Renters Prize Energy Efficiency
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
Home renters want to learn more from their utilities about energy saving technologies and programs, a new national report shows. Close to two-thirds want to learn more about shifting energy use off-peak and discounts for energy efficient appliances, according to a report released by SECC.
Sunverge Energy has signed deals with three major electric utilities serving millions of customers in Arizona, Florida and Vermont, expanding the utility customer base for its advanced, intelligent storage systems and Virtual Power Plant platform. The utilities, which serve areas with significant diversity of climate, solar availability and demand patterns, all have recently purchased Sunverge systems as part of next-generation demand response or resiliency programs.
Electricity consumption in the U.S. hits its highest levels in a mere sliver of time — one percent of all the hours of the year. But those kilowatt-hours (kWh) account for about 8-12 percent of system peak demand. These figures come from an article on dynamic pricing from the Brattle Group, which goes on to say that “even a 5-percent reduction in peak demand in the U.S. could lower consumer energy costs by at least $3 billion a year.”
New York’s REV is helping to fundamentally change the energy marketplace, with utilities looking to solutions that capitalize on untapped flexibility and efficiencies instead of immediately turning to infrastructure solutions. So far, the primary focus has been on electricity, and National Grid has launched a series of demonstration projects that include microgrids, “dynamic load management,” distributed resources and other grid-edge advances.
In a 63-page report, a working group of electric experts detailed a plan for $17.6 billion in updates meant to revitalize Puerto Rico’s devastated grid. The suggested measures come from the Puerto Rico Energy Resiliency Working Group, a collaboration forged by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office between New York Power Authority and PREPA, electric trade organizations and DOE.
Smart devices designed to make homes more energy efficient and grid-responsive could have an added benefit of helping seniors age in place. The smart grid-enabled switches can be used to control home energy use and manage a fleet of gadgets, including thermostats and appliances. An Illinois initiative is exploring how the devices could also improve life for seniors and provide more independence to people with disabilities.
Demand response can now do much more than lower electric power load, prompting utilities and system operators to take a new look at it. DR was once an uncertain offer from a few big power users and residential customers to reduce load when notified by utilities or transmission system operators. But there are now more than 13,600 MW of DR enrolled by utilities and about as much available to TSOs.
These days, there is a lot of talk in our industry about abstract ideas—whether that is the smart home, smart city, digital customer, and of course utility of the future. Nearly every utility seems to be on this path for the Holy Grail, but not one seems to know how to define it exactly. But, the task is not impossible for those of us that have come out of AMI and smart grid deployments and are actively engaged with people outside our industry.