The University of California, San Diego has been accumulating awards for its savvy use of a constellation of power generation and energy-saving technologies. The campus already controls a fully functioning microgrid—including a cogeneration plant—and, as befits a research institution, is constantly looking for new ways to make its energy system smarter. This “living laboratory,” as campus leaders like to call it, demonstrates what it takes to build a smarter grid and why the effort is worth it.
This summary of results from a recent Platts/Capgemini survey of North American utility executives looks at what respondents had to say about all things related to the smart grid. Nearly half of respondents’ utilities have a smart grid strategy in place, while the other half said their utility has one in development.
With the eighth-largest economy in the world, Brazil has a clear need for power, but balancing supply and demand has proven tricky in recent decades. Even in a country where over 80% of generation capacity comes from renewables, planning for future capacity additions isn’t straightforward or easy.
"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.
The tension between the growing number of renewable energy projects and limited transmission capacity is reflected in Washington’s legislative agenda of establishing a national renewable portfolio standard and new transmission lines dedicated to moving renewable energy coast-to-coast. Even if those ideas become law, hurdles to the happy marriage of renewables and transmission remain.
Turkey’s growing power market has attracted investors and project developers for over a decade, yet their plans have been dashed by unexpected political or financial crises or, worse, obstructed by a lengthy bureaucratic approval process. Now, with a more transparent retail electricity market, government regulators and investors are bullish on Turkey. Is Turkey ready to turn the power on?
Though Canada is rich in fossil fuels, nuclear power may fuel a significant portion of the nation’s future electrical generation needs, especially in provinces that have traditionally relied on hydropower and fossil fuels.
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.
Last year, San Diego Gas & Electric tapped Boston-based EnerNOC Inc. to aggregate 25 MW of backup generators throughout SDG&E’s service area to relieve the grid when it’s stressed by peak demand for electricity. By combining stringent environmental controls with field-proven expertise managing distributed assets, EnerNOC has helped to improve grid stability in Southern California.