The headquarters for Burbank (Calif.) Water and Power (BWP) has slowly transformed into a green campus. The effort involved repurposing some of the utility’s decaying old facilities, which, in some cases, were more than 100 years old.
One of renewable energy sources’ biggest challenges is the intermittency of power generation. Finding a way to store power for later use helps make renewables more practical for tying into the grid where demand does not always coincide with the wind or the rising sun.
Electric utilities, especially those owned by investors, are odd ducks in our capitalistic society. Because they are state-sanctioned monopolies, their profits are regulated by public utilities commissions (PUCs).
Most utility reserve margins are adequate to meet peak demands. That is the assessment of the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) as the nation has hit the summer months in which heat can strain supplies.
Strict regulations to limit the toxic air emissions from coal-fired plants in the United States are working. Many utilities striving to meet these tighter standards are finding they can’t afford the high costs of upgrades and retrofits to their aging facilities.
U.S. electric utilities are installing huge numbers of advanced electric meters across the country. These devices promise to enable new demand-response and time-of-use pricing schedules and improve overall distribution system performance.
In the long-running battle for the nation’s energy soul between green power and fossil fuels, victories are taken in measure. Despite their emergent success in recent years, renewables still have a long way to go to become the predominant power source.
As the global population grows and its energy use expands, consumers, policy-makers and utilities look to city leadership for models of effective program planning, design and implementation that help tackle the challenges that accompany expansion.
Business still may be slow for many electrical contractors, with much of the construction industry remaining in the doldrums, but electrical pros specializing in major transmission work are experiencing a boom.
In February, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved licenses to build two new nuclear reactors on the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant site in Burke County, Ga. They are the first new licenses the NRC has approved in more than three decades.
It could be argued that the potential for success of a particular innovation can be measured by its effect on the existing technology operating around it. If that’s the case, then smart meters are here to stay.
Looking to cut back on your energy use? Try watering the grass a day or two less each week. And you say water efficiency is becoming more important to you? Try turning off a few lights and setting back the air conditioning.
It’s a generally accepted belief that people tend to be wary of things that are unfamiliar to them, so it would make sense this behavior would extend to the smart grid and smart meters, a relatively new trend in an industry on which most consumers are not educated.