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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


The Top 10 Utility Regulatory Commission Issues of 2016

Utility Dive, Nov. 28, 2016, by Krysti Shallenberger.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/the-top-10-utility-regulatory-commission-issues-of-2016/431164/

"From rate design to grid modernization and storage, state utility regulators had their hands full in 2016."

How Spokane Is Building a Smart City From the Grid Out, With Transactive Energy Included

GreenTech Media, Nov. 14, 2016, by Jeff St. John.
https://www.greentechmedia.com/squared/read/how-spokane-is-building-a-smart-city-from-the-ground-up-with-transactive-en

"Spokane, a city of some 210,000 people in the foothills of eastern Washington state, is not the first place that comes to mind when one thinks about cutting-edge smart city deployments, or the latest efforts in transactive energy. But utility Avista and smart metering giant Itron want it to earn its place on that map."

A 'Turning Point' for DERs? Utilities, Vendors Praise New NARUC Rate Design Manual

Utility Dive, Nov. 17, 2016, by Herman K. Trabish.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/a-turning-point-for-ders-utilities-vendors-praise-new-naruc-rate-design/430621/

"Distributed energy resources remain a small part of most utilities' fuel mixes, but that could be transformed by a new manual about how utilities can use them. If electric utility regulators follow the recommendations for how to design rates and compensate distributed energy resources (DER), utilities and DER providers could together transform these new technologies from solely customer-serving resources into providers of services to the larger grid. "

Energy Efficiency Financing: Barriers and Opportunities in the Small Utility Market

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Nov. 1, 2016, by Christine Grant and Patrick Keegan.
http://neea.org/docs/default-source/reports/energy-efficiency-financing-barriers-and-opportunities-in-the-small-utility-market.pdf

"High upfront costs and a lack of easily accessible financing are commonly cited as the key barriers to investments in energy efficiency (EE). If designed and implemented optimally, EE financing can be an important tool for catalyzing EE market transformation."

Oregon Utility Targets Energy Efficiency, Demand Response [PGE]

Utility Dive, Nov. 17, 2016, by Robert Walton.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/oregon-utility-targets-energy-efficiency-demand-response/430645/

"Portland General Electric has filed its 2016 Integrated Resource Plan with the Oregon Public Utility Commission, outlining a strategy that focuses on energy efficiency and customer-side demand response, in the next four years, while also leaning on natural gas to replace coal."

How Residential Utility Programs Could Reach More Diverse Households

ACEEE, Nov. 13, 2016, by Marti Frank.
http://aceee.org/blog/2016/11/how-residential-utility-programs

"Many energy efficiency programs are designed around measures rather than people. These “untargeted” programs focus on meeting energy savings and cost-effectiveness goals, and are ostensibly impartial about the characteristics of the households that receive the offering. Our new examination of program demographics shows how, in practice, untargeted programs often limit participant diversity."

9 Subtleties of Grid Storage Revealed

The Energy Collective, Oct. 28, 2016, by Xavier Moreau.
http://www.theenergycollective.com/xmoreau/2391089/9-subtleties-of-grid-storage-revealed

"Storing MWh of electricity in a battery at grid scale is not trivial because it requires a set of connected equipment and software that operate together: battery cells, power electronics, sensors, fire protection, telecommunication, relays, switchgears, controlling computer and software to name a few. Furthermore this system must be optimized along four dimensions: energy (quantity of electricity to be stored, i.e. MWh), power (flow of electricity, i.e. MW), chemistry (how electrons will actually be withheld, e.g. LiOn), and usage (charging/discharging cycles and ageing patterns over system life time)."

PUD Invests $11.2 Million in Energy-Storing Units [SnoPUD]

HeraldNet, Nov. 2, 2016, by Dan Catchpole.
http://www.heraldnet.com/news/pud-invests-in-11-2-million-in-energy-storing-units/

"Don’t be deceived: They look like shipping containers. But the rows of massive metal boxes could contain the utility industry’s future. At least, that’s the hope of officials at the Snohomish County Public Utility District, which is installing a huge battery system near downtown Everett. The district’s goal for the $11.2 million project is to make energy storage cheaper and more flexible for utilities."

Behavior Change Programs: Status and Impact

ACEEE, Oct. 2016, by Reuven Sussman and Maxine Chikumbo.
http://aceee.org/sites/default/files/publications/researchreports/b1601.pdf

"Behavior change programs are becoming a common method for reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency. But what types of programs are out there, why do they work (or fail to work), and how effective are they? This report updates the 2013 ACEEE Field Guide to Utility-Run Behavior Change Programs, with new program evaluations, an analysis of major behavior change strategies, and a focus on programs with evaluated energy savings."

Scaling Up Participation and Savings in Residential Retrofits

ACEEE, Oct. 12, 2016, by Rachel Cluett and Jennifer Amann.
http://aceee.org/sites/default/files/publications/researchreports/a1605.pdf

"Whole home retrofits aim to address the biggest residential energy issues. Their number has grown in recent years along with contractor and program experience in delivering successful retrofits. However the demand for these programs and their participation rates have not grown as much, and many of them fail to capture the full range of available savings. This report explores the challenges faced by home retrofit programs and describes the best strategies for improving project-level realization rates."
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