Outages Decrease Again for ComEd
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
The annual reliability report issued by ComEd recently to the Illinois Commerce Commission shows consumers have experienced a 10 percent decrease in outages in 2017 from 2016 levels. For ComEd, this means 2017 is the best on record performance for the fifth year in a row. ComEd customers impacted per storm outage were fewer, and the utility had fewer lengthy outages during storms.
Xcel Energy Colorado filed its Clean Energy Plan with state regulators recently, proposing to retire a pair of coal units capable of generating 660 MW, and add 1.8 GW of renewables, along with developing some natural gas and energy storage resources. The plan calls for $2.5 billion of investment across eight counties and is expected to save customers $215 million.
AMP is partnering with Amber Kinetics in a demonstration project that will use potential breakthrough technology to extend the duration and efficiency of flywheels in energy storage applications. Amber says that unlike lithium-ion energy storage systems, its Kinetic Energy Storage System has no degradation or wear-and-tear over time. Moreover, the steel storage system is completely recyclable after its 30-year design life.
PSE&G recently proposed to invest $2.5 billion over the next five years to improve its system’s resilience and reliability in the second phase of its Energy Strong program. The proposal now awaits approval by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The company plans to invest in modernizing its electric and gas stations, installing stronger poles and wires, deploying technology to quicken restoration and strengthening its customer service.
Electric utilities across the country are investing heavily in upgrading the grid and deploying EV charging infrastructure, but they should also be focusing on increasing awareness of EVs and their benefits among customers, a panel of experts said here this week at the EEI 2018 Annual Convention. Representatives from utilities, environmental groups and an investment firm each addressed the future of electric transportation.
Energy storage has caught the attention of some big investors. BEV’s founders, in addition to Bill Gates, include notable tech entrepreneurs such as Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman and Alibaba's Jack Ma. The fund has identified energy storage as one of its five key investment target areas. A recent report by Mercom Capital Group found that battery storage dominated funding and M&A activity in the first quarter.
Despite tariffs that President Trump imposed on imported panels, the U.S. installed more solar energy than any other source of electricity in the first quarter. Developers installed 2.5 gigawatts of solar in the first quarter, up 13 percent from a year earlier, according to a report recently from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.
CPUC has approved five new storage projects totaling 83.5 MW / 135 MWh and a demand response program capable of contributing 4.5 MW as part of SDG&E's plan to add more renewables and improve grid reliability. Each of the lithium-ion battery storage facilities in San Diego and Orange counties is a four-hour battery to be developed by a different company.