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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


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."

A Method to Estimate the Costs and Benefits of Undergrounding Electricity Transmission and Distribution Lines

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Oct. 2016, by Peter H. Larsen.
https://emp.lbl.gov/publications/method-estimate-costs-and-benefits

"There has been a general shortfall of peer-reviewed literature identifying methods to estimate the costs and benefits of strategies employed by electric utilities to improve grid resilience. This paper introduces—for the first time—a comprehensive analysis framework to estimate the societal costs and benefits of implementing one strategy to improve power system reliability: undergrounding power transmission and distribution lines. It is shown that undergrounding transmission and distribution lines can be a cost-effective strategy to improve reliability, but only if certain criteria are met before the decision to underground is made."

What Are Microgrids, and Should Utilities Be Afraid of Them?

Solar Industry, Oct. 2016, by Geoff Sparrow.
http://www.solarindustrymag.com/online/issues/SI1610/FEAT_03_What-Are-Microgrids-Of-Them.html

"The emerging technology could serve as an asset for grid modernization and the transition to cleaner power."

Liftoff for Drones: New Law Frees Co-ops To Begin Operational Drone Use

Rural Electric Magazine, Sept. 2016, by John Vanvig.
http://remagazine.coop/faa-drone-laws-allow-co-op-use/

"With technological constraints and regulatory uncertainties slowing their takeoff, utility UAS use has languished. But thanks to a recently signed federal law allowing their use by utilities, rapid advances in range and data-handling capabilities, and the public’s becoming more comfortable with UAS presence, experts expect UAS deployments to soar."

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