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).
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.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a report that promised to shake up the broadband world. To some extent, the report, “Measuring Broadband America,” provided results that weren’t very surprising but still good to see on paper.
In mid-July, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) placed the last two transmission lines, both from Widows Creek Fossil Plant, back in service 74 days after sustaining unprecedented damage due to severe storms and tornadoes in April on its power transmission system.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Verizon signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that could lead to the development of innovative ways to reduce energy use in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry.
In late July, utilities across the country issued notices to their customers, pleading with them to minimize energy use during the projected heat wave—a prolonged period in which every state in the country broke heat records.
Nuclear power lobbyists may have influence in Washington, D.C., but they seem to be getting knocked out at the state legislative level. So far in 2011, the nuclear power industry has a record of zero wins and six losses in Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
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.
Black & Veatch, a consultancy company, evaluated a one-year smart meter pilot program for ComEd, the Chicago-area utility. They found customers of the utility could save $2.8 billion on their electric bills over the 20-year life of a smart meter.