New Year’s Day brought wind-energy developers a belated holiday gift when Congress included in its fiscal-cliff budget deal a one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) that helps wind farms operate profitably.
As recent storms have proven, extreme weather conditions threaten lives, disrupt the economy, and devastate electric generation, transmission and distribution systems, often resulting in very long power outages.
As the result of the rapid expansion of smart grid and advanced meter infrastructure, many utilities around the country are replacing existing meters with new solid-state smart meters and two-way communication devices. These new systems offer significant benefits to the consumer and utility.
It’s understandable if that’s your reaction to what you anticipate will be yet another article extolling networked electric utility meters and talking refrigerators. These consumer-facing features continue to seem always another two or three years away from implementation.
Extreme weather in extreme temperatures poses the most danger to electricity transmission and delivery. Unfortunately, we have seen time and again that it is in those circumstances that electricity service is needed most.
While the smart grid has been the topic of much conversation lately, specifics on what this supposed technical marvel will do, cost or look like in actual utility installations have been notably lacking.
Superstorm Sandy, a post-tropical cyclone, closely followed by a wicked nor’easter, left more than 1.7 million Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) customers without power. These outages represented two-thirds of New Jersey’s entire population.
It’s no news that coal-fired electricity generation is in decline in the United States. Falling natural gas prices and increasing pollution regulations are combining to put aging plants in many states out of business.
On the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Gulf Coast residents watched as Category 1 Hurricane Isaac bore down on the New Orleans region, evoking memories of the costliest U.S. hurricane disaster on record. On Aug.
Much of the smart grid’s strength lies in its use of wireless technology to improve monitoring, information flow and efficiency. As powerful as that combination may be, a couple of California utilities have taken it to a new low. That is to say they have taken it underground.
For the electrical contractor (EC), finding a role in the smart grid shouldn’t be a matter of “wait and see.” Now is the time to prepare for this growing opportunity. If your work involves building automation and lighting controls, you are well on your way.
With the Institute of Electric Efficiency reporting more than 36 million smart meters installed from 2007 through May 2012 and a target of 65 million by 2015, it appears that smart meters are here to stay.
On most distribution networks (except maybe in rural areas), the voltage levels typically reduce to a couple of percentage points from nominal when the sun rises, people wake up and they start using more electricity. Conversely, as the sun sets, the voltage creeps back up, and by 10 p.m.