Archive for December, 2010

California’s version of a solar feed-in tariff: Coming soon

In California, homeowners with solar panels have had an unusual arrangement: They’ve been able to use their utility as a kind of power storage bank throughout the year — but they’ve been forced to give the utility any extra power beyond what they use at home, free of charge.

This will change in early 2011…

Full story: Coming soon: California’s version of a solar feed-in tariff

December 29, 2010 at 1:13 am

Zigbee vs. WiFi: which is better for smart appliance communications?

Two weeks ago General Electric released a report stating that ZigBeeradios are better for smart appliance communications than WiFi. Yesterday the WiFi Alliance issued its predictable retort: the GE study is “flawed.”

Why does this matter? If appliance manufacturers don’t agree on a single standard, they won’t build the radios into their appliances — which means that the promise of energy savings and peak demand reductions from smart appliances cannot be realized…

Full story: Smart appliances: WiFi vs. ZigBee communications? The great debate

December 21, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Can you have too much renewable energy?

“All things in moderation” is a philosophy popularized by Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics — but does it apply to a nation’s energy supply in the modern world?

The notion of the need for balance is emerging as a significant issue in Idaho — which, perhaps surprisingly, is becoming a world leader in renewable energy production…

Full story: Too much renewable energy: Could there be such a thing?

December 20, 2010 at 9:44 pm

UK: New bill would accelerate smart meter rollout

The 2010/2011 UK energy bill recently presented to Parliament would not only improve energy efficiency, but also put the government in charge of smart meter rollout across Great Britain.

Specifically, this law would amend the smart meter provisions of the 2008 Energy Act to allow the government to direct smart meter rollout strategy across Great Britain through 2018. It would also enable the Secretary of State to modify transmission licenses to ensure that new central communications arrangements would effectively support all smart meters…

Full story: New bill would accelerate UK smart meter rollout

December 16, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Spain improves economic incentives for wind, solar thermal energy

In a move likely to boost renewable energy development in Spain, recently the Spanish Ministry of Economy published adecree that will make renewable energy not only more affordable, but a better investment.

This news comes after months of negotiations with wind and solar and solar energy providers.

Full story: Spain: Better economic incentives for wind, solar thermal energy

December 14, 2010 at 1:52 am

Are smart meter RF emissions a safety risk?

A small but vocal number of consumers in Northern California and Maine claim that smart meters present a health risk due to their radio frequency (RF) emissions.

It’s important to respect the views of people who are concerned with the health effects of new technologies. However, in this case, decades of scientific evidence indicates that the type of RF emissions from smart meters are highly unlikely to affect human health…

Full story: RF emissions: Are smart meters a safety risk?

December 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm

What can we expect from the HAN smart meter interface?

Virtually all smart meters being installed in the US come with a second built-in radio — the Home Area Network interface — that can send information to one or more devices in the home. This is separate from the other radio in the meter that sends data back to the utility.

But in most places, including California, this HAN interface is not yet “live”. This means the meter is equipped to transmit or receive data to devices in the home, but it cannot do so until either:

  • The utility starts transmitting data to home devices via the HAN interface
  • OR: A device in the home starts sending messages to the meter requesting data.

Here’s how this process gets rolling…

Full story: HAN smart meter interface: What can we expect?

December 5, 2010 at 10:43 pm

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