Could a TVA-style Fed Corp model be the answer to America’s ongoing nuclear waste dilemma? A bill sponsored by the new Senate Energy Committee chairman proposes to create just such a corporation. Constellation’s Henry (Brew) Barron discusses the proposal — and its prospects for enactment in the current political environment.
Similar desires, different approaches.
Smart grid is a global phenomenon, but different countries are taking different approaches—for different reasons. For instance, utilities in Europe are more focused on laying the foundation for distributed generation and microgrids, while the United States is more concerned about creating standards for interoperability and security. Understanding the differences can help decision makers deploy smart grid technology effectively and economically.
Technology creates new opportunities for demand- side management
Customer value is a key factor in any smart grid business case. But not all customers are created equal. In particular, commercial and industrial (C&I) customers have greatly different needs, considerations and sensitivities, compared to residential customers. As a result, demand response and efficiency programs won’t produce the same results across customer classes. Getting the most from the C&I market will depend on integrating smart grid with smart building technologies.
Hype, hysteria, and strategic planning.
The industry is learning some painful lessons about public communication. Hype has given way to hysteria over smart grid rollouts, and forced many companies to re-think their strategies. Capturing the benefits of new technology requires a straightforward approach to selling the benefits — and facing the costs.
Green energy mandates might overburden gas pipelines.
Market rules could evolve to compensate gas suppliers for pressurizing pipelines when needed on short notice. Enhanced ancillary services will require innovative strategies using line pack in interstate pipelines and stepped up communication among gas and electric market participants to preserve reliability objectives in gas and electric markets.
Combined efforts bring mutual benefit.
Regardless of what drives the action — state regulation, federal policy, economic reality — collaboration between utilities and the solar industry is now becoming prevalent. Expanding definitions of utility solar business models represent a significant potential for solar market growth, and provide paths for others to follow.
Lockheed Martin teams with Tendril; Pattern Energy 101 MW wind plant starts operating; Alstom to supply steam equipment to GWF plant; Siemens wins government efficiency contract; GE Jenbacher introduces high-efficiency gas engine; OpenADR Alliance forms; Better Place gets into San Francisco taxis; EnerNOC enters TransAmerica Pyramid; and more.
Evaluating smart meters and public backlash.
After ratepayers brought a class-action lawsuit against distribution utilities, Texas regulators commissioned a study of the state’s new smart meters. The study explains why customers reacted the way they did, and offers insights into how the industry can avoid a Texas-style backlash.
Former Pres. Bill Clinton and other dignitaries help Duke, Cisco and Charlotte, N.C., launch commercial efficiency initiative; AEP signs 20-year MOU to buy solar output from New Harvest plant; Wartsila expands gas-fired generator in Turkey; U.S. DOE awards geothermal RD&D grants; GE acquires Dresser for $3 billion, and also acquires Calnetix industrial cogen technology; SunEdison sells 70 MW Rovigo PV plant; Ford Motor Co.
Coordinated efforts aim toward global principles.
The smart grid is poised for a tremendous rollout of new and revised technology standards in the next few years, but that’s just the beginning. IEEE Standards Association President Charlton Adams Jr. explains the objective of the intensifying smart grid standards effort is to address and satisfy the full gamut of economic, political and social goals related to the smart grid.