Is energy innovation broken?

A global survey of 750 senior executives spanning 15 countries and eight sectors showed that out of the eight sectors, the energy sector ranks seventh for innovation.

The survey conducted by PA Consulting, showed that organizations could be flushing as much as $620.7 billion down the drain each year. In fact, the survey found that 53% of senior executives have seen a brilliant idea fail for reasons that could have been avoided. Another 41% describe their innovation as a ‘costly failure.’ Some of the biggest innovation killers include fear, lack of focus, engine failure, the wrong return on investment, and reluctance to invest.

For more download the report here

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Energy efficiency investment creates jobs

Economic growth and job creation always seems to be a central focus for policymakers at every level of government. So it’s only natural that when energy efficiency policies and programs are being discussed one of the questions that often comes is how will proposed initiatives affect jobs.

The good news is that job creation is one of the many benefits that results from smart investments in energy efficiency. A report from ACEEE – Verifying Energy Efficiency Job Creation: Current Practices and Recommendations, looks at efforts to quantify job creation from energy efficiency projects to see how they are being done and to try to establish some best practices to help people in the field tackle the problem.

For full report see here

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The next generation of energy efficiency programs could save 22% of electricity use in 2030

Energy efficiency has come a long way. From the energy crises of the 1970s, it has grown and evolved to become an integral part of our energy landscape.

Energy efficiency has done much to improve our economy and environment, but more can be done. Most states have policies and programs in place that seek to achieve even higher energy savings. A number of national efforts similarly aim to increase energy efficiency to achieve economic and environmental benefits. A clear example is the EPA Clean Power Plan, which seeks to achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions. Energy efficiency can play a major role in achieving emissions reductions under the plan.

After all this success with energy efficiency, what’s left? Has the limit of energy efficiency been reached? This is a particularly vexing question for utilities and organizations that run efficiency programs for utility customers, and this is the subject of ACEEE’s latest report. For full report see here.

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Dutch trains to run on wind power

A new energy contract between power company Eneco and Vivens, an energy procurement joint venture has been signed. Under the contract, all traction power for the Dutch railway network will come from wind turbines Starting this year about half of the electric trains in the Netherlands will run on wind power. But the contract between railway companies and power suppliers aims to push that number higher. The agreement will see the trains running completely on wind power by 2018. The energy will be generated from wind farms within the country but also in Belgium, and nearby Scandinavian countries.

For more see here

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How smart grid and demand response could fit into the clean power plan

The fundamental drivers of the Clean Power Plan’s push to reduce greenhouse gas are less dirty energy and more clean energy. While these are a potential boon to wind and solar power, they could also provide a boost to technologies that can help integrate renewable energy into the grid as a means to its end.

The recently released final plan of the Environmental Protection Agency asks for technologies such as energy storage and demand response, as they can help facilitate the boost in wind and solar power that is likely to be a part of many of the US states’ compliance plans. The technologies broadly fall into two main categories, the first are those that directly affect the transmission and distribution portion of the grid, and the second are those that reduce end-use demand.

For more information, see full article.

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Batteries on wheels: ‘vehicle-to-grid’ technology allows electric cars to store energy

The world’s first mass market ‘vehicle-to-grid’, which allows electric cars to act as a huge battery, was launched at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show.

The ‘vehicle-to-grid’ technology, or V2G, allows electric car owners to not only plug into the grid to charge their vehicles but to also feed and sell energy back at times of high demand. In a future smart city, idle cars could act as a huge battery and help to stabilise the energy supply and even provide backup power during blackouts. Electric car owners could also use the energy in their car batteries for themselves, with V2G becoming ‘vehicle-to-home’ (V2H). A V2H system could supply an average home’s energy demands for around two days.

Endesa, a Spanish energy company, and Nissan, a manufacturer of electric cars, are working together to bring the first commercial bidirectional charging units to Europe.

For more information on the V2G technology, see full article.

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A culture shift gains momentum in the century-old utility industry

Opower, a US utility, held its annual summit in Florida earlier this year. When the company first launched eight years ago there was one chief customer officer in the entire US utility industry – there were 26 chief customer officers in attendance at the annual summit. The increase in chief customer officer numbers is not only an indication of the utility’s growth, but also of the industry’s transformation. The position of customer relations has moved up the ranks and the customer programs that were once viewed as a drag on a utilities’ bottom line are now seen as being profit generators.

New product offerings are helping utilities improve their customer service. A recent Accenture survey of 11,000 power consumers in 21 countries found that 66% of respondents are interested in products and services to help them save electricity, up from 56% last year. The majority said they trusted their utility to inform them on how to optimise their energy consumption.

For more information on the culture shift in the utility industry, see full article.

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Community shared solar power

Smart cities are always looking for ways to become cleaner, more efficient and more secure. One way may be to transition to local renewable energy resources but unfortunately, the density and location of most cities do not lend them to most forms of renewable energy.

An exception is solar energy although many cities do not have the space available to host utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects. How can smart cities take advantage of solar energy? The answer is community shared solar.

Community solar as defined here is a solar photovoltaic project that delivers energy and/or economic benefit to multiple customers. These customers subscribe to the solar project by purchasing a share of its energy output. This allows subscribers to benefit from a central commercial-scale solar plant through virtual net energy metering, an arrangement through which multiple customers are credited for a share of energy generated by a renewable energy facility that is not physically connected to their property.

While community solar is gaining traction throughout the country, there are a number of barriers that need to be assessed and addressed before developing a new community solar program. These include:

  • Project economics:
  • Customer acquisition:
  • Financing challenges:
  • IT/OT system barriers:
  • Policy barriers:

Although potential barriers should be assessed, the benefits of community solar could be great in accomplishing multiple goals of a smart city.

For more see here

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Smart Grid as a Service

Leveraging smart grid technology is a natural, evolutionary step for utilities delivering electric, water and gas to their customers. The historical model of unnecessary site visits, manual meter reads or rereads, manual billing estimates and lack of real-time visibility into outages and quality of supply is in the past. Modernizing your grid by tapping into the inherent, built-in capabilities of the Verizon Grid Wide turnkey solution can help drive incremental revenue, reduce operating costs, increase efficiency and improve customer service.

But building a smart utility infrastructure with powerful, reliable tools that connect and manage thousands of endpoints is complicated and costly. It often means investing in data centers, communication networks and equipment, not to mention training and staffing a network management team.

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Assessment of Strategy and Execution for 16 HEM Vendors

Home energy management (HEM) is a broad market segment covering technologies and services that consumers use to help them better manage and control their home energy consumption. According to Navigant Research’s definition, HEM technologies and services include home energy reports, web portals, standalone HEM, in-home displays (IHDs), and networked HEM. In the 2 years since the last iteration of this report, the HEM market has seen tremendous change. Some companies have pulled ahead, some have left the market to pursue other goals, and some have settled into their specialized HEM roles.

Navigant Research expects steady growth for HEM products and services through 2023. The HEM market has struggled to gain traction in the past, particularly from a utility standpoint. However, it began picking up momentum in 2014, when non-utility stakeholders started making bolder moves. The initial jolt came from Google’s early 2014 purchase of Nest Labs, which signaled that a giant tech company saw something valuable in smart thermostats and connected home devices. Thermostat vendors have followed suit by becoming active outside of hardware devices. According to Navigant Research, the global HEM revenue is expected to peak at a little over $3 billion in 2020.

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