Throughout history, military technology has evolved into far-flung and highly useful civilian applications. The Humvee notwithstanding, consumers have benefitted in many ways from technology that was first applied on the battlefield.
You could call it utility-scale renewables 3.0. The previous two phases focused on getting large solar arrays and wind farms up and running (1.0) and then boosting their output (2.0). Today, developers are looking beyond just adding more rows of panels or bigger turbines to their plans.
With the ability to turn off lights during peak-demand periods, demand-response (DR) programs offer a number of advantages for larger commercial and industrial electric-utility customers. These benefits can include utility incentive payments and, of course, lower electricity bills.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s new “Annual Energy Outlook 2014” predicts that below-average annual increases in U.S. electric generating capacity will occur through 2040; most new capacity will be natural gas-fired facilities.
In the utility sector, not many issues cause industry stakeholders more anxiety than the aging infrastructure and continuously increasing demand. Around the country, utilities are investing heavily to keep up with degradation and power-hungry consumers.
Less than one year after raising the ire of solar-power advocates by imposing feed-in tariffs on homeowners with rooftop installations, the Arizona Public Service Co. has come up with a completely different proposal that is likely to generate just as much opposition.
Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have developed an organic, rechargeable battery that could be scaled up for use in power plants, making the energy grid more resilient and efficient by creating large-scale capacity to store energy for use as needed.
In January 2013, the Edison Electric Institute—the leading advocacy group of the investor-owned utility industry—released a report predicting “significant future disruption to the utility business model,” thanks to growing adoption of distributed generation resources.
As in any industry, the landscape of utilities is always changing. Part of this dynamic is fueled by the need for big companies to strengthen their positions and maximize profits. Those same motives fueled a recent acquisition that produced a new giant among the nation’s electric utilities.
Power management company Eaton recently released its 2013 Blackout Tracker Annual Report. For the fifth year, California topped the list of states with the most power outages, followed by Texas and Michigan.