Three Ways to Better Engage Low-Income Customers
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
There's been much talk within the energy industry about the "utility of the future", which is being brought about by new, innovative technologies, sizeable infrastructure investments and evolving customer expectations, to name just a few industry megatrends. Renewables, smart meters, electric vehicles, mobile apps and other features of the "utility of the future" are indeed proliferating, but are these technologies actually reaching all residential energy customers?
Xcel Energy announced Monday that it is working with Google to help their customers manage their energy use. Through this collaboration, the Minneapolis-based energy provider is using Google Assistant to launch voice actions as a way for customers to access information about improving energy efficiency in their homes. Over time, Xcel will look to expand its Google Assistant capabilities to give customers the ability to access account information, receive notifications and personalize their energy management using voice-enabled devices.
Over the next decade and a half, Duke Energy plans to spend $500 million or more on energy storage across the Carolinas. After looking extensively at pricing and tech trends, the utility realized energy storage would play an extremely important role on the grid. How important? “To do effective planning, you have to mix it into your planning at large scale,” said Melisa Johns, Duke Energy's vice president of distributed energy resource business and product development.
Spokane, Washington-based utility Avista Utilities and partner Strata Solar this week celebrated the completion of a solar farm bringing 28 MW of renewable electricity from eastern Washington into the grid. Strata Solar developed the Adams Neilson Solar Farm, which is connecting into Avista’s Solar Select program. Avista, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and the Washington State University Energy Program collaborated on the project.
Several partnerships announced this year suggest a new approach in how utilities use voice technology for energy management. Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables estimates that 65 million homes in the U.S. will own at least one standalone voice assistant device by 2023. As voice assistants proliferate, some utilities are looking to engage their customers more effectively by combining voice technology and advanced analytics, through partnerships with vendors in the space.
Tesla is on track to triple its 2018 energy storage deployments the company said in its third quarter letter to investors. The company's "historic" quarterly results included a 70-percent increase in quarter-over-quarter revenues and $312 million in net income. Tesla installed 239 MWh of energy storage in the third quarter, an 18-percent increase from the prior quarter and a 118-percent increase from third quarter of last year.
The energy industry will enter a transformative new era by 2035, when nearly 20 percent of global power needs are forecast to be met by solar or wind, displacing fossil fuels, according to analysts at Wood Mackenzie, a global research and consultancy group. The group recently released a report, “Thinking global energy transitions: the what, if, how and when” that lays out the global energy transition and charts how the combined effects of electrification and the growth of renewable energy sources will lead to a “point of singularity”.
Natural gas, solar and wind are the cheapest ways to generate electric power, according to a new study released by the University of Texas at Austin's Energy Institute on Thursday. The report calculates the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) by U.S. county, finding wind to be the cheapest resource across the central plains and down the Appalachian Mountains.