Achieving a balance between affordable and sustainable electricity while improving reliability is a challenge unlike any the electricity sector has faced since its inception. Technology innovations in key areas such as energy efficiency, smart grid, renewable energy resources, hardened transmission systems, and long-term operation of the existing nuclear and fossil fleets are essential to shaping the future of electricity supplies.
Though subsidies and incentives for wind and other renewables have grabbed the headlines, federal and state initiatives are quietly building some momentum behind combined heat and power.
Already in the midst of a drive to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, the University of British Columbia didn’t just look to clean energy for its new combined heat and power system. Instead, it decided to combine research with cutting-edge green power.
Long the redheaded stepchild of North American power generation, combined heat and power (CHP) may finally be poised for a big leap forward.
On Monday, as First Wind announced its 69-MW Kawailoa Wind Project had gone into commercial operations on Oahu, other news underscored the difficulty the island state faces in trying to substitute renewables for expensive, imported fossil fuels.
Berkeley, Calif., startup LightSail Energy, which aims to produce “the world’s cleanest and most economical energy storage systems,” has secured $37.3 million in a Series D round that included three big-name investors: Bill Gates, Vinod Khosla, and Peter Thiel.
Bigger isn’t always better, but when you’ve got big power needs in a remote location, your options are often limited. A new mobile gas-fired generator aims to change that, offering both big capacity and a small footprint.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) last week approved a deal involving the state’s major utilities and renewable energy advocates that is aimed at streamlining the process for connecting distributed generation (DG) resources to the grid. The CPUC’s action will make it easier for small amounts of distributed resources—such as rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems—to connect to the grid. The agreement also revises upward the amount of DG that can be connected to a specific power line segment without the need for supplemental studies.
“If you build it, they will come” has proven a risky strategy for some smart grid projects. One of California’s largest investor-owned utilities faced the opposite challenge—customers whose behaviors necessitated a smarter grid. Customer involvement in and support for smart grid plans is a major reason SDG&E’s smart grid efforts continue to garner accolades, including the 2012 POWER Smart Grid Award.