Energy-efficiency programs have been a part of electric-utility operations for a decade or more, since state utility commissions began valuing the kilowatt-hours saved (aka negawatts) as an alternative to the new generation capacity they could potentially displace.
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.
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.
In the last year or so, electric-utility industry followers have been hearing about the “disruptive force” of distributed generation—how the growing number of solar panels sprouting on rooftops could be upending utility business models.
We’ve gotten used to our local electric utilities asking us to ease up on the air conditioning and turn off unneeded lights during hot summer months. In the Northeast (especially New England), those requests are becoming even more urgent in the winter.
With old-school, electromechanical dial-based electricity meters rapidly going the way of the rotary-dial telephone, it won’t be long before “smart meters” are called, simply, “meters.” Otherwise known as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), digital meters have rolled out by the millions over the
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.
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.