Renewable Energy Initiative Approved for Signature Gathering

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In Salem, Oregon, an initiative to allow hydroelectric energy from dams built before 1995 has been approved to seek signatures to get on the 2014 ballot. In 2007, renewable portfolio standards were set that mandated for 15 percent of utilities’ energy to be renewable by 2015 and 25 percent by 2025. Energy gained from dams was specifically excluded from the … Read More

Market Research: Big Data Will Help Utilities Refine Offerings

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One of the many key points brought up at Chartwell’s Utility Market Research Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, this April was the importance of “big data” in the future of utility market research as smart devices and other data capturing devices become more prevalent. Utilities will be able to use analytics on the increased amount of data gathered to design targeted … Read More

What are (Our) Words Worth?

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“What are words worth?” Tom Tom Club asked in a catchy song from the 1980s. You probably danced to it in college. I know I did. But let’s not go there, because it was a very different time and place. Instead, today, as utility communicators, let’s ask ourselves, “What are our words worth?” We know a poorly chosen word or … Read More

Smart Turbines, With Batteries, Will Feed Texas Grid

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Wind energy storage isn’t becoming mainstream, but the technology is undoubtedly growing in Texas. It’s growing particularly in Texas because the more wind energy is used, the more important wind energy storage becomes because Texas uses a lot of wind energy. At times, wind energy can account for over a quarter of Texas’ total energy output. Wind energy storage, such … Read More

How Nest Labs Shows the Smart Grid Can Work

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The smart grid has many conceptions of what it should be doing for its customers who will be the ones ultimately financing its creation. One good conception for the smart grid is a “smart grid ecosystem,” in which the utilities, markets, and customers are all “smart.” From the utilities, customers might want a variety of energy resources to choose from … Read More

Trucking Industry is Set to Expand its Use of Natural Gas

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Natural gas, which has already made big impacts on the energy economy in the United States, is now moving into the trucking industry. Cummins started shipping engines in April that made long trucking runs on natural gas possible, and the beginnings of a network of natural gas refueling stations waits ready for the shift. Manufacturers like Proctor & Gamble, which … Read More

By 2023, a Changed World in Energy

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This New York Times article takes a hypothetical look just ten years into the future, at a world of energy that might be. Considering the energy changes that have occurred over the last decade, when American natural gas fields were thought to be dying and investors were preparing to import, the possibilities for change in the next decade look to … Read More

TVA Puts ‘Smart Grid’ Device to Test

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The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has installed ninety-nine devices that are designed to automatically or remotely reroute electricity from congested transmission lines into lines with lower use, in an effort to enhance grid reliability and stability. The devices have been installed on a transmission corridor spread across seventeen towers. The director of TVA Innovation Technology reported that TVA has been … Read More

DR, EE To Become Major Smart Grid Players

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Last August, California experienced temperatures that reached into the high 90’s, causing the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to worry about unprecedented air conditioning use threatening the state’s energy supply. CAISO is the main overseer of California’s electric grid, so their concern and request for energy conservation was responded to by Pacific Gas & Electric, whose demand response program participants … Read More