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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: Utilities

Utilities


Could Reducing Peak Demand 5% Be As Simple As ... Asking?

Utility Dive, Nov. 4, 2014, by Robert Walton.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/could-reducing-peak-demand-5-be-as-simple-as-asking/329102/

"A pilot program completed over the summer turned up this: When utilities asked customers to turn down the thermostat, they did it. Power providers looking to leverage the benefits of demand response face a big challenge—only about 5% of U.S. households participate in demand response programs. There are a variety of reasons, ranging from the time and difficulty in studying and getting demand response programs approved to ratepayer confusion over dynamic pricing. And while more coordinated, price-oriented and opt-in programs will show deeper savings on a per-meter basis, demand response provider Opower's [Michigan] work in so-called "behavioral demand response" is challenging the traditional route to demand response savings."

The Fight Over Solar Moves from Net Metering to Rate Design

Utility Dive, Nov. 3, 2014, by Herman K. Trabish.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/the-fight-over-solar-moves-from-net-metering-to-rate-design/327742/

"Fights over electricity rates are brewing all across the country. Utilities say new rate proposals will protect customers who haven’t moved to solar and energy efficiency. But those who have moved say the proposals only protect utilities." "There are two categories of rate restructuring and rate design changes bubbling up,” explained Environmental Law & Policy Center Sr. Attorney Brad Klein. “The first is to move cost recovery from the variable per-kilowatt-hour charge and increase the monthly fixed charge. The other is to impose a monthly dollars-per-kilowatt charge on owners of distributed generation.”

Preparing for Distributed Generation in the Northwest

Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) Bulletin, Oct. 2014, by Charlie Black. (open PDF, then scroll or jump to page 26)
http://www.nwppa.org/External/WCPages/WCWebContent/WebContentPage.aspx?ContentID=1928

"In recent years, electric utility customers have begun showing greater interest in distributed generation. Declining costs and expanding availability of on-site electric generating systems, such as roof-mounted solar photovoltaic equipment marketed and installed by third-party service providers, are causing residential and business customers to consider self-supply as an attractive alternative to relying exclusively on centrally generated power delivered via the utility grid."

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell': How Utilities are Powering the Marijuana Industry

Utility Dive, Oct. 23, 2014, by Robert Walton.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/dont-ask-dont-tell-how-utilities-are-powering-the-marijuana-industry/322565/

"Marijuana—legal or otherwise—requires a lot of power to produce. And in the Pacific Northwest, utilities are now facing the complicated task of efficiently meeting that demand while navigating a set of opposing laws."

Smart Grid Provides Power Bridge to Fox Island [WA]

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Newsroom, Oct. 8, 2014.
http://www.bpa.gov/news/newsroom/Pages/Smart-grid-fills-critical-need-on-Fox-Island.aspx

A PNW Smart Grid Demonstration Project success story:
"The goal of the demonstration project is to test how new technologies can integrate renewable energy and improve reliability for grid operators while lowering the costs of energy for consumers. Led by Battelle Northwest, the Department of Energy Recovery Act project involved 11 utilities, five technology partners and two universities across five states in the nation’s largest test to modernize the grid. DOE matched the funds of participants, including the Bonneville Power Administration’s $10 million contribution. PenLight [Penisnula Light Co.] invested $1.2 million in the $178 million cost-share project."

Building a Stronger Grid

Electric Perspectives, Sept./Oct. 2014, by Elisa Wood.
http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=223729&p=34

"Utilities are investing billions of dollars in the nation's transmission system to improve reliability, relieve congestion, facilitate competition, and support a diverse and changing generation portfolio."


Batteries Set To Put Big Charge Into Energy Storage

Engineering News-Record (ENR), Sept. 22-29, 2014, by Thomas F. Armistead.
http://enr.construction.com/infrastructure/power_industrial/2014/0929-Batteries-Set-To-Put-Big-Charge-Into-Energy-Storage.asp

"A surge of energy is flowing into energy storage. Tesla Motors' Sept. 4 announcement that named Nevada the winner of a five-state competition to host its planned gigafactory added momentum to a market for which Lux Research LLC forecasts 8% compounded annual growth, to a global value of $50 billion, by 2020. Tesla's $4-billion plant outside Reno will produce batteries for the automotive market and the grid. According to market research firm IHS, the 2013 energy-storage installation of 340 MW will grow to 6,000 MW by 2017 and to more than 40,000 MW by 2022."

Financial Impacts of Net-Metered PV on Utilities and Ratepayers: A Scoping Study of Two Prototypical U.S. Utilities

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sept. 2014, by Andrew Satchwell, and others.
http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/LBNL%20PV%20Business%20Models%20Report_no%20report%20number%20(Sept%2025%20revision).pdf

"A new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) that examines the potential impacts of customer-sited photovoltaics (PV) on electric utility profitability and rates. The report shows that these impacts can vary greatly depending upon the specific circumstances of the utility. The report also examines measures that could be pursued by utilities and regulators to mitigate the financial impacts."

State Compliance Options [for Carbon Reduction] under EPA's Clean Power Plan

Sustainability: The Journal of Record, Aug. 2014, by Kate Swayne Wilson and others.
http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/SUS.2014.9779

"While the ruling is not without opposition, many stakeholders were relieved to find that it [the Clean Power Plan] offers flexibility for each state to achieve its assigned carbon reduction target, and that states and utilities will be able to build on initiatives already in place."

Snohomish PUD Tidal Power Project Not to Advance

Snohomish (WA) PUD Press Release, Sept. 30, 2014.
http://www.snopud.com/newsroom.ashx?p=1102&173_na=276

"Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) today announced it will no longer pursue its pilot tidal energy research project in Admiralty Inlet, west of Whidbey Island."
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The Energy Newsbriefs Blog is a continuation of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs. Please bookmark this site and return frequently. Although we will not be accepting comments from within the Blog, we would be happy to hear from you by email at library@energy.wsu.edu

Archives of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs, from Oct. 2012 – Jan. 6, 2014, may be found on the WSU Energy Library web page.