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V2G Shuffle

Smart charging is just the start of the electric vehicle revolution.

Electric vehicles (EV) now rolling off automakers’ production lines are expensive and limited in range, but they mark a technological tipping point. By tapping into the smart grid, EVs promise to free transportation fuel from the physical medium—raising its practical value while simultaneously diminishing its cost.

Integrating Renewables

Opportunity for advancement or exercise in futility?

The power grid has been slow to embrace renewable energy sources. In order to allow renewable energy sources to evolve into a solution rather than a headache, new tools and processes will need to be developed to forecast and control renewable production capabilities.

Smart-Grid Strategy: Quantifying Benefits

Modeling the value of various technologies and applications.

As utilities announce new smart-grid programs, they need a strategic method for quantifying benefits. Analytical models generate baseline benefit estimates and reveal big-picture trends. Decision makers need the best resources available to mitigate risks in choosing a smart-grid strategy.

Smart Storage

The intelligent grid cannot be achieved without energy storage.

While much has been written about the intelligent grid of late, little attention has been focused on the role of energy storage in achieving its expected benefits. Energy storage is an essential component of the intelligent grid. Energy storage provides greater grid integration of variable renewable energy resource output (e.g., wind, solar); improved system reliability via the provision of grid regulation services; and peak demand reductions and, in turn, deferred capital spending on new and upgraded transmission and distribution assets.

The Efficiency Mandate: Storage Goes Mainstream

New business models make energy storage attractive.

Utilities are leaving no stone unturned in their search for ways to save electricity. Federal incentives will support new technologies and projects, but can those incentives overcome structural barriers that stand in the way of major efficiency improvements? editors explore challenges and opportunities arising from the new efficiency mandate.

Real-Time Control

Engaging customers will require more than TOU pricing.

Imagine a setback thermostat programmed at the factory that the consumer couldn’t modify. Who would want this device? You could give the customer a big enough discount to get her to accept the device, but she would be happier and you could save about as much energy if the customer could decide on the temperature and time settings.

Green Price Stability

New approaches account for the economic benefits of renewables.

Many green power customers benefit from long-term fixed prices. The most effective programs recognize the value of this price hedge—and fairly exempt customers from fuel cost adders in utility rates.

Securitization, Mach II

Green investments require bulletproof financing.

Originally developed to compensate U.S. electric utilities for regulatory assets rendered uneconomic by deregulation, so-called “stranded-cost” securitization techniques are finding new applications. To date, utilities have issued approximately $40 billion of stranded-cost securitizations. That number could increase dramatically if the industry applies well-tested securitization techniques to the extraordinary costs it faces in the future.

Demonstrating the Smart Grid

Pilot projects clarify the vision of an intelligent utility system.

Pilot projects are bringing the future vision of the grid to life. Whether leveraging existing systems or rebuilding entire networks in a Big Bang rollout, new technology applications suggest an intuitive electrical network may not be far off.

Optimizing Demand Response

A comprehensive DR business case quantifies a full range of concurrent benefits.

The benefits of DR remain difficult to quantify. Building a comprehensive business case requires a shift in how policy makers think about DR in order to understand its real possibilities.