Electric Utilities Prepare for a Grid Dominated by Renewable Energy

Julia Pyper for GTM:   A growing number of electric industry leaders agree that it’s only a matter of time before renewable energy resources dominate their grid systems. In California, it’s already a reality, said Steve Berberich, president and CEO of California Independent System Operator Corporation. On a typical day, CAISO will pull about 30,000 megawatts of energy production, with around 6,500 megawatts from solar, 5,000 megawatts from wind and another 5,000 from geothermal and other services on the system. In addition, California’s grid system has roughly 4,000 megawatts of behind-the-meter solar, which is growing at a rate of about 70 megawatts per month. In any given day, California gets more than 30 percent its electricity from renewable energy. On many days that amount climbs to 40 percent, and on some days renewables reach 50 percent, said Berberich. “Now we have to think about the system as a renewable energy-based system complemented by other things,” he said, speaking at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention this week in Chicago.   Cont'd...

Virtual Power Plants Get Around Solar Power's Intermittency Problem

Richard Martin for MIT Technology Review:  Attempting to harness the power of distributed rooftop solar installations to make its grid more flexible and reliable, New York utility Consolidated Edison is launching a pilot program this summer to link dozens of small solar arrays into a single, software-connected power plant. The utility is working with solar power developer SunPower and energy storage company Sunverge to create a “virtual power plant”—a network of distributed assets that functions as a unified resource on the grid. The project will include 300 homes with a combined total of 1.8 megawatts of solar capacity and batteries that can store up to four megawatt-hours of electricity, enough to run 300 average U.S. households for about 10 hours.   Cont'd...

GE's North American Studies Show No Hard Limit to Renewables on a Grid System

New GE Interactive Infographic Features Key Findings from U.S.-Based Renewable Integration Studies. Insights from WWSIS, Hawaii Wind & Solar and PJM Studies Could Help Utilities Prepare for Integrating More Renewables on Global Grids

Smarter Grid Solutions to Demonstrate Massive Clean Energy Deployment on a Smart Campus in NREL INTEGRATE project

Smarter Grid Solutions is deploying a fully-operational Active Network Management system in North America as part of its ongoing work under the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) 'Integrated Network Testbed for Energy Grid Research and Technology Experimentation' (INTEGRATE) project. The three phase project demonstrates how to increase electric grid hosting capacity for Distributed Energy Resources (DER).

eMotorWerks Announces a Universal Adapter That Converts Any Level 2 EV Charging Station into a Smart Charging Station

JuicePlug will enable smart-grid control of any third-party EV charging station and expand company's popular rewards program that pays EV drivers for charging their vehicle

Can Smart Grids Solve India's Energy Woes? India Smart Grid Week to Offer Answers

Supported by the Ministries of Power, New & Renewable Energy and Science & Technology, India Smart Grid Week is an initiative to find smart solutions to India's energy needs

Pika Energy Completes $2.25 Million of $3.1 Million Series A Preferred Stock Offering Equity Financing

The leading power electronics firm will commercialize proprietary direct current technology to enable highly efficient, cost effective distributed "nanogrids"

India Smart Grid Week: Conference to discuss Potential of Smart Grids Towards Resolving India's Energy Crises

Supported by the Ministries of Power, New & Renewable Energy and Science & Technology, India Smart Grid Week is an initiative to find smart solutions to India's energy needs

SEPA statement on DOE Grid Modernization funds

Statement from Julia Hamm, President and CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), on the Department of Energy's announcement of $18 million in funding for grid modernization projects.

Smart Meters - Improved Battery Life

The battery lifetime calculation made at the beginning of a smart meter's deployment project may be impacted by the software upgrades or the increased frequency of index emissions.

Solar Power Thrives In Chile, No Subsidies Needed

William Pentland, Contributor for Forbes:  In Chile’s most recent power auction, the bids from solar project developers came in at between $65 and $68 per megawatt hour (MWh) were considerably more competitive than bids made by coal plants, which were priced at $85 per MWh. Solar power projects were awarded the lion’s share of the 1,200 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity contracts sold. Chile boasts one of the world’s biggest solar resources. High electricity prices and strong demand from Chile’s mining industry have driven demand growth for solar, especially large scale commercial or utility projects. The total installed solar capacity in Chile increased from less than 4 MW in 2013 to more than 220 MW last year. Nearly 1 GW of solar is projected to be installed in Chile in 2015. Meanwhile, a total of about 8 GW of solar power projects have been approved for development in Chile. First Solar and SunEdison are two of the biggest U.S. solar companies active in Chile.   Cont'd...

As California Rolls Out More Solar Power, Regulators Could Undercut The Industry

Ken Silverstein for Forbes:  The fall season is kicking off a sizzling solar power debate in California and one that has the potential to undercut the state’s climate mission. Utility regulators there are in discussions over how to balance the interest of rooftop solar generators with the utilities on which they will still depend. Just how those hearings are resolved with have implications for the rollout of renewable energy not just in California but also around the country. At issue is something called “net metering,” which is technical term used to measure the amount of money that rooftop solar generators should get paid relative to retail electricity prices. Utilities, generally, want to offer them the wholesale rate for what they send to them over the grid. Those are expensive wires to maintain and ones that all customers will use, even those who power their homes with solar panels. That’s because the sun is not always shining and the utilities would then have to provide them electricity over their networks. The present net metering rules in California were set a dozen years ago, with the intent that they would expire when solar penetration reached 5 percent at any of three investor-owned utilities: Edison International’s SoCalEd, PG&E Corp. and Sempra Energy, which is nearing the threshold. Generally, those utilities are paying customers the full retail value for their electricity generated and transmitted.  Cont'd...

Wind turbine technology stores excess wind power for when gusts turn to breezes

Megan Treacy for TreeHugger:  A new technology developed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln electrical engineering doctoral student Jie Cheng solves both of those problems by harnessing the excess wind energy usually wasted as spillage and storing it for use when wind speeds dip, making wind turbines more efficient and consistent. Cheng's system converts and directs the extra wind energy to an air compression tank, where the energy is stored until wind speeds dip below the maximum capacity. Using a rotary vane machine that is connected between the turbine's gearbox and generator, excess energy is diverted and stored in the air compression tank. When the wind dies down, the tank then kicks in and reverses airflow back to the rotary vane machine to generate electricity. In a recent study of his prototype, Cheng found that a 250-kW system would produce an additional 3,830 kWh of electricity per week or an additional 16,400 kWh per month based on historical wind data from Springview, Nebraska. That extra electricity is about 18 times the monthly energy use of a typical American household.   Cont'd...

Electricity System Needs New Framework for 2030

Utility-industry working group says California's goals, changing technologies call for new utility business models, new products for customers

ABB and Smart Grid Technology in North Carolina

North Carolina's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS) has encouraged investments in renewables and the energy economy statewide.

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