By - Jim Vess

Demand response programs providing U.S. utilities with 18.3 gigawatts of capacity

Energize Weekly, November 28, 2018 The demand response programs of the major U.S. utilities, designed to reduce peak demand, tallied 18.3 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2017, with more than half of it dispatchable, according to an industry survey. The 2018 Utility Demand Response Market Snapshot, which covers 155 utilities, with about 62 percent of the country’s utility customers, was

By - Jim Vess

New York set to spend $250 million on a statewide EV charging program

Energize Weekly, November 28, 2018 New York State plans to spend $250 million by 2025 on electric vehicle (EV) charging stations—the first step broad program to promote EVs as part of a plan to cut carbon emissions. The New York Power Authority announced it would install 200 charging stations under the plan’s first phase and the authority said it had

By - Jim Vess

AEP’s $33 billion capital improvement plan focuses on transmission and distribution

Energize Weekly, November 21, 2018 American Electric Power (AEP) is planning to invest $33 billion in capital projects between 2019 and 2023 with three-quarters of the money focused on transmission and distribution, the company said. The company will also spend $2.7 billion on renewable generation and another $2.2 billion on competitively bid contracted renewable projects. “AEP’s capital investments over the

By - Jim Vess

Cannabis industry drives growing electricity demand, expected to soar with increased legalization

Energize Weekly, October 31, 2018 The legal cannabis industry in the U.S. is becoming a big energy consumer, using 1.1 million megawatts-hours a year—enough to power 92,500 homes— with consumption projected to grow by 162 percent between 2017 and 2002, according to a study by New Frontier Data. “As more states transition from illicit markets to legal medical markets or

By - Jim Vess

Goggle Maps adds EV charging stations around the world to its search

Energize Weekly, October 24, 2018 Google Maps is now a guide to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in countries around the world. A search on Google Maps in the U.S. will show the stations operated by Tesla, ChargePoint, SemaConnect, EVgo and Blink Network. The five companies account for about three-quarters of the more than 21,000 charging stations in the country.

By - Jim Vess

Michigan utilities propose $20 million in programs to boost EV charging stations

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 Michigan’s two largest utilities are proposing electric vehicle (EV) charging programs totaling $20.5 million that would add thousands of stations in the state, according to filings with the Michigan Public Service Commission. Both plans also tie development of residential charging stations to time-of-use rates (TOU) aimed at getting customers to charge their vehicles in off-peak

By - Jim Vess

Dominion Energy offers a $918 million grid modernization plan to Virginia regulators

Energize Weekly, August 1, 2018 Dominion Energy has submitted a $918 million plan to modernize its Virginia grid to state regulators following passage of a new law overhauling utility oversight and investment. The plan seeks to install 1.4 million “smart meters” between 2019 and 2021. An additional 600,000 smart meters would be installed by 2023. A total of 3 gigawatts

By - Jim Vess

Cost of energy efficiency programs vary widely across the U.S., Lawrence Berkeley study finds

Energize Weekly, July 18, 2018 Utilities across the country are investing in energy efficiency programs, and the average cost of saving a kilowatt-hour in these programs is 2.5 cents—though there are sharp regional differences, according to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study. The study is the most comprehensive effort to quantify the costs involved in energy efficiency programs to curb

By - Jim Vess

PG&E proposes world’s largest battery storage project to replace natural gas plants

Energize Weekly, July 11, 2018 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has proposed the world’s largest battery storage project—2.3 gigawatts—to replace three natural gas plants. The San Francisco-based utility filed its request for approval with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which in January had given PG&E a green light to solicit bids for the project. PG&E issued a request for

By - Jim Vess

Utilities spent $3.6 billion on energy efficiency, saving enough electricity to power 2.5 million homes

Energize Weekly, June 27, 2018 U.S utilities reported spending $3.6 billion on energy efficiency incentives for customers in 2016 and saved 27.5 billion kilowatt-hours, enough electricity to power 2.5 million homes for a year, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Nearly half of those funds were directed at commercial customers, while residential energy efficiency programs received 43 percent

