Beacon Power delivers flywheel electronics; PPL awards dry sorbent injection contract to United Conveyor.
Get ready for fundamental changes.
In almost all business and non-profit environments, change is occurring at an accelerating pace. In the electric industry—which used to be stable—we are seeing major changes too. Utilities face growing ambiguity as well as increasing paces of change, uncertainty and complexity. As Irene Sanders stated in Strategic Thinking and the New Science, “[t]hat the future will be different from today is given. What we struggle with is our desire to know how it will be different and what we can do to influence it.”1
FEI Company, a diversified scientific instruments company providing electron and ion-beam microscopes and tools for nanoscale applications, completed a multiple system installation at the Materials Ageing Institute (MAI) in France, a utility-oriented research center financed by Electricite de France, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Kansai Electric Power Co. and the U.S. Electric Power Research Institute.
Transforming DR and smart-grid policies into reality.
Regulatory policies are evolving to make demand response and smart-grid planning a reality across the country. Cooperation between federal and state lawmakers will allow local flexibility within a uniform national framework.
Understanding the smart energy consumer in a down economy.
Utility customers expect their bills to get larger in the future, and they want utilities to provide tools and options allowing consumers to make their own energy choices. However, consumers might be more receptive to green-energy and dynamic pricing programs when economic conditions—and personal incomes—begin improving substantially.
The best example of combined dynamic rates and smart billing is found in Ontario, Canada. It uses central MDM to produce time-differentiated customer bills.
Smart metering changes the back-office paradigm.
AMI’s data explosion will require back-office changes for CIS/billing.
Adaptive companies stand the greatest chance for success.
IBM compiled a comprehensive report, The Enterprise of the Future, which describes traits that the leading companies across all industries will share. Key industries—including utilities—also were evaluated individually to see how these traits might emerge as industries reshape and evolve in the face of customer demands, environmental pressures, global integration, workforce changes, and other challenges.
Intelligent networks support better decision making.
Sophocles once said, “Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.” Apparently Sophocles did not work in the utility industry. Utilities must make quick decisions every day to maintain a safe and reliable grid. As they have learned, the key to a quick and safe decision is making a well-informed decision. Yet utilities face challenges in providing enough information for their employees and automated systems to make these types of decisions.
Vendors battle it out while utilities await common communications protocols.
Uncertainties about smart metering goals are hindering efforts to standardize communications protocols and feature sets. While vendors battle over standards, utilities and policy makers are moving forward anyway—despite the potential for setbacks.