WASHINGTON--Here at a conference on the utility of the future, the starring players are Google, IBM, Cisco Systems, Intel, and smart grid start-ups. The reason? Data.
Modernizing the grid isn't just about installing more transmissions lines and smart meters. It's a giant information challenge as well, said attendees of consulting firm Kema's Utility of the Future conference here on Thursday.
The heavyweight IT companies are seeking to capitalize on initiatives around the world to upgrade the power infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Energy is expected to soon announce how billions of dollars in stimulus money for … Read more
Duke Energy detailed on Tuesday a smart-grid program that pushes power generation and storage to edge of the transmission network.
The company is testing what it calls a "virtual power plant" at a substation in Charlotte, N.C., that it hopes will allow it to use electricity more efficiently.
The substation--where electricity is distributed to a local neighborhood--is equipped with a 50-kilowatt solar array, enough to supply at least five homes when operating. The 213 solar panels either feed electricity directly to the grid or to a 500-kilowatt zinc bromide battery.
About 100 households in the McAlpine Creek … Read more
If you think the lack of technology is the reason we don't have more wind and solar power, think again.
The National Research Council on Monday published a report that finds that renewable energy sources--wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, and biomass--could supply 10 percent of U.S. electricity supply in 2020 with existing technology. Today, renewable energies excluding hydro power are about 2.5 percent of the U.S. electricity mix.
Getting to 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2035 is possible with sustained policies and investment, it said. To achieve more than 50 percent of electricity generation … Read more
Competition to supply gear to modernize the power grid is heating up as utilities Duke Energy and ComEd named their expected smart grid suppliers on Tuesday.
Duke said that it has chosen Cisco to supply an array of equipment for a planned smart grid program estimated at $1 billion over the next few years. Cisco, which unveiled its smart-grid initiative last month, is expected to supply in-home energy monitors as well as networking hardware for Duke's substations, the utility said.
North Carolina-based Duke aims to provide a digital upgrade to its 11 million customers in the five states it … Read more
Smart-grid company Tendril has raised an additional $30 million in venture funding to expand the reach of its home energy monitoring gear.
VantagePoint Venture Partners on Tuesday announced the series C round for the Boulder, Colo.-based company. The money will be used to grow Tendril's network of manufacturing and distribution partners.
Tendril makes small displays for consumers to see how much electricity a home is consuming. The company also makes software for utilities to run energy-efficiency programs that allow consumers to take advantage of lower rates at off-peak times.
The Tendril displays use Zigbee wireless to connect to … Read more
Trilliant on Thursday said it has acquired SkyPilot Networks to bring broadband wireless networking to utility smart-grid programs. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
The acquisition of SkyPilot Networks, which used to sell municipal Wi-Fi systems, will allow Trilliant to offer utilities a way to build a private broadband network, according to company executives.
So-called smart meters have a communications link back to utilities, which use that information to getter understanding of changes in demand to run the transmission grid more efficiently. Trilliant supplies radio communications cards that go into meters and software for utilities to run these networks.
To carry … Read more
Updated at 9:25 a.m. PT with comments from San Diego Gas & Electric.
Google has signed on smart-meter manufacturer Itron and eight utilities to offer Google's PowerMeter Web service for monitoring home energy use.
PowerMeter reads a home's electricity meter and gives the consumer a detailed readout of usage. The idea is that a better understanding of electricity usage--presented via daily trends and data on individual appliances--will help people figure out how to cut consumption.
Google's home energy-monitoring software relies on meters, or add-on devices, that can communicate usage information back to utilties. In a … Read more
"If we were to sum this up in a bumper sticker, it would say something like: 'America, the U.S. military gave you the Hummer. Now we're taking it back."
Dennis McGinn, a retired vice admiral in the Navy and former commander of the U.S. Third Fleet, spoke those words Monday during a teleconference.
McGinn is on the military advisory board of the not-for-profit Center for Naval Analyses. The group issued a report (PDF) on Monday, stating the U.S. military must, as a matter of national security, work to reduce its dependence not just on … Read more
Cisco knows a bit about building networks and it sees a $100 billion market opportunity in the smart grid.
The company, whose networking gear is installed in all corners of the Internet, on Monday will announce its intention to make communications equipment for the electricity grid--everything from routers in grid substations to home energy controllers. CEO John Chambers is scheduled to discuss Cisco's smart-grid push Monday morning at a JP Morgan conference in Boston.