Smart meter data: Can it reach its potential or be stopped in its tracks in the name of privacy?

Eugene Kong

Smart meters are potential game changer for the utility industry. With their ability to capture fine-grained consumption data and usage pattern plus their communications capability, the smart meters enable many potentially new products and services that can mean lifestyle improvements and savings through efficiencies. On the other hand, smart electric meters pose a substantial threat to the privacy of consumers in their own homes and businesses. Smart meter data can reveal precise appliance and equipment usage information. These patterns can reveal personal behaviors such as sleep habits, number of occupants, and times of vacancy. As much as utilities push for smart meter implementation, consumers are pushing back with concerns over privacy.  Continue reading

Guest blog: Rana Mukerji, Senior Vice President, NYISO

RanaThis is the fourth and final post in a series of guest blogs featuring interviews with global energy experts from DNV GL’s 2015 survey report: Beyond Integration: Three dynamics reshaping renewables and the grid. Today’s featured expert is Rana Mukerji, Senior Vice President, NYISO

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is at the heart of New York State’s electric system, operating the high-voltage transmission network, administering and monitoring the wholesale electricity markets and planning for the state’s energy future. What is NYISO’s vision of the future of electricity? We asked Rana Mukerji, Senior Vice President – Market Structures, to tell us more. Continue reading

Place your bets: your questions on energy storage technology answered

In the third of a series of ‘Beyond Integration’ blogs on renewables and the grid, Felicity Jones asks Ali Nourai to take on your burning questions on storage technology.

Batteries? Flywheels? Thermal units? Last month we held a global webinar on renewables integration attended by listeners from 61 countries. And the topic which dominated the Q&A? Storage, of course. In our recent survey of 1,600 professionals on renewables integration, energy storage ranked well ahead of all other enablers in its importance for a high renewables future. Continue reading

US Clean Power Plan and Electric Utilities

Introduction
In previous blogs[1][2] we have discussed how the emission targets of 111(d) of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) will impact global emissions and various states.  Electric utilities, however, are at the crux of the EPA’s proposal; reducing emissions from utilities is a core component of the implementation plans states must create in response to 111(d).

In 2014, the electric power sector was the number one contributor to CO2 emissions in the US, accounting for 28% of total emissions.  The majority of these emissions come from combusting coal to generate electricity, with more than 75% of these emissions originating from this one fuel source. Although electricity generation from coal represents the vast majority of emissions, coal plants represent only 30% of current generation capacity (Figure 1) and 43% of electricity supply (Figure 2) within the United States.  This discrepancy suggests that state and utilities will likely target coal generation in their implementation plans due to their high emission rate. Continue reading

The continued rise of the prosumer: Three customer-centered solutions to impacts of distributed energy resources

Jonathan Flinn

Distributed Energy Resources (DER) constitute a rapidly expanding sector in the US, particularly in the west, resulting in a new class of utility customer who produces as well as consumes energy—the “Prosumer.” Some utilities have been forced by public demand to address the integration of high penetrations of distributed generation to their transmission and distribution system. This has created an ideal environment for innovation, presenting opportunities for the utilities that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Below I describe three customer-centered solutions to impacts of DER, and their additional advantages to the utility. Continue reading

Prepare to be a better grid citizen: offshore wind needs to go beyond levelised cost

Fliss Jones

In the second in a series of ‘Beyond Integration’ blogs on renewables and the grid, Felicity Jones explores the maverick status of offshore wind in a future of distributed renewables—and argues that the industry needs to go beyond its focus on levelised cost.  

Sometimes things are conspicuous by their absence.

Last month we launched Beyond Integration, a crystal-ball exercise consisting of a global survey and interviews on a high renewables future. Respondents painted a slick picture of the future characterized by storage and solar, prosumers and IT.

Meanwhile, offshore wind barely got a mention. Continue reading

Guest blog: Brent Cheshire, UK Country Chairman, DONG Energy

BrentThis is the third post in a series of guest blogs featuring interviews with global energy experts from DNV GL’s 2015 survey report: Beyond Integration: Three dynamics reshaping renewables and the grid. Today’s featured expert is Brent Cheshire, UK Country Chairman, DONG Energy.

Whilst its legacy is in oil and gas, DONG Energy seeks to ‘move energy forward’, through the construction and operation of offshore wind farms, and the use of biomass in electricity and heat generation. DONG has built more than one third of the total offshore wind capacity globally. By 2020, it aims to have installed 6.5 GW—representing a quadrupling of its 2012 capacity.

With these strong growth ambitions, what is DONG’s vision of the future of electricity? We asked Brent Cheshire, UK Country Chairman to tell us more. Continue reading

Is upgrading and maintaining grid infrastructure an innovation blocker?

Peter Vaessen

Less than two weeks ago, The Netherlands encountered a major power outage in Amsterdam which affected 1 million customers. It was the first major incident since 1997!

The outage was likely caused by a short circuit in 380kV substation Diemen. That morning both (redundant) halves of the 380kV substation Diemen were temporarily connected for a short period in relation to maintenance work. During that time a short circuit occurred, which is the likely cause of the outage of the entire substation as the protection automatically tripped all lines and transformers to prevent damage. Continue reading

Hard start kits: improving energy efficiency after installation

Farhang Biek

Even modern air conditioning units may not be as efficient as they can be because of the elimination hard start devices installed at the factory.  In the past all single-phase A/C, heat pump, and refrigeration compressors were equipped with hard start devices at the factory. Several years ago, manufacturers decided to discontinue that practice for most air conditioners and heat pumps in an effort to reduce costs.

A typical start-up requires four to eight times more current to actually start the compressor than what’s required to run it. With this burst of power comes a surge of heat that accompanies the electrical current. This heat damages the compressor, the terminals, the windings and run capacitor. Continue reading

Guest blog: Hiroshi Okamoto, General Manager, TEPCO

HiroshiThis post is the second in a series of guest blogs featuring interviews with global energy experts from DNV GL’s 2015 survey report: Beyond Integration: Three dynamics reshaping renewables and the grid. Today’s featured expert is Hiroshi Okamoto, General Manager, TEPCO.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has 29 million customers and a peak demand of 51 GW. As the largest electric utility in Japan, it has been engaged in debates about the future energy mix following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. It’s been a time of great change—with a solar boom, new habits in energy usage and the seeds of market liberalization taking root. Continue reading