Smart Grid News


Cloud computing is emerging as a popular option for companies looking to quickly launch new products, enrich their customer experience and reduce IT operation costs. The cloud computing model allows many organisations to use services, without the expense and hassle of owning infrastructure.


According to a new survey from Pike Research, consumer support for renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, is extremely high. The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults found that 79% of consumers have a favorable view of solar energy and 75% have a favorable view of wind energy. These were the top two highest ranked areas in a survey that asked consumers about their views on 12 energy and environmental concepts. The percentages of survey respondents The percentages of survey respondents stating that they had either a “very favorable” or “favorable” view for each of the 12 concepts were as follows:


There are various plans currently under discussion that could see a radical transformation of Europe’s electricity transmission system. If Europe is to meet its 2020 targets of 20% renewable energy penetration (fuels, heat or electricity), a major contribution will have to come from the electricity sector.


Readers of the publication ‘The New Economy’ have selected Smart Grid Australia member, SAP Americas as the best software systems integrator in the field of “smart grid” technology. As the publication notes, smart grids will transform the way electricity is supplied and used, saving consumers money through greater efficiency and contributing towards a low-carbon energy system. The Smart Grid Awards recognize the companies which are set to guide the new energy future.


Portus has announced that it has commenced a project with Ergon Energy to trial electric vehicle integration with the electricity grid which will be tested in Townsville.


The current smart meter debate originated in Victoria in 2004, from the utilities’ need to modernise the meter network which would, among other things, allow them to capture electricity usage in 30-minute intervals. This enables differential pricing by time-of-day and enables utilities to discourage certain types of ‘non-time-critical’ use during periods of high demand. Reducing peaks has a major impact on electricity generation costs by alleviating the need for new power plants and cutting down on damaging greenhouse emissions.


The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency recently launched a report, Australia’s Emissions Projections, that takes a detailed account of more than 30 policies and measures to assess the contribution of existing policies to reducing Australia’s carbon pollution. It predicts that without further action, emissions will continue to rise.


As smart grid programs advance in Europe, North America, and Asia, utilities across the globe are installing smart meters and other intelligent hardware. A new report from Lux Research shows that while this roll-out promises more efficient grid management, it also predicts a 900% increase in the quantity of data that utilities will need to communicate, manage, and analyze over the next decade.


Global clean energy market intelligence, consulting and communications firm, Mercom Capital Group has found that venture capital funding in the smart grid sector reached its highest level in 2010, almost doubling compared to 2009.


As a result of years of inaction on tackling climate change, the federal government's key adviser on the issue, Professor Ross Garnaut has indicated that there will be a greater cost to the economy and Australian businesses under any future emissions regime, including a possible higher starting price. He also warns that Australia was falling behind both the United States and China in dealing with climate change. Tight budgetary conditions would limit any assistance provided to industry under any carbon price scheme.


Many governments across Asia have been starting to explore smart grid technology, while being cautious over security risks associated with new infrastructure. The region is still in the early stages of smart grid development, but we can expect a number of new pilot projects to be initiated in Asia over the coming year or so.


Green WiFi is committed to providing solar powered access to global information and educational resources for developing regions and K-12 school children striving for knowledge in a digitally divided world. There are approximately 3 billion people under the age of 15 living in developing nations. 42 percent of the developing world's population is below the age of 15. Green WiFi was founded on the principle that the welfare of our world is dependent, in large part, on providing these children with free and open access to the world's information.


I continue to be amazed at how little attention is being paid by network engineers on adapting to the severe challenges of global warming. Most people think that major climatic effects from global warming such as rising sea levels and major droughts will not happen for at least another few decades. But in fact the major snow and rainfall patterns we are seeing are this year are the first significant evidence of global warming. We have seen the damage done in Queensland Australia which took out AARnet and many commercial networks. Climate models predict we are going to see a lot more of these severe events. Last year every continent on the planet suffered record breaking floods. And things are only going to get a lot worse and a lot more frequent in the coming years. For a more detailed analysis of coming threats and frequency of severe precipitation events please see http://goo.gl/xgBzp

By: Bill St Arnaud

 


Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy market intelligence, consulting and communications firm, released 2010 merger and acquisition (M&A) and funding activity for the cleantech sectors of solar, smart grid and wind. The top five VC deals accounted for nearly 55% of total funds raised in 2010. $165 M raised by Landis+Gyr was the top deal in 2010.


A recent thesis written by an undergraduate at Purdue University in the USA has found that utility call centers can’t answer some of the basics on smart grid.


A strategic alliance has been formed between the Victorian electricity company SP AusNet and the GreenBox Group in relation to a pilot for a smart energy and electricity demand management service.


An article written by Jesse Berst from SmartGridNews.com asks the following questions:

  • Why are American utilities spending twice what the Europeans do for smart meters?
  • Why aren't they using joint standards and joint procurement to achieve economies of scale and drive down prices?
  • Who will foot the bill?

