ComEd’s Grid Upgrades Reduce Outages
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
Upgrades to the power grid helped ComEd’s Chicago area customers stay warm and avoid outages this winter. ComEd’s smart grid improvements, including the installation of “smart switches” that reroute power around trouble spots, helped avoid more than 280,000 customer interruptions this winter season, which has been one of the coldest in recent history.
Entergy New Orleans is piloting a new program that puts solar panels on the rooftops of low-income customers’ homes and gives them a $30 credit on their energy bills every month, rain or shine. Entergy says the Residential Rooftop Solar Program is a way for New Orleans customers in need to participate in the benefits of distributed renewable energy by allowing the company to install utility-owned and operated panels on their homes with no complicated leases or upfront cash.
While a recent J.D. Power study concludes that the utility sector as a whole continues to struggle when it comes to delivering a satisfying digital customer experience, two public power utilities, Arizona’s Salt River Project and California’s SMUD, bucked the trend and earned high scores in J.D. Power’s 2019 Utility Digital Experience Study. Now in its second year, the study assesses how customers interact with their utility based on their perceptions of the available websites and mobile apps as well as the social, email, chat and text functions of the 67 largest utilities in the U.S.
Avista, which provides electricity to parts of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, signed an agreement to purchase power from the Rattlesnake Flat Wind project in Adams County, Wash. Under a 20-year power purchase agreement, Rattlesnake Flat will provide Avista with approximately 50 average megawatts of renewable energy, or as much as 144 megawatts of wind capacity.
From 2008 to 2018, renewable electricity generation in the U.S. nearly doubled to 742 million MWh, according to a report released by the U.S. EIA. That industry now provides 17.6 percent of the total electricity generation in the U.S., much of it (90 percent) from solar and wind generation. Wind saw especially large leaps over the period, rising from 55 million MWh in 2008 to 275 million MWh by 2018.
Nevada legislators introduced a bill on Monday that would double the state's renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030 and require 100-percent carbon-free emissions by 2050. SB 358 would ensure all electricity providers are treated the same under the RPS, including electric cooperatives and private energy providers, and clarify that renewables include existing hydropower.
We Energies has expanded its advanced metering infrastructure deployment and system operation contract with Landis+Gyr. The utility will install approximately 508,000 smart electricity meters as well as expand rollout of an IoT communications network to provide connectivity to the smart meters. Previously, the two companies deployed smart meters for approximately half of the utility's total customer base.
Annual solar energy production in North Carolina increased by 36 percent in 2018, according to the December 2018 Electric Power Monthly report from the U.S. EIA. According to the report, North Carolina produces the second-most solar energy of any state. The state produced 7.2 million megawatt-hours of solar generation in 2018. It was third in the nation for connecting new solar projects in 2018.