural norms.
As efficiency programs mature, utilities and regulators will be challenged to keep producing demand-side resources. A systems-oriented approach can yield cost-effective results.
The regulator’s role in promoting cybersecurity for the smart grid.
State commissions can select from a toolkit of regulatory approaches to promote desired utility cybersecurity behavior. One approach is to allow the industry to selfregulate, and another approach is to leave the job to the federal government. But sofar, neither the industry nor the federal government have developed and implemented adequate standards for securing the smart grid. States can play a constructive role—albeit perhaps not in the form of traditional regulation.
For more than a decade the prospect of a wind farm in Nantucket Sound has sparked imaginations and spurred debate. At times it looked like a pipe dream, but the project is now fully permitted and construction is expected to begin in the next year. Jim Gordon, president of Energy Management Inc. -- the company developing the Cape Wind project -- spoke with Green Utility about the benefits of offshore wind power, and the challenges of developing the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
GU: How did your company get involved with wind energy?
(May 2012) Entergy Louisiana starts construction on gas-fired power project; Virginia Commonwealth University and Dominion partner on a test site for efficient energy technologies; Burlington Electric Department selects Siemens for meter data management platform; IKEA commissions four Blink electric vehicle charging stations; Edison Mission Energy, TIAA-CREF and Cook Inlet Region Inc. form partnership, and others.
Barriers and breakthroughs to a smarter grid.
Technology is quickly making energy storage more economical and effective than ever before. But companies that wish to invest in storage capacity face a journey through a frustrating regulatory no-man’s land. Opening the gateway for storage to deliver smart grid benefits will require a more streamlined and coherent approach to regulating storage as utility infrastructure.
Election politics almost killed a great idea.
Beacon Power filed bankruptcy last fall, amid a political firestorm sparked by Solyndra’s demise. But should the company have received a bailout, so it could continue operating until FERC’s new pay-for-performance rules take effect?