Friday News Roundup (3/23/12)

Nine more utilities sign on to the Green Button initiative:
On Thursday the Obama Administration announced that nine more major utilities and electricity suppliers have committed to providing their customers with access to the Green Button, a nationwide effort to provide consumers with information about their energy use in a standardized online format. The Green Button makes a customer’s electricity use information available to them so they can review, analyze and save their consumption details after a one-click download. Now 15 million households in the service areas of American Electric Power, Austin Energy, Baltimore Gas & Electric, CenterPoint Energy, Commonwealth Edison, NSTAR, PECO, Reliant, and Virginia Dominion Power will have access to their data through the Green Button. A number of companies also announced commitments to support utility deployment of the Green Button and develop applications or services for businesses and consumers using this industry data standard.

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Ten smart grid trends to watch in 2012:
With 40 million Smart Meters now installed across premises throughout North America, Pike Research Inc.’s latest white paper projects that 2012 will be the year for utilities and third-party vendors to deepen customer engagement and build out consumer-facing services, such as web portals and useful apps. The report summarizes key strategic insights related to smart grid developments currently underway. They forecast trends and issues affecting the adoption of dynamic pricing, cyber-security standards, microgrids, and home area networks (HAN). Overall, the report encourages smart grid stakeholders to start delivering on some of the promises to help consumers reduce consumption, lower their spending on energy, and make access to renewable energy sources easier.

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Taking a closer look into the smart grid stakeholder landscape:
The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently released a Smart Grid Advisory Committee (SGAC) report in order to review and provide input for NIST in regards to “Smart Grid standards, priorities, and gaps, and the overall direction, status, and health of Smart Grid implementation by the Smart Grid industry, including identifying issues and needs.” In doing so, the SGAC found that there were several common emerging themes across the smart grid stakeholder landscape. Since NIST is a key cog in bringing together manufacturers, consumers, energy providers, and regulators in an attempt to clarify and develop “interoperable standards”, paying close attention to themes such as a need for consistent state regulatory support for Smart Grid standards development or a need to continue the focus on transparency, roles, and responsibilities are important to the success of the smart grid.

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