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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


Going Solar: Options Abound for Co-ops Committed to Harnessing the Sun

Rural Electric Magazine, June 2015, by Cathy Cash.

"Co-op creativity is on display in trail-blazing integrations of  PV systems."

How to Make the Utility of the Future an Energy-Efficient One: New ACEEE Report Series

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), June 10, 2015, by Maggie Molina. "Utilities have traditionally earned profits by simply selling more energy and building more power plants and infrastructure, which put their financial motivations squarely at odds with the goal of greater energy efficiency. Luckily, that business model has started to change, which is good news for the nation’s economy, environment, and for consumers who want more options for saving energy in their homes and businesses. With the proper regulatory tools in place, utilities’ financial motivations can be aligned with energy efficiency outcomes. ACEEE has been researching this issue for years, and today we are releasing a series of three new reports on a range of topics related to utility business models and energy efficiency." 1) Policies Matter: Creating a Foundation for an Energy-Efficient Utility of the Future 2) Beyond Carrots for Utilities: A Nat ... Read the rest of entry »

Key Drivers for Energy Storage Adoption: Distributing Reliable, High-Quality Power With a Range of Resources

North American Clean Energy, May/June 2015, by Chris Thompson.

"There is substantial buzz surrounding grid-tied energy storage. But what are the drivers for grid-tied storage today? There are key industry trends propelling the adoption of energy storage technology, including: increased renewables penetration, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders, battery prices, and state mandates. The overall benefits of storage have evolved over the past few years, and grid-tied energy storage will continue to be an important consideration for the future of the grid."

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."

NREL Highlights 2014 Utility Green Power Leaders

National Renewable Energy Laboratory New Release, May 2015.

"The Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its assessment of leading utility green power programs. Using information provided by utilities, NREL has developed "Top 10" rankings of utility green power programs for 2014 in the following categories: total sales of renewable energy to program participants, total number of customer participants, the percentage of customer participation, and green power sales as a percentage of total utility retail electricity sales."

Distributed Power’s Rising Importance for U.S. Electrical Infrastructure

Power Magazine, May 2015, by Devon Manz and others.

"Renewable generation may be the most talked-about form of distributed power these days. However, historically, engine- and turbine-based smaller-scale generation—strategically located where needed by loads or for grid support—has supplied valuable distributed power. For many reasons, the roles for distributed power provided by rotating and reciprocating equipment continue to increase."

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."

Demand Response Pilot Launched [Energy Northwest & BPA]

BPA Journal, May 2015. -- scroll to page 3 of the PDF.

"Energy Northwest and BPA have integrated an additional demand response resource into the Energy Northwest Aggregation Demonstration project that went live Feb. 9. The system, which is the first of its kind in the region, will help BPA test balancing loads on its Northwest transmission grid through industrial resource partners."

Batteries Are Carving Out Space on the Grid

Power Magazine, May 2015, by Thomas W. Overton.

"Falling prices and technological improvements have brought battery storage systems into direct competition with traditional distributed generation, demand response, and peaking generation resources. But making one work efficiently and profitably is not just plug and play."

Centralized & Decentralized PV Power Plants: Vendor Perspectives

SolarPro, Mar/Apr 2015, by Joe Schwartz.

"As the capacity of utility-scale PV plants has increased in the US, so has the capacity of the centralized power-conditioning units used in these projects. Today, many plants utilize factory-integrated skids that combine inverters, medium-voltage transformers and switchgear into packages that range in capacity from 1 MW to 2.5 MW. These integrated systems offer project developers many advantages, including optimized component compatibility, as well as reduced installation time and expense."


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