Archive: Business

Which Country’s Grid Is the Smartest?

The U.S. isn’t the only country evaluating and implementing elements of smart grid technology. In fact, it could be argued that other nations are much farther along the path to a comprehensive, technically advanced system for integrating renewables, managing load, and creating a more flexible power grid.

A New Regulatory and Environmental Milieu

There will be no shortage of important issues to keep utility executives and their staffs busy throughout 2010. Few of these will be surprises, although a number will emerge quickly and assume larger-than-life significance. The confluence of the great recession and the sturm und drang of environmental legislation will create the liveliest of the debates, but more subtle trends will drive additional stressors. The results of Black & Veatch’s 2009 fourth annual industry strategic directions survey can offer guidance as to how these issues will affect the industry in the coming year.

Where Are the New Engineers?

The U.S. isn’t producing the workforce it needs for the future of energy generation. And forget about “green jobs,” an undefined concept.

What Do Customers Expect from the Smart Grid?

Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity enterprise in Boulder, Colo., is one of the most talked-about smart grid projects. Here’s what some Boulder utility customers are saying about it.

Addressing the Intraday Trading Position Conundrum

Power traders need to get faster, more accurate information on how markets are working and how they are swinging. They should look to telecommunications and manufacturing markets for solutions.

The U.S. Gas Rebound

"It’s déjà vu all over again," said Yogi Berra. The Hall of Fame catcher could easily have been predicting the coming resurgence of natural gas – fired generation. Yes, a few more coal plants will be completed this year, but don’t expect any new plant announcements. A couple of nuclear plants may actually break ground, but don’t hold your breath. Many more wind turbines will dot the landscape as renewable portfolio standards dictate resource planning, but their peak generation contribution will be small. The dash for gas in the U.S. has begun, again.

TREND: Coal in a Hole

While pundits opine that the U.S. economy is in recovery, that doesn’t show up in the world of coal-fired electric power plants (perhaps lagging economic indicators). For proof, see these recent stories.

Social Media in the Workforce: Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, Tweedly-Deet

Social media have emerged as an important force in the workplace, both as new ways of doing business and as challenges to organization management. Among those challenges is defining acceptable employee behavior on and off the job.

Talking Smart Grid Talk

What is the smart grid all about? A new book—a dictionary—attempts to define and demystify the jargon and bafflegab surrounding the buzzing smart grid. It’s a somewhat flawed but worthwhile first attempt at unraveling the often bizarre and sometimes baloney-filled smart grid nomenclature.