By - Jim Vess

Energy storage market posts a decline in the first quarter of 2018, but residential installations were robust

Energize Weekly, June 27, 2018 Quarter-over-quarter the U.S. energy storage market dropped 30 percent to 43.6 megawatts (MW) in the first quarter of 2018 and was down 39 percent compared the same quarter in 2017, according to an industry market report. This was in part due to a large number of utility-scale projects that came online in California in 2017,

By - Jim Vess

U.S. storage set to double in 2018 as market to reach 50,000 megawatts in the future

Energize Weekly, March 14, 2018 The prospects for the U.S. battery storage market, both short and long term, appear strong with capacity doubling in 2018 and reaching as high as 50,000 megawatts (MW), according to new analyses. In 2018, 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of storage is set to be deployed, nearly equal to the 1,080 MWh deployed between 2013 and 2017,

By - Jim Vess

Flexibility & Resiliency in Design for a Smart Feature-Filled Streetscape

By Sandra Scanlon Walk into any given Starbucks across the country, and you’ll probably notice that the majority of patrons have their faces buried in an electronic device. Whether it is a cellular phone, laptop or tablet, we are a 24/7 connected society through myriad forms of technology all around us. As we start to design infrastructure that supports our

By - Jim Vess

Maryland would have nation’s second largest EV charging network under $105 million plan

Energize Weekly, February 7, 2018 The Maryland Public Service Commission is reviewing a plan, proposed by the state’s utility companies, to create a statewide network of 24,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The $105 million “Statewide Electric Vehicle Portfolio” would set up the second-largest charging network in the nation. California has the largest program. Signing on to the proposal were

By - Jim Vess

EV growth may not affect overall residential power demand, but may impact local areas, study finds

Energize Weekly, January 31, 2018 The growth in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will not have a big impact on overall residential power demand, but even one vehicle charging at home could stress a local transformer, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The modeling study using data for 200 Midwest homes found that the while not

By - Jim Vess

Where are the Drones?

By Jim Vess When I first posted about the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), more commonly known as drones, about a year ago, the technology had experienced just limited use. At the time, only ComEd and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) had received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use UASs in a very limited capacity

By - Jim Vess

How Much Does Reliability Cost?

By Jim Vess Just this month the MISO Transmission Expansion Plan 2015 (MTEP15) was approved by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) board of directors. The plan, which represents $2.75 billion in new transmission investment, consists of 345 new projects that will support both reliability needs and congestion relief of the transmission system. The new transmission projects in MTEP15 are

By - Jim Vess

Getting Serious About Cybersecurity

By Jim Vess Threats to the nation’s electric grid will never go away. In the first half of this year, the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) responded to 108 cyber incidents impacting critical infrastructure in the United States, with the energy sector having the most reported incidents. According to ICS-CERT, a third of

By - Jim Vess

Utilities Take Different Approach to Grid Reliability and Peak Demand

By Jim Vess Traditionally when demand for power rises, to maintain system reliability utilities respond by adding generation capacity from so-called “peakers” – typically gas-fired units – which can be brought online relatively quickly. That is relatively quickly when compared to the time required to bring additional baseload generation online. Now some utilities are looking break from tradition by employing

By - Michael Drost

Report: Cyber attack on power grid could cost $1 trillion

Energize Weekly, July 22, 2015 The damage from a hack on the U.S. power grid could cost the nation’s economy more than $1 trillion, according to a new report by insurance market Lloyd’s and the University of Cambridge. The report, titled “Business Blackout”, envisions a “plausible but extreme” scenario where part of the U.S. electrical grid between New York and

By - Michael Drost

Report: Ratemaking subsidies could imperil grid reliability

Energize Weekly, July 15, 2015 A new study released by the Electric Markets Research Foundation says that the concept of affordable and reliable electricity for all might be imperiled due to subsidized ratemaking policies like net-metering, and that failure to mitigate the unintended consequences of integrating distributed generation resources like microgrids and rooftop solar could create a two-tiered electricity system.

