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Author: Eric Hsieh

California Gets the Smart Grid: Lead the Country without Going Alone

California Gets the Smart Grid: Lead the Country without Going Alone

At last week’s Smart Grid Symposium, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) invited several industry representatives to provide insights on smart grid systems. From their opening statements, Commissioners Chong and Grueneich clearly understand how not to compound the difficulty of system integration. Chong held the symposium because she felt it was “important for the main players [for the smart grid] in California to hear the national perspective.” Speakers from NIST, EPRI, NEMA and other Read more [...]
CT Proposes Tax Regulation for Voltage Regulation, Rest of World Scratches Head

CT Proposes Tax Regulation for Voltage Regulation, Rest of World Scratches Head

In what could potentially be the most confusing double uses of the term "regulation," the Connecticut Senate Energy and Technology Committee advanced a bill last week to provide tax benefits for voltage regulation devices. The concept is sound: air conditioners, fans, and refrigerators run more efficiently at their design voltage than when the voltage sags, as in a brownout. Intuitively, if the grid provides the proper voltage, end devices run efficiently. What’s not intuitive is how a Read more [...]
Google Finishes Indexing Internet, Moves to Energy

Google Finishes Indexing Internet, Moves to Energy

Having dominated the landscape of internet searches, Google is now flexing its algorithmic prowess in the energy sector. As reported yesterday in the New York Times, Google is beta testing its new PowerMeter, a tool that lets end users monitor their energy consumption on a real-time basis. While NEMA’s smart meter manufacturers already provide this capability, Google’s effort provides access to a much wider pool of consumers and potential advertisers. Given the company’s marketing skills, it might Read more [...]
$68.5 Billion in Stimulus for Grid-Related Projects

$68.5 Billion in Stimulus for Grid-Related Projects

Now that the house has sent its version of the stimulus to the Senate, we at NEMA have been able to take a closer look at how the various programs will assist the electroindustry. I estimate that about 30 programs will get $68.5b in the form of direct grants, loan guarantees, or tax incentives, as shown in the chart above. From Energy Star to Transportation Electrification, the will be a marked increase in government support at all levels.   This chart shows the same pot of money, now split Read more [...]
The Open Source Smart Grid

The Open Source Smart Grid

At the Department of Energy Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration Peer Review last week, dozens of DoE grant recipients showed the public what they've been doing with our tax dollars. One of the more innovative projects was GridLAB-D, an open-source platform to test new smart grid techniques. This extensible platform will allow people to answer questions such as, how might a new demand response programs change reliability characteristics of the Mid-Atlantic grid. The best part of the Read more [...]
FERC Boosts Advanced Transmission Technologies

FERC Boosts Advanced Transmission Technologies

In one of the first cases to explicitly consider the use of advanced transmission technologies, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a 135 basis point rate adder for incorporation of an underground HVDC line, fiber-optic cables, and static var compensators into the proposed New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) line. FERC found that the NYRI met a “nexus test” of scope, need, and challenge that merited an increase in rate recovery, and that the project utilized advanced technologies Read more [...]
The technology bridge for wind energy transmission

The technology bridge for wind energy transmission

Yesterday’s New York Times wrote about how the demand for wind generation is exceeding the transmission required to deliver that energy. While the article is correct that more wind can be integrated without new technology, intelligent systems (all part of the smart grid) could act as a bridge during the years to decades required to propose, permit, and construct a new transmission line. Advanced technology can make more efficient use of existing facilities and corridors. Real-time transmission Read more [...]
After solving nation’s energy problems, DoE moves onto healthcare

After solving nation’s energy problems, DoE moves onto healthcare

I've always felt that my dentist's office was far too air-conditioned for its own good, but who knew that hospitals are some of the most intensive electricity consumers? Certainly makes sense for the DoE to help improve the efficiency (and lower the operating costs) of our health care facilities. The EnergySmart Hospitals program is a perfect example of a collaborative approach, helping one industry with the expertise of another. I'm holding out for the day we can reverse direction and Read more [...]
The NARUC Meetings – Monday Report

The NARUC Meetings – Monday Report

During the opening session, Nancy Brockway from the National Regulatory Research Institute probably had the takeaway line. She noted that regulations are not the best way to incorporate novel technologies. While she did not have a prescriptive solution, she cautioned the audience to look behind the curtain of technology proposals. At the afternoon session on energy efficiency, EPRI summarized a study of various scenarios for CO2 costs and carbon capture technology. What is notable is that regardless Read more [...]
The NARUC Meetings – Live from Portland

The NARUC Meetings – Live from Portland

The National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC) is holding its summer meetings this week in Portland, Oregon. These are the state officials that approve electricity rates we all pay, as well as the infrastructure investments utilities can make. Given the heightened attention our nation is giving to energy, these meetings have taken on a sense of solemn urgency. Apparent already in the sessions is that there will be no easy answers. Quick recap from Sunday: FERC has a state-by-state Read more [...]