Smart Grid / Smart Energy

Archives for October 2011 « Recent Articles

Photo of Sam JaffeOffline

Deep in the mountains of West Virginia lies the most sophisticated and largest battery system  ever made. I travelled on Thursday to the alpine hamlet of Laurel Mountain to attend the unveiling of the 32 MW, 8 MWh system, which has just been built by AES Energy Storage. What I found was the next iteration of energy storage technology: bigger, better and cheaper.

Photo of Dean ChuangOffline

As I noted in September, the smart metering market is entering an era of global growth as utilities around the world upgrade from legacy analog systems to digital smart meters.  While I've previously highlighted the local implementation of technologies and the 'many states of metering,' utilities and vendors worldwide are asking many of the same questions.  Here are some takeaways from my meetings at Autovation and Metering Europe.      


Over the past couple of days there has been much discussion about the falling costs of crystalline silicon (C-Si) PV modules as the primary factor behind the ouster of First Solar CEO Rob Gillette. I don't disagree: falling C-Si module costs prevented First Solar from gaining the market share it would have required to warrant its recent rapid expansion of production capacity. But as I was walking the floor of the Solar Power International conference last week, it occurred to me that a number of the most exc

Photo of Usman SindhuOffline

Consumer adoption rates and utilities investment plans continuously reinforce that home energy management is still in its infancy. However, the meager growth in the energy management market is not discouraging innovators to experiment with the technology.  Nest Labs  unveiled its product Nest which is a smart thermostat. Nest Labs is created by Tony Fadell, who was the creator of the famous iPod. The smart thermostat contains an intuitive interface and innate intelligence resembling to an iPod. At

Photo of Roberta BiglianiOffline

There are many factors driving the creation of Smart Cities around the world today, mainly the need to best prepare for a sustainable future. Today, cities are currently using more than two-thirds of the world's energy, while emitting 70% of the world's CO2 emissions, while housing 50% of the population; this is bound to worsen as urbanization continues to accelerate, especially in the emerging economies. According to the United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), this is forecast to


  A Sunshine Memo was issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday, October 13, moments after I met with Commissioner Norris and Chairman Wellinghoff with the Electricity Storage Association Advocacy Council. This memo listed a multitude of possible final rulemakings, one of which will set a new course for the energy storage industry. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Frequency Regulation Compensation may sound esoteric and niche-y but this rule will provide the opening the

Photo of Jill FeblowitzOffline

Utilities at Oracle OpenWorld: What's New?

By Jill Feblowitz

What's new from Oracle OpenWorld?  For one thing, there is a new senior vice president and general manager for the Oracle Tax and Utilities Global Business Unit who has come from a long history in the utilities industry working with such companies such as Black and Veatch.  He is laser focused on two goals:  enhancing utilities ability to run as efficiently as possible and enhancing the customer experience.  It is impressive that 54 days into his position, he has already raised visibilit


GE's Plans to Shake Up the Solar PV Market

By Jay Holman

GE yesterday announced plans to build its new solar panel factory in Aurora, Colorado with a production capacity of 400MW per year.  The company says that it will create 355 jobs in Colorado and another 100 in New York at its renewable energy global headquarters in Schenectady and its global research center in Niskayuna.  The plant will use CdTe technology developed by PrimeStar Solar, which GE acquired earlier this year.  The first panels are planned to come off the production line before th

Photo of Jill FeblowitzOffline

SAP for Utilities: Get Smarter

By Jill Feblowitz

Getting Smarter was the theme of this year's North American SAP for Utilities Conferences with about two dozen utility companies presenting on how they did that (without the shoe phones).  Session tracks included AMI/smart grid, CIS/CRM, EAM, Business Performance, and Mobility (both workforce mobility and electric vehicles).   If attendees were skeptical about SAP's commitment to the utility industry coming into the conference, they left with tangible evidence of investment.

Photo of Casey TalonOffline

I spent the beginning of last week at this year's United States Green Building Council Conference GBNext in Toronto.  While the event had a smaller turnout than previous years, I was impressed by the magnitude and excitement clearly evident throughout the expo hall.  There were three significant signals that energy efficiency and Smart Buildings are what's next for green building:  JCI's exuberant announcement of their new Panoptix energy management solution, Siemens' acquisition of lighting

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