IKEA plans to increase the solar array atop its Detroit-area store that opened eight years ago in Canton, MI. In September, IKEA began work on a 44,000-square-foot expansion to the store, atop which new panels will be installed beginning spring 2015, with a completion by summer. The 40,000-square-foot solar addition will consist of a 240.9-kW system built with 765 panels, and will produce 287,490 kWh more of electricity annually for the store.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) installed a new EV fast-charge station at the SMUD campus. The station features dual capability to accommodate most types of EVs manufactured by domestic and foreign automakers. This station is one of the world's first commercial installations of certified DC fast-charge hardware that meets the new industry standard. The station is a joint SMUD, General Motors and U.S. Department of Energy project. Funding for this station comes from the sale of carbon credits.
CenterPoint Energy’s natural gas distribution business will install Itron advanced metering technology across the utility’s six-state service territory by the end of 2015. Communication modules to nearly 1.3 million gas meters have already been installed in parts of the company’s service territory in Minnesota, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas. Upon project completion, 3.3 million communication modules will be installed in these states as well as Arkansas and Mississippi.
British Gas announced a deal worth £600 million for Landis+Gyr to supply the majority of the 16 million smart meters British Gas will install in its customers' homes. By 2020 smart meters will be rolled out as standard to homes and businesses across the country as part of a government initiative.
As part of its 10-year, $2.6 billion grid modernization program, ComEd began installation of more than 4 million smart meters throughout its service territory. ComEd expects to install 60,000 smart meters by the end of 2013. The full deployment will be complete in 2021.
Delivering value in a zero-growth market.
Disruptive technologies and resource shifts are changing the utility business model. Market factors are driving companies toward four possible paths.
(April 2012) MidAmerican Energy awarded a contract to Siemens Energy to supply wind turbines for its 407-MW project expansion. American Electric Power began operating the 580-MW Dresden natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant. Duke Energy and ChinaHuaneng Group signed a three-year agreement expanding their research cooperation to include coal and carbon capture and sequestration technologies. And others...
Technology opens customers’ homes to utility services.
Advanced metering infrastructure and intelligent appliances are opening the door to a new market for utility services. But in-home services are a completely different ball game. Going beyond the meter will require utilities to transform the way they engage and serve customers.
Utilities prepare for a bumpy road.
Electric vehicles promise major benefits for utilities, including increased electricity sales and accelerated transformation of passive energy consumers into collaborative stakeholders. But EV integration faces major challenges, from transformer overloading to the complexity of managing mobile transactions. Addressing these challenges in a collaborative way will allow the industry—and the country—to realize the benefits of a healthy market for electric transportation services.
Reviving hope for spent-fuel storage.
With Yucca Mountain declared dead, America’s nuclear power industry needs new solutions for managing spent fuel. Although the task is complicated, examples of siting success provide hope that a collaborative approach can close the nuclear fuel cycle.