LG has announced a line of networked "smart appliances." Which include a line of kitchen and cleaning appliances that use the Thinq brand name, promising consumers better energy efficiency and control.


An agreement has now been signed between Ericsson and EnergyAustralia which now allows EnergyAustralia to become the first utility to use Long Term Evolution (LTE) for its 4G communications network. as part of the energy company’s smart grid rollout. A 4G machine-to-machine communications network using WiMAX and LTE standards is being built across apporximately 150 sites in Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter Valley regions. 

A smart grid needs a communications platform to bring real-time data back from the substations, field devices and smart meters so it can be turned into useful information for field staff, engineers and households. The communications network is essential to transforming the electricity network into a two-way grid that is smarter, greener, more reliable and more interactive. 


"A Greenpeace report launched in January 2011 demonstrates how Europe can switch to a smooth-running electricity grid powered almost entirely by green energy.

It shows for the first time what an intelligent grid for Europe by 2050 could look like. Based on extensive modelling from specialist engineering consultancy Energynautics, the report demonstrates how smart grid management, control technology and a network of efficient transmission lines can reliably balance the supply of variable renewable energy with demand across the continent, even when there is little wind and sun.


Nedap claimed that it introduced the world’s first PowerRouter, a new all-in-one solution for harnessing energy from several renewable sources. 

Nedap’s answer to growing energy concerns and complex inverter solutions is to upgrade current inverter design by including the ability to store and route energy from a variety of renewable sources on demand. 

The intelligent design of the PowerRouter also means no interruption in power. Nedaps’ PowerRouter is a lightweight wall mounted device that is easy to install. The plug and play simplicity makes it easy for industry or homeowners to benefit from this inverter to generate, store, use, exchange and control renewable energy. 


A trial version of Verizon’s smart energy home will commence in January. The company will conduct a home monitoring and control pilot program in homes in New Jersey that will include an energy reading device, a smart thermostat, smart appliance control devices, and a smart power strip, among other applications. 

The pilot program, which Verizon refers to as the connected home, will be focused on what broadband can bring to the home in general, not just energy, and will also include security applications, like remotely locking doors and windows and viewing video cameras in the home from cell phones. Verizon will be working with Motorola’s 4Home, as well as Ingersoll-Rand for the security applications. 

Verizon has also said that the smart energy home will be rolled out commercially in 2011, in other areas that have FiOS deployed.


The distribution system that power companies in the US are responsible for are on the cusp of a major technological overhaul. The federal government and utilities are spending billions of dollars to upgrade the electric grid with intelligent digital technology so they can vary a customer’s price for power based on the time of day and more seamlessly integrate electricity from a variety of sources like wind and solar. 

The upgrade would give the power generation and distribution network the sort of nervous system it has lacked. By some estimates, the smart grid could help reduce electricity use by more than 4% a year by 2030 and save $20b a year for utilities and their customers.


SGA members Logica Australia and Cisco have teamed up, this will see Logica  reselling and deliver smartgrid IP networks and infrastructure services from Cisco to Australia's energy and utilities companies. 

Logica Australia is said to be only the second company globally to gain official rights to resell and deliver Cisco's products for smartgrids.


The results of a recent review by UK regulator Ofgem of metering arrangements in the transition to smart metering in the UK, have revealed that a change of policy is required in several areas such as commercial interoperability, vertical integration and network companies’ obligations, as well as gas metering price controls. 

The Ofgem review indicates that although it would not be appropriate to intervene in the market in the areas of consumer protection and metering agents, the commercial interoperability of the current arrangements has led to a multiplicity of contract forms and charges. While the metering market therefore would benefit from decreased transactional costs and increased and more transparent information flows, it is uncertain that the evidence is sufficient to warrant intervention in regard to dumb meters.


Although the devastating earthquake in the island nation of Haiti in early 2010 destroyed much of its infrastructure, the country had already been plagued with energy problems. Only around one-quarter of the population had access to its meagre energy resources, with almost half of the electricity being stolen, and those citizens who were able to afford it paid a hefty premium – around four times as much as in the United States. 

Haitians could spend up to 30% of their earnings on basic power, mainly candles, kerosene, and timber, and with wood being the country's principal energy source, over 98% of the nation’s tree cover has been clear cut. 

It would therefore be an understatement to say that Haiti has a serious, long-term energy emergency on its hands. 

However, Green Energy Corp (GEC), a Colorado-based company which has provided software and engineering services to over 100 utilities in the smart grid market for over 25 years, is seeking to provide the framework and software solutions in Haiti to achieve 100% renewable energy. 

The company has also developed what it states to be the first universal plan designed to provide developing nations with renewable power, and has dubbed the pilot project the Global Energy Model, or GEM.



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