5 Ways to Move the Needle with the “Selectively Engaged”
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
When given the choice, more people are choosing to use renewable energy, and many consumers are making an effort to be more efficient in saving electricity. Affordable technologies, the growing availability of smart meter data and other factors are making it easier for customers to make a range of unprecedented energy choices. The question is, are these innovations reaching all energy customers?
CSU recently said that it is finalizing negotiations and in the coming months will award a contract for 150 megawatts of new solar generation plus a 25-megawatt battery storage system by the end of 2023. CSU said that the battery project will provide the utility with valuable information about improving solar power integration and reducing the need for natural gas to maintain reliability.
Xcel Energy plans to meet its voluntary goal of zero carbon electricity by 2050 while maintaining reliability and affordability. When the company, which provides power to eight Western and Midwestern states, made that commitment in December, it acknowledged that it would rely on “technologies that are not cost-effective or commercially available today.”
DEF announced recently the locations of three new solar power plants, which will provide a combined 195 megawatts. DEF will construct the Lake Placid Solar Power Plant on 380 acres in Highlands County. The 45 MW plant will consist of approximately 180,000 tracking solar panels. It is expected to enter service by December 2019. DEF acquired the development rights to the project from EDF Renewables, and DEF will construct, own, operate and maintain the project.
The cost of electricity from batteries has decreased by 76 percent since 2012, making renewable energy combined with battery storage increasingly competitive with coal and gas generation. Within the past year, the levelized cost of electricity for lithium-ion batteries has fallen 35 percent to $187/MWh, according to the latest analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Locally generated solar and wind energy could already replace almost three-fourths of electricity made by U.S. coal plants for less than the cost of continuing to operate those plants, according to an analysis released today by two clean energy research groups. By 2025, the share of “at risk” coal generation will jump from 74 percent to 86 percent, adds the report by Energy Innovation Policy & Technology in San Francisco and Boulder-based Vibrant Clean Energy.
One of this century's most important innovations is the emerging data analytics capabilities that are allowing utilities to use archived and real-time data to make systems more reliable, affordable and clean. Cost-effective electricity generation from variable renewables is allowing new clean transportation and other electrification initiatives. But they will make the resulting clean energy economy dependent on a burgeoning and complex power system.
The Brattle Group recently analyzed the business case and cost recovery mechanisms for grid modernization investments in the United States. Commissioned by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the study looked at 21 recent grid modernization investments, as well as conducted 10 case studies, to assess the cost-benefit analysis of grid modernization technologies, especially when relating to customers and utilities.