Smart Grid / Smart Energy

Archives for February 2011 « Recent Articles

Photo of Sam JaffeOffline

The Lightbulb as I.T.

By Sam Jaffe

For almost 100 years, the lightbulb was simply a lighting device: when a current passed through it, photons came out. Over the last few decades, that has changed. The electronic ballast in a modern fluorescent fixture has almost as many power electronics in it as your cell phone. And, with the emergence of L.E.D.'s, the lightbulb will make the leap to full-fledged I.T. appliance, capable of intelligent automated control and energy management. That transformation is a microcosm of changes in all machines tha


On sunny days on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, a recently commissioned 1.2 MW solar farm installed by REC Solar supplies 100% of the demand required by the distribution circuit to which it is connected. According to Steve Rymsha, Senior Energy Solutions Engineer at Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), the utility wanted to determine what problems this maximum penetration level would cause, and to date he has been very pleased with the results.

Photo of Rick NicholsonOffline

CURRENT Group Currently on Life Support

By Rick Nicholson

Last week, according to multiple industry sources, CURRENT Group, the former broadband over power line (BPL) high flyer that had more recently transformed itself into a niche distribution automation solution provider, went through a major downsizing.  Unconfirmed estimates place the layoffs at more than 60% of the US-based staff including most of the executive team.  This follows on the heels of previous voluntary departures of key staff including Ray Gogel, President and COO, who left at the end

Photo of Sam JaffeOffline

The Four Smart Building Golden Principles

By Sam Jaffe – 4 Comments

In the 1970's, Jimmy Carter urged Americans to embrace energy efficiency as a way out of the country's oil crises. He insisted that his fellow citizens sacrifice for the country by donning a sweater and turning down their thermostats. Shivering, he insisted, was the new patriotism. He even insisted on having his picture repeatedly taken wearing a wool cardigan, and termed the struggle for energy efficiency as the "Moral Equivalent Of War". His political opponents soon made a habit of showing the goofily swe

Photo of Rick NicholsonOffline

Does Peak Oil Mean More Investment in Clean Energy?

By Rick Nicholson

If you're interested in this topic please see my post in the Intelligent Oil & Gas blog.

Photo of Jill FeblowitzOffline

Into the Cloud for Meter-to-Cash?

By Jill Feblowitz

In recent days, two telecommunications companies have announced cloud offerings for meter data management (MDM), and eventually meter to cash services.  The concept sounds appealing, but are utilities ready for this type of cloud offering?

Photo of Casey TalonOffline

Today President Obama announced his Better Buildings Initiative from Penn State. The program targets 20% improvement in commercial building energy efficiency by 2020 through new incentives and Federal support "catalyzing private sector investment."  The goal is to promote innovation, education, and the so called better buildings that will one day be "self sufficient" as the President put it.  Retrofits and weatherization may make a difference in the short run, but long term goals must be met throu

Photo of Jill FeblowitzOffline

Texas Rolling Blackout - Do You Need A Weatherman?

By Jill Feblowitz

Those in following the utility industry remember well the rolling blackouts in California in 2004, a possible artifact of market manipulation.  The recent rolling blackout is Texas' second in recent years due to cold weather.  Although the facts are still coming in - note a piece in PowerGen, it appears that the February 1 blackout imposed by ERCOT, may in part have been due to problems with generators affected by cold weather.

Photo of Marcus TorchiaOffline

On the floor of Distributech, a myriad of companies displayed their wares for all things utility whether electric, gas, water or all of the above. The electric heavy product line up one expects from Distributech did live up to its expectations. I ran across many promising solutions aimed at filling perceived gaps innovating companies believe utilities need but are not currently met by product offerings available today. Here are a couple that stood out from the crowd....

Viewed 922,079 times