By - Michael Drost

New York utilities embrace REV

Energize Weekly, July 1, 2015 A slew of New York utilities, including National Grid, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, and Iberdrola have announced new projects and initiatives to meet or exceed goals outlined in the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), which aims to modernize New York’s grid by increasing the competitiveness of renewable energy resources and by giving customers

By - Michael Drost

Is demand response the key to integrating DER?

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: distributed energy resources (DER) are moving into the mainstream. Not only is the proliferation of DER – solar PV, energy storage, and electric vehicles – becoming self-apparent, they are increasingly becoming integrated with the grid. As a result, utilities are getting hard-pressed to come up with a game plan to deal with the integration

By - Michael Drost

APS completes massive Yuma transmission project

Energize Weekly, June 10, 2015 Arizona Public Service (APS) recently completed its largest transmission project in nearly three decades – a $200 million line between Phoenix and Yuma that will bolster reliability in one of the fastest growing areas in the United States. The 500-kilovolt (kV), 110-mile line, which went operational on May 26, spans from the Hassayampa substation near

By - Michael Drost

ITC completes Thumb Loop transmission project

Energize Weekly, May 20, 2015 ITC Transmission says it has finished the final section of its $510 million “Thumb Loop” transmission line designed to improve wind farm access in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula region. ITC announced that it completed the final 56-mile “Phase 3” section of the line last week. The company says the 140-mile 345 kilovolt (kV) line will be

By - Michael Drost

Supreme Court to review FERC demand response rule

Energize Weekly, March 13, 2015 The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 745, which calls on electricity grid operators to provide incentives for users to reduce consumption during peak times. FERC had appealed a previous court ruling striking down Order 745, a 2011 rule which creates higher compensation levels

By - Jim Vess

What’s the Big Deal with Smart Meters?

By Jim Vess ComEd recently announced the installation of its one millionth smart meter in its service territory. The utility plans to have nearly four million smart meters installed by 2018 – three years ahead of its original schedule. “One million smart meters means one million customers now have access to tools and information that will help them better control

By - Michael Drost

Winter efficiency programs saved New England ratepayers $1.5 billion: Report

Energize Weekly, April 22, 2015 Energy efficiency programs lowered New England electricity bills by 24 percent this past winter, saving the equivalent output of two large nuclear plants, according to a new report by the energy advocate group Acadia Center. The report says that investments in efficiency since 2000 helped lower demand by nearly 14 percent from January to March

By - Michael Drost

Microgrids Take Utilities by Storm

By Russell B. Cohen, Esq. Energize Weekly, April 22, 2015 Driven by the desire to cut costs, ensure reliability, and reduce their carbon footprint, large industrial, municipal, and commercial energy users are increasingly adopting alternative energy resources and technologies to supply their electricity needs. This article series will take an in-depth look at the ways some large energy consumers and

By - Jim Vess

Can the Distribution System Be Operated Like an RTO?

The distribution grid is in a state of change with the increased use of smart grid technologies, the expansion of distributed generation sources, such as rooftop solar systems, and new energy efficiency and reliability standards. These changes have gotten states and regulators to take a new look at the current ownership and operation model for the distribution grid. In the

By - Jim Vess

Utilities Testing Drones to Improve Grid Reliability

By Jim Vess The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows for some commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS’s), or drones, but only with express permission, which it started granting last year, mainly to Hollywood film companies and crop surveyors. Now utilities are starting to get into the act. ComEd recently gained approval from the FAA to use drones to inspect

By - Jim Vess

What about the Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid?

By Jim Vess In an effort to protect the United States electric transmission system a lot of the focus has been placed on cybersecurity. This is understandable with all the recent press about hackers – some alleged funded by foreign governments – stealing critical information from financial institutions, entertainment giants, and major retailers. It seems like hackers are everywhere and

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