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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Category: Transmission/Distribution


Marijuana Grow Houses Trigger 7 Summer Outages for Pacific Power

Utility Dive, Nov. 6, 2015, by Robert Walton.

"Pacific Power is urging would-be home growers to consult with the utility before starting up their marijuana operations, same as they should any time a customer intends to significantly increase their power load."

Controlling Networks of Microgrids Over the Industrial Internet

Solar Industry, Oct. 2015, by Lynne Canavan.

"The application of existing technologies to energy distribution will enable real-time control of renewable energy sources. With the introduction of smart power grids, all sectors of the energy industry are on the verge of a seismic shift. The enabling technologies of big data, data analytics and predictive maintenance are creating the industrial Internet that will make renewable energy assets responsive to demands in near real time."

WSU to Help Improve Cyber Security in Energy Delivery

WSU News, Oct. 12, 2015, by Tina Hilding.

"Washington State University will participate in a new, five-year $28.1 million U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) initiative to improve computer/communication networks for energy delivery systems like power grids and pipelines."

Energy Storage: Changing the Game, Changing the Grid

Public Power, Sep./Oct. 2015, by Paul Clampoli and Laura D'Alessandro.

"Energy storage is emerging as a jack-of-all-trades resource. It's essential to renewable generation proliferation, the backbone of the smartphone decade, and the technology behind peak-shaving, grid-shoring, and other ancillary services. It also holds the key to the future grid, but there are still some obstacles standing in its way."

Smart Grid Trailblazers Identify Future Needs through the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project

Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) Bulletin, Sep. 2015, by Tim Ledbetter.

"The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, a five-year effort to advance knowledge and understanding of smart grid approaches and technologies, concluded earlier this year. But the project's outcomes are expected to inform smart grid deployment well into the future."

Searching for Equilibrium: How to Achieve It In the Era of Distributed Energy

Public Utilities Fortnightly, Aug. 2015, by David J. O'Brien.

"Over the decades of state regulation of distribution utilities, we have seen prominent structural changes - independent power and restructuring - that have altered the basis of the regulatory bargain. Today we stand at another critical point: where the structural underpinnings of the regulatory compact have shifted and a state of disequilibrium exists."

Landmark Northwest Study Reveals Smart Grid Pros and Cons

Public Power Daily, July 20, 2015, by Elisa Wood.

"A recently completed $178-million Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project led by Battelle demonstrated that smart grids are more efficient and resilient, according to a project report. The demonstration project was the largest of 16 smart grid demonstration projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The effort encompassed more than 60,000 metered customers, many of them served by public power utilities in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming."

Includes links to an Executive Summary and the full report.

Deploy Grid Energy Storage Using Best Practices From Existing Installations

Solar Industry, June 2015, by Chris Thompson.

"...there are several commonalities between solar and grid-tied storage, and important lessons from the solar industry provide substantial guidance in energy storage application. Performance, pricing and packaging are the 'three Ps' of storage project deployment, derived from our direct experience in both solar and storage project deployment over the last few years."

Seattle City Light to Test 'Self-Healing' Power Line

Public Power Weekly, May 4, 2015, by Jeannine Anderson.

"Starting this fall, Seattle City Light in Washington will begin testing automated switching technology that is designed to speed the restoration of service when a power line is damaged. A pilot project using these “self-healing” power lines is part of a larger effort to build a smarter and more resilient grid in Seattle. The equipment, which is being installed on two of the municipal utility’s feeder lines, is expected to be in operation before the Seattle storm season begins in September."

How Utilities and Policymakers Can Maintain and Boost Renewable Energy's Value

Utility Dive, May 7, 2015, by Herman K. Trabish.

"Grid operators have overcome the technical barriers to integrating 30% solar PV or 40% wind on their systems. Now only the economics stand in the way, as the value of renewables to utilities can change, and often declines, as their penetrations increase. But, new research shows that barrier could be ready to crumble as well."
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