Since 1882, when Thomas Edison installed the world’s first central generating plant in New York City, utility business models have varied little from the basic one: cover costs and generate profit by selling more electricity. But today, unprecedented challenges are sweeping through the industry. Soon utilities will face yet another new challenge: the large-scale implementation of distributed solar power, which can result in lower electricity sales. As solar implementation further challenges business-as-usual models, what’s a forward-thinking utility to do?
Clashes between industry and the Department of Commerce on backward compatibility of standards could stifle and delay the development of a “smart” electric transmission and distribution grid.
Q: What do you get when you gather roughly two dozen top researchers from academia, government, and industry to speak on interdisciplinary energy-related issues for a week?
A: A lot of informative but crowded slides, high-octane brain power, fact-based analysis of where we are and we’re headed globally, informed questions, and surprisingly practical answers.
As IEEE celebrates its 125th anniversary on May 13, it is also addressing the challenges ahead. The Center for Energy Workforce Development estimates that 45% of engineers in electric utilities will be eligible for retirement, or may leave for other reasons, in the next five years. What’s more, the educators of new engineers are also […]
Congress looks at what “smart grid” means and comes up with mixed definitions. The one thing everyone agrees on: The smart grid is going to be expensive.
On Thursday, while visiting Jefferson City, Mo., with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Vice President Joe Biden announced that, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more than $3.3 billion in smart grid technology development grants and an additional $615 million for smart grid storage, monitoring, and technology viability were being made available.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has contracted the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to help it develop an interim road map to harmonize interoperability standards for the smart grid.
Experts assert that the U.S. grid—already proven by federal agencies to be vulnerable to cyber attacks—has been compromised by spies who tried to map the system and left bugs that could be used to disrupt networks at a time of war or crisis.
What do you do when your research institution is losing roughly half a million dollars annually as a result of multiple electricity outages — and electricity demand keeps rising? If you’re the Illinois Institute of Technology, you turn the challenge into a campuswide learning experience by teaming with the Galvin Electricity Initiative and other experts to design and construct a prototype Perfect Power System (PPS). Even during its implementation, the PPS promises to provide more reliable and sustainable electricity to the university at a lower cost than it had been paying.
Al Gore, in his recent New York Times op-ed titled "The Climate for Change," calls for a "$400 billion investment over ten years to construct a national smart grid to distribute renewable energy." Echelon supports these proposed investments. We also believe the answer is not just in constructing something new but in transforming the existing […]