Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
General Electric and a number of leading venture capital firms announced today what some have already dubbed “the biggest quest for ideas in history.” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt unveiled the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid,” an open innovation challenge that will give $200 million to smart grid ideas submitted through GE’s ecomagination website.
The challenge is global and targeted at technologists, entrepreneurs, and startups “to share their best ideas and come together to take on one of the world’s toughest challenges – building the next-generation power grid to meet the needs of the 21st century.”
GE and its partners – leading venture capital firms Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins, RockPort Capital as well as Wired magazine’s Chris Anderson – will evaluate the ideas and invest the $200 million capital into promising startups and ideas.
Friday, July 2nd, 2010
And now for a dose of reality.
No doubt smart meters are a good thing, but even their most ardent fans must admit that a degree of hoopla surrounds these little digital boxes. We hear that if consumers can just see how much power they use in real time, and what it costs, our energy woes will be no more.
Smart meters will even cure the blind. The energy blind that is.
“It can be difficult to separate the hype from legitimate claims,” said the American Council for an Energy- (more…)
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Last week’s announcement of a marketing agreement between EV charging company Coulomb Technologies and energy services provider Siemens should come as no surprise. Siemens has been an investor in Coulomb, so a closer relationship was all but inevitable. Siemens gains access to Coulomb’s ChargePoint networked charging stations technology, while Coulomb can leverage Siemens’ smart grid infrastructure and applications.
The EV charging equipment market is currently (more…)
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
The consumer face of the Smart Grid looks like you and me. It is tall and short, conservative and liberal, lazy and driven. In short, it is everyone, which means that it can be both random and ordered depending on changing conditions, geographic realities, and discordant behavioral patterns.
Capitalizing on Smart Grid opportunities in the residential consumer market means finding order and predictability across a wide range of variables: different ecosystems, temperature variation, number of people living under one roof, behavioral patterns, etc. Currently, data is measured home-to-home, which means that fine-grained details under the roof are usually unaccounted for.
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Though Smart Water offers equal or potentially greater benefits than Smart Energy, Smart Water isn’t getting equal coverage.
It’s been a great year for the Smart Grid. Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, analysts, journalists, and regulators can’t stop talking about it. Experts are competing to project greater market potential. Zpryme puts the Smart Appliance market alone at $15.2 billion by 2015, Lux Research talks about $15.8 billion, Cisco estimates the overall opportunity at $100 billion and Pike research uses a whopping $200 billion figure. (more…)
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Currently winding its way through the legislative hoops of Capitol Hill is HOME STAR, a highly touted piece of legislation by President Obama. The program is perhaps the most important piece of legislation, outside of the Recovery Act and will provide for direct energy efficiency incentives for homeowners.
HOME STAR’S potential benefit to homeowners is simple: money. There are two proposed tracks: Silver and Gold. Under the Silver Star track ($3,000 cap/homeowner), homeowners will be eligible for rebates from individual energy efficiency measures such as replacing air conditioning units, water heaters or adding insulation. (more…)
Thursday, April 29th, 2010
California’s high-tech giants have long used renewable energy to help power their Silicon Valley headquarters. Now, companies such as Google, Adobe Systems, and eBay are preparing for the next step — investing in off-site solar and wind installations and innovative technologies that will supply their offices and data centers with green electricity.
From the street, Adobe Systems’ San Jose headquarters looks like any other collection of skyscrapers that dot the downtown of the self-proclaimed capital of Silicon Valley.
But ascend to a skyway that connects two of the software company’s towers and you’ll find a wind farm. Twenty vertical turbines that resemble a modern art installation slowly rotate in the breeze that blows through a six-floor plaza. Down in the parking garage, a dozen electric car-charging stations have been set up. Adobe, which makes the ubiquitous Flash player software, will install 18 more chargers this year to accommodate workers expected to be first in line when the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and other battery-powered vehicles roll into Silicon Valley showrooms later this year. (more…)
Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Dick DeBlasio is a senior life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is the principal laboratory program manager for electricity programs at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which include electric distribution and interconnection research and development, thermal systems integration, thermal storage systems, and high temperature super-conductivity programs in support of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
We asked him for his assessment of the current state of energy storage.
CleanTechies: How important is energy storage? (more…)
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Texas-based Xtreme Power is one of the leaders of the energy storage world, designing and manufacturing large-scale solid-state energy storage and power management systems called Dynamic Power Resources for solar and wind power applications.
CEO Carlos Coe talked with CleanTechies about developments in the energy storage field.
CleanTechies: You have two energy storage projects in Hawaii.
Carlos Coe: The first project is on the island of Maui and it’s affiliated with the wind farm that’s on that island. And that project is a 1.5 megawatt project in size going on a 30 megawatt wind farm. So that project was put into service the middle part of last year and has been in service since then and has done very, very well.
CleanTechies: Any glitches? (more…)
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
CleanTechies caught up with Maurice Gunderson, senior partner of energy and materials at CMEA Capital, for some energy storage perspectives.
CleanTechies: You were an investor in A123 Systems. When will bulk storage arrive?
Maurice Gunderson: Bulk storage needs a little bit of definition. The kind of thing that A123 is doing is here now, and that’s a very high power storage for grid stabilization. And that makes sense in a lot of parts of the country. I make a distinction between that and very large bulk energy storage, which is intended to store power for very long periods of time, such as from wind turbines, and then release it over relatively long periods of time.
So the answer is there’s no real good battery solutions yet, but there’s a lot of smart people and a lot of money working on the problem and we’re going to see things emerging here within the next few years. The really practical ways to do very large storage right now come down to pumped storage. If nature gives you a canyon and environmental considerations don’t stop you from damming it up, you can make a very nice pumped storage facility. But that only exists when it occurs naturally. So there’s not a lot of places where you can count on building out new capacity of that type. (more…)