The Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) $600,000 to install smart-grid technologies. The Grid Resilience Grant helps fund half of SMUD's $1.2 million Resilient Grid Initiative that is designed to make SMUD's distribution system more adaptable to major disasters and reduce the effects of climate change through the installation and operation of high-voltage switches and the implementation and operation of voltage optimization measures.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District obtained a 50-year renewal to operate its hydroelectric projects on the upper American River. The utility operates 11 reservoirs and eight powerhouses in the upper American, which generate 688 MW of electricity, representing about 15 percent of SMUD’s annual power. Part of the new license from FERC calls for SMUD to make some changes. The utility will make several recreational upgrades to reservoirs and it will increase the volume of water it releases into streams.
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.
EDF Renewable Energy closed on the membership interest purchase agreement to acquire the Heartland Biogas Project with Heartland Renewable Energy. The 20MW equivalent anaerobic digester and renewable natural gas (RNG) facility has commenced construction activities with biogas deliveries to begin by the end of first quarter 2014. The project, located near LaSalle, Colorado, uses a complete mix anaerobic digester system to produce up to 4,700 MMBtu of biogas daily.
With meters running backwards, utilities seek a niche.
As states implement renewable energy mandates, and as solar photovoltaic (PV) technology becomes more economical, the market for distributed rooftop solar is growing. As a result, various players are taking different approaches to finance PV development—from net-metered residential systems financed by third-party leases, to grid-scale, utility-owned projects. Fortnightly Contributor William Atkinson talks to some major players in solar PV finance and examines the implications for investor-owned utilities.
Protecting the smart grid requires a broader strategy.
NERC’s critical infrastructure protection (CIP) standards set a minimum level of security performance—and only for high-voltage transmission systems, not the distribution grid. A compliance-checklist approach to security might lack the adaptability needed to combat evolving threats like the Stuxnet worm. A multi-layered, risk-based approach will provide better protection for the emerging smart grid.
(July 2011) Williams Partners L.P. expands Transco transmission lines; Google to provide fiber optic Internet service for Kansas City, Mo.; Constellation Energy picks Lynxspring Inc.; plus contracts and developments involving Servidyne, EnerNOC, Siemens Energy and others.
Over the past decade, utility green power programs (also known as green pricing programs) have helped utilities across the nation meet growing customer demand for electricity generated using renewable resources, as well as support both large- and small-scale local renewable energy projects. Additionally they’ve helped utilities improve relations with utility commissions, local environmental groups, and other key stakeholders.
NERC confronts a case backlog now numbering in the thousands.
The case backlog of unprocessed electric reliability violations is growing out of control, threatening to “swamp” the industry — a sign, perhaps, that when Congress and FERC modernized the electric reliability regime to serve a more market-based industry structure, and for the first time gave enforcement authority to North American Reliability Corp. (NERC) as the nation’s official electric reliability czar, no one gave much thought, apparently, as to whether NERC’s very idea of what constitutes reliability might have needed modernizing as well.
Performance standards are a valid idea—if targets are achievable.
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.