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New appliance communications standard: will it kick-start home energy management?

Smart appliances could save considerable energy — if “set and forget” energy management were simple for homeowners to accomplish. But for years, industry has struggled with enabling smart appliance communication on the Home Area Network.

This week the Consumer Electronics Association took a big step toward solving this problem. CEA released a new standard that would create a modular communication interface (MCI) to network home appliances.

Full post: Can a new communication standard kick-start home energy management?

February 7, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Power grid resilience: how the smart grid can help

Resilience: it’s a hot topic on the exhibit floor and in the hallways at this week’sDistributech conference in San Diego.

Resilience means the ability of the power grid to withstand natural disasters and other attacks (think computer hacking or terrorism), as well as faster restoration after outages. Resilience also means withstanding disturbances and fluctuations on the grid caused by solar power, wind turbines, and even electric vehicle chargers. These things vary according to the vagaries of weather and whims of electricity consumers — in strong contrast to centrally controlled and operated power stations and transmission grids.

How can the smart grid help? Here are some options…

Full post: Why power grid resilience has people talking

February 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Minnesota, California regulators watching out for consumer smart meter privacy

Protecting customer privacy is a top concern of policymakers as utilities roll out and utilize smart meters. This month Minnesota requested public input on smart meter privacy — joining a growing list of states and nations considering this matter.

 Full post: Smart meter privacy: Minnesota, California regulators watching out for consumers

January 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Demand response comes to California wholesale power market

The energy industry has long recognized effective demand response (a key smart grid application) as the equivalent as the equivalent of a power generation asset. Now, a new California Public Utility Commission decision allows demand response “aggregators” to provide their services to the California Independent System Operator, the state’s wholesale market operator. This approach contrasts with many other states and countries, where direct participation by aggregators in the wholesale market is not permitted.

 Full post: California electric market operator welcomes demand response

December 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm

How to engage consumers? Proven strategies

When trying to engage consumers with energy information, details matter. That’s the main point of a new report from the Finnish research institute VaasaETT. VaasaETT conducted a qualitative investigation of nine exemplary utility programs from Australia, the U.S. and Europe. They found several common factors that appear to be crucial to program success…

Full post: Proven recipes for successful consumer engagement

November 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Sandy recovery: smart meters help get the power back on

Hurricane Sandy has caused the second largest storm-related power outage in U.S. history, extending to 8.1 million customers — around 25 million people. We extend our thoughts and prayers to all those affected. Only Hurricane Irene in 2011 knocked out more customers: 9.3 million, including in Puerto Rico.

Utility crews from across the eastern half of the U.S. are helping get the power back on in affected areas. While they can’t do anything about downed power lines, smart meters are helping as well.

Full post: Sandy recovery: smart meters help U.S. rebound from power outages

October 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm

How smart meters can fix the DST time ward

For me, the hardest thing about the end of Daylight Saving Time (Nov. 4 in the US) will be getting up in the morning. But for millions of electric meters, DST causes much bigger problems — because Congress has a tendency to tinker with DST.

DST and time-of-use rate periods are examples of “details” that can yield tremendous smart meter-related headaches if not handled properly…

Full post: Fixing the DST time warp

October 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm

New rules in Brazil support smart meter rollouts

This summer Brazil’s energy regulator ANEEL released its specifications for smart meter deployment. Contrary to expectations, ANEEL did not mandate a general smart meter rollout. Rather, the agency defined a set of rules and norms to achieve certain objectives — and smart meters are essential to achieve three key goals…

Full post, by Alicia Carrasco: Brazil: New rules will support smart meter rollouts

October 26, 2012 at 8:31 pm

NSW, Australia: Smart meters, time-of-use prices could aid demand response

In the southern hemisphere, summertime is approaching — so temperatures and peak energy demand soon will be soaring in Sydney and other parts of the Australian state of New South Wales. A new report from the NSW government’s Productivity Commission recommends several reforms that could help Australian utilities manage peak demand while rewarding consumers for aiding this effort…

Full post: Hot Australian summers? Government commission recommends smart meters, time-of-use prices

October 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Smart grid advice: new NRDC paper

A new white paper from the the Natural Resources Defense Council shows how the smart grid can support large-scale clean energy and conservation benefits, and otherwise help the environment. This paper also addressed some smart grid concerns and offered some recommendations for smart grid implementation.

Full post: Smart Grid Advice from the Natural Resources Defense Council

October 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm

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