Do Energy Consumers Want to be Engaged?
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
Conventional wisdom says energy consumers aren’t interested in actively managing their power use if their bills are predictable. But the recently released “2018 State of the Consumer” report analyzed new research to find that two-thirds of consumers surveyed are interested in real-time usage data. Furthermore, interest is high among both renters and homeowners in tracking reports and savings suggestions delivered through an app or web portal.
In an effort that will involve Tesla as a partner, a Con Edison utility is planning a battery storage demonstration project that aims to show how storage can provide multiple benefits. Under the $5.6 million proposal that is part of New York's utility sector reform effort called REV, Orange & Rockland will team up with Tesla to test the idea that battery storage can provide a range of services with costs and benefits shared by multiple stakeholders.
The annual “State of the Consumer” report tracks the latest trends in utility-customer relationships and has found consumers ready for clean energy, digital services and new utility programs. SECC’s yearly report synthesizes last year’s research into key takeaways on today’s energy consumers, for electric utilities and other industry stakeholders.
APS will install a 50 MW, 135 MWh battery that will help it shift the output of a 65 MW solar farm to deliver power when customer electricity demand is greatest. The APS contract with developer First Solar will allow it to use the battery to deliver solar power when electricity use is at its peak, between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day.
FPL unveiled a new solar-plus-storage system to fully integrate battery technology with a solar power plant in a way that increases the plant's overall energy output. By incorporating this new technology into the FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center, a solar power plant that was built in 2016, FPL expects to increase the amount of solar energy that the plant can deliver to the electric grid by more than half a million kilowatt-hours a year.
Regulators traditionally evaluate investments in the electric grid for their impact on reliability, which generally means their value in helping to keep the lights on. But FERC is asking if it needs to act on another factor, resilience, which addresses a system’s ability to endure disruption. A panel of experts discussed the topic Monday at NARUC’s Winter Policy Summit in Washington D.C.
Utility managers in the U.S. seeking to shake-up and modernize customer engagement have new evidence to support such efforts. A recent study supports the idea that many consumers are ready for an upgraded online platform to interact with their utility. The study by SECC finds nearly half of respondents said they would use an online platform to help better understand and manage their energy use.
While Tesla is struggling to ramp up production of its Model 3 car in the coming months, it’s got another aggressive growth target in front of it: a big production ramp-up for its energy storage products. In Tesla’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 earnings report, the company said that it plans to at least triple the amount of energy storage capacity it deploys in 2018 compared to 2017.