The Value in Communicating the Value of an Intelligent Grid
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
Utilities have more incentives than ever to engage consumers as active participants in energy management. As distribution models grow less static and predictable, consumers become grid assets helping integrate new energy resources and balance changing load profiles. Designing an effective customer communication and engagement strategy is critical for grid modernization efforts, and to educate and retain customers in the face of competition from the falling costs of micro generation and storage.
EPB said that its smart grid helped to "ease the damage" and restore power to customers following a fierce storm last week. According to local news, the storm cost EPB approximately $2.5 million. EPB President David Wade said, "The city utility will have to bear all the cost - unlike when it got federal aid after spending $18 million following tornadoes that raked the Chattanooga area in 2012."
Con Edison announced energy savings achieved through its energy efficiency programs deployed in 2016. In a statement, the utility said its energy efficiency measures implemented in 2016 helped reduce consumer energy bills and carbon emissions, as well as improved the utility’s customer services.
Commonwealth Edison is launching pilot projects in northern Illinois to determine if battery storage technology can reduce the impact of power outages in residential areas where customers experience service interruptions. Eventually, the utility hopes to integrate the technology with solar energy in a microgrid, a small energy grid that can power a local, defined area in times of emergency.
A new collaborative, statewide effort by Illinois regulators called NextGrid aims to evaluate emerging grid technologies and to educate policymakers on the complex economic and engineering challenges that come with digitizing and decentralizing what for a century has been a largely analog and centralized system.
Google recently announced Project Sunroof, a solar site launched two years ago, is now crunching data for every single U.S. state, including 60 million rooftops across the country. The expansion means that Google’s Project Sunroof is starting to get a much clearer picture of how much rooftop solar capacity there actually is in the U.S.
Is the grid the problem? Is the grid our solution? Is the grid going away? Is the grid going to be the be-all center of the future utility? These are the questions we’re all wrestling with in the industry at the moment, and Raiford Smith, VP, energy technology & analytics for Entergy discussed a few possibilities in “Building a customer-centric grid in the age of DER” session at Oracle Industry Connect.
As renewable energy, distributed resources and demand management strategies become a key component of how utilities operate, they are increasingly ratebasing grid-edge investments: Cloud-based software, advanced metering infrastructure, software development and communications networks. The trend, as utilities themselves shift to function more as platform providers, is for them to utilize more third-party services as well.