“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.
Siemens Infrastructure & Cities and Munich city utility Stadtwerke München (SWM) this April put into operation a virtual power plant (VPP), linking several small-scale distributed energy sources and pooling their resources so they can be operated as a single installation (Figure 1). The project comes on the heels of a February 2012 expansion of a […]
The year 2012 represents a turning point for the smart grid. Many foundational elements have been tested; several have been successfully deployed. Now the serious work of integration and value-generation begins, even though the challenges remain substantial.
Several new models of plug-in electric vehicles will enter the market in 2012, joining the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt. The Edison Electric Institute has prepared four suggestions to help utilities smoothly handle the introduction of these vehicles to roads and grids.
For power providers, grid stabilization has been a rising concern in recent years, especially because of the increasing use of intermittent energy sources such as wind turbines. Maintaining a stable electricity grid is difficult because of the unpredictability of intermittent energy sources. If wind turbines, for example, are supplying 5% of the overall power for the grid and the turbines stop moving because the air grows still, the grid has to find a way to kick into overdrive to compensate for this sudden decrease in energy. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
The Five-Year Plan is the expression of the centralized planning goals for China’s economy. The 12th Five-Year Plan, approved by the Chinese Government on March 14, 2011, established many social and economic goals, including significant expansion of the country’s power generation industry in many new directions.
The technologies used to generate and distribute electricity will be radically transformed during the coming decade. Amid that change, the power industry must continue to meet customer reliability, safety, and cost-of-service expectations. Achieving the right balance among these often-conflicting goals is the primary focus of every utility. The Electric Power Research Institute is helping utilities achieve that balance with R&D programs for many new and emerging technologies.
At home and abroad, U.S. military microgrid and smart grid projects are driven by energy security concerns. The pace of such projects, however, can be slow, and the potential for civilian grids to benefit from lessons learned and technologies developed for these important installations may be limited.
In the past few years, nuclear concerns, rising oil prices, and a growing understanding of our environmental impact has given energy issues a higher profile worldwide. In this report on the Continental Nordic countries, we look at the efforts being made in much of the Nordic region to secure a sustainable energy supply for the future and at the extent to which the innovative solutions of these countries can be exported around the globe.
What’s on the agenda for the utility industry today and into the future? Platts and Capgemini asked the industry leadership in their latest survey. The answers revolve around regulation, finance, and human resources.