The Evolution in Utility Networks

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As part of the smart-grid integration, power utility networks are moving away from old legacy communications infrastructure and toward Ethernet transport and Internet Protocol networks, also known as “packet-based networks.” The new networks will provide benefits to the smart grid such as IP-based supervisory control and data acquisition systems, advance substation automation, and video surveillance. Packet transport is a better … Read More

Renewables Raise Utility Bills Despite Falling Solar and Wind Costs

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A report from the Little Hoover Institute, an independent California oversight agency that has been active for about fifty years, titled, “Rewiring California: Integrating Agendas for Energy Reform,” argued the case that the state of California may be moving too swiftly toward its 2020 Renewable Portfolio Standard requirement of having renewable sources for 33% of the state’s energy. Despite the … Read More

EPRI: Utilities Have a Lot More to Learn About What Customers Want

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While customer engagement has become increasingly critical to the smart grid initiative, a recent report from EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) claims that there are big gaps in the utilities’ knowledge of what the customers really want, despite recent pilot programs and research designed to find out exactly that. There have been estimates of customer response to time-of-use rates, critical … Read More

Unnatural Disasters: What Can Be Done About Natural Gas Pipeline Explosions?

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A recent natural gas explosion in Springfield Massachusetts injured over twenty people and damaged several buildings in the city, blowing out windows and bricks, and even leveling a few. This is what the industry refers to as a “significant pipeline incident,” and these incidents occur approximately three times every four days. In early November, a gas leak explosion killed two … Read More

Gas Boom County Strives for Economic Afterglow

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Pennsylvania’s Lycoming County and its main city, Williamsport, are working to change the economic problem of drilling that is criticized as “boom and bust,” where companies come into an area, take what they need, and then leave with little impact on the economy of the region hosting them. Lycoming County is working to position itself as both a source of … Read More

Suffering on Long Island as Power Agency Shows Its Flaws

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Four days before Hurricane Sandy arrived, the Long Island Power Authority had a two-hour long meeting to discuss a variety of pending issues, including whether or not they should hire a branding consultant, along with what is reported as thirty-nine seconds dedicated to the impending storm. The New York Times reports that the power authority’s response to the storm reflects … Read More

Can Renewables Prevent Future Blackouts from Storms?

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Stephen Connors, a renewable energy researcher at MIT Energy Initiative, says that renewable energy could potentially offer a solution to storm-related blackouts, but cautions that it wouldn’t be a “slam dunk.” The crucial part about electrical outages is not necessarily what kind of energy is being used, but how it is connected. If your roof of solar panels can only … Read More