What Do Millennials Want from Their Energy Providers?
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
Now that millennials are the largest U.S. generation in terms of population, their needs and wants will be increasingly influential in all areas of the U.S. economy in the coming years. In the energy industry in particular, where many utilities are just beginning to transition to more customer-centric operational cultures, millennials are bringing radically new values and desires to the table, especially when compared to baby boomers, the previous largest generation.
FirstEnergy recently launched a website offering its consumers a variety of services. The online consumer portal, Smartmart by FirstEnergy, will act as a marketplace on which customers within the company’s network can access tools, services and technologies they can use in order to live and work smarter. The website will also be used by consumers to pay their energy bills.
Xcel Energy’s Solar Rewards Community program now has 40 active community solar gardens delivering more than 100 MW of clean, renewable energy to customers. Xcel Energy currently has more than 139 MW of clean, renewable energy online from solar gardens across Minnesota. There are nearly 180 solar garden projects totaling more than 475 MW currently in the design or the construction phase. Xcel Energy estimates that up to 150-200 additional MW could be online by the end of the year.
Duke Energy is working on ways it can improve the resilience of the grid and the company's ability to respond to extreme weather incidents as part of a "smarter energy future" plan. Duke Energy will, therefore, be investing close to $3 billion over the next decade into their grid network in South Carolina to ensure quicker responses to storm events and outages.
The governors of Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide a framework for creating a regional electric vehicle plan for the West. The plan was announced Oct. 4 at an energy conference hosted by the National Governors Association in Salt Lake City.
Accelerating growth forecasts for electric vehicles have energy analysts urging utilities to start planning for their impacts on the grid today. By 2021, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts U.S. electric vehicle (EV) sales could reach 800,000 annually. By 2025, the Edison Electric Institute, a utility trade group, estimates there could be 7 million zero-emission vehicles on U.S. roads.
American utilities are investing in broader efforts to simplify the customer experience across separate digital ecosystems. Evaluating and integrating distributed energy resource (DER) marketplaces -- platforms offering energy-saving products and services to their customers -- into an overall customer engagement strategy is becoming more commonplace, according to a new GTM Research report, “The Emergence of Utility-Branded DER Marketplaces”.
When Hurricane Sandy knocked out power to millions of Northeast residents in 2012, it forced a reckoning for the electric power industry. Utilities began investing in resilience and the region took a strong interest in microgrids, distributed resources and modernization. Five years later, New York is in the midst of overhauling its utility sector from the ground up, with its Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding.