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Archives for November 2009 « Recent Articles

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Flywheels Take a Turn for The Better

By Sam Jaffe

Two awards in the Department of Energy's smart grid demonstration program take flywheel energy storage a turn closer to reality. The concept of flywheels is relatively simple: take energy off the grid to spin a cylinder in a vacuum and add energy back on to the grid by turning that kinetic motion into electricity. But various attempts in the past to turn that idea into a real and economical form of energy storage have failed to find traction. Now Beacon Energy, a long-time player in the flywheel space, and


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Compressed Air Energy Storage a Big Winner

By Sam Jaffe

Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) has long been "the technology of tomorrow". Despite the construction of two plants two decades ago, no new plants have been built since. A number of high profile plans have been much discussed, including the Norton Energy project in Ohio and the Iowa Stored Energy Project, but have resisted being pulled off the drawing board and turned into real-life projects. The Department of Energy's smart grid demonstration awards announced earlier today have finally changed that.&nb


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On November 3, 2009, IDC Energy Insights held the first "live chat" event. Jill and I jumped at the chance to be the sacrificial guinea pigs for this novel format. As it turns out, it was a hectic half hour with a few minor hiccups but we got though the experiment just fine. The questions we received were thoroughly inquisitive and thought provoking. In total we received 42 questions from 109 participants. An amazing participation rate!  While we couldn't answer all of the questions we did manage to re


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Smart Grid Demonstration Grants Announced

By Sam Jaffe

The 32 winners of the $620 million Smart Grid Demonstration grant program were announced today. The Department of Energy clearly took a portfolio approach, doling out grant money to a variety of different technologies and companies, rather than dumping it all into a few big buckets.


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As the Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee program continues to inch along, more visibility is emerging on how much economic activity it will spur. A total of $15 billion worth of projects could be financed through the new FIPP structure, which stands for Financial Institution Partnership Program, and requires that renewable energy project developers arrange financing through private banks prior to applying for the loan guarantee. This allows the DOE to streamline and hasten the application process. Howev


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On October 30, 2009, a consortium made up of Enel, Telecom Italia, Electrolux, and Indesit announced a plan to develop and test a new system, called Energy@Home. Energy@Home will enable "smart appliances" to manage themselves, consequently adjusting households' power consumption. The system will also relay information regarding actual household consumption measured by existing Enel smart metering infrastructure to the consumers on their PC, mobile phone, or on the appliance itself.



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