Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
So, in case you missed it, there is evidently some kind of climate change conference underway this week. And, its not going well. Still, even if we imagine for a moment that a binding international treaty with hard carbon caps could be salvaged from the wreckage in Copenhagen, there is more news from home in the NYT showing that the US is not up to the climate change challenge at home.
We are developing the technology, but Matthew Wald’s story about a “false start” for smart grids in California and elsewhere provides yet another lens to focus on the policy deficit that is crippling every effort at meaningful energy reform. And, with public will degraded by global recession and climate change skepticism calcifying thanks to Climategate, policymakers cannot afford many more (or, anymore?) false starts.
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
Driving to work and flipping on a light switch may seem to unrelated activities, but very soon lithium ion batteries will assist in making both possible.
The nascent electric vehicle market is likely to standardize on lithium ion batteries. Today the cost of plug-in and all-electric vehicles is too high for many consumers thanks to batteries, which can add $10,000 or more to the price tag. The cost of batteries is only expected to come down after battery cells and packs are produced in sufficient volume to achieve economies of scale.
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the award of $3.3 million in grants for four U.S.-Israel cooperative clean energy projects. The projects were selected by the BIRD Foundation and will be funded by the DOE and Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructures.
The four projects will leverage private sector cost-share for a total project value of $11.6 million:
HelioFocus Ltd., based in Ness Ziona, Israel and Capstone Turbine Corporation, based in Chatsworth, California have been selected for an award of up to $800,000. HelioFocus and Capstone Turbine will develop and commercialize a micro-turbine to produce electric power from concentrated solar energy. This project includes $2.1 million in private sector cost-share. IC Green Energy invested in HelioFocus last year, and this blog reported on HelioFocus’ cooperation with Capstone Turbine back in August 2008.
Sunday, November 22nd, 2009
I recently wrote a story on the growing popularity of so-called smart appliances that link into utility’s smart grid programs, allowing consumers to manage and cut down on their own power use.
By the end of this year, energy customers in much of Texas can expect the installation of close to 700,000 advanced smart electric meters and corresponding communications systems. Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC, the state’s largest utility company, and Landis+Gyr, a developer of energy management systems, have already installed more than 350,000 smart meters in Texas.
Thursday, November 19th, 2009
If Internet companies and some utilities have their way, the smart grid will rely on the existing infrastructure of the information superhighway in order to function. They argue that by relying on existing standards like Internet Protocol (IP), the smart grid will grow faster and more organically than if utilities adopt an assortment of proprietary methods. Issues like security become easier to address too because the Internet manages exceptionally sensitive data quite well with existing technologies. To that end, the players dominating in the Internet arena including Google, Microsoft, and Cisco are all banking on the Internet’s role in the future of electricity management.
Monday, November 9th, 2009
The Monterey Bay International Trade Association, TradePort and California’s Global Trade Community invite you to the Global Smart Energy- Bilateral Trade and Investment Opportunities conference on November 13, 2009.
Featuring several clean tech experts hailing from Chevron Energy Service (CES), the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), NASA and other small business sectors, the conference will discuss the obstacles and business opportunities faced in the emerging “smart grid” industry.
Friday, October 30th, 2009
The high tech industry will play a significant role in the battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as long as the Internet remains a level playing field. The opportunities for software companies to innovate in the energy generation and energy efficiency sectors are substantial if the priority of traffic over the Internet remains neutral (i.e., the FCC adopts net neutrality rules).
The smart grid is the main prerequisite to the Internet’s involvement in energy. The Obama Administration recently announced $3.4 billion in the development of the smart grid and related technologies. Much of these funds went directly to utilities to provide smart meters in homes and businesses. Southern California Edison has already started its rollout of smart meters under a program called SmartConnect; they hope to have 5 million smart meters active by 2012.
Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
What is the current smart grid infrastructure? How will we deploy the smart grid? Answer these questions and more by joining some of today’s leaders in the smart grid movement, next Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at Greentech Media’s The Networked Grid conference. The morning and afternoon keynote speeches will be given by PG&E’s Andrew Tang, senior director, smart energy web, and Oracle’s Linda Jackman, vice president of product strategy and management, utilities business. Also joining them will be speakers from California’s big three utilities and its public utilities commission, PG&E, SDG&E, SCE and CPUC, as well as companies such as ABB, Cisco, Control4, Coulomb Technologies, Enernex, Google, GridPoint, GTM Research, Intel, Oracle, Siemens, Silver Spring Networks, Stanford Research Institute, Tendril, Verizon Wireless.
Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
The Obama administration is awarding $3.4 billion in grants to modernize the national electric grid. One-hundred companies, utilities, manufacturers, and cities will receive the grants — ranging from $400,000 to $200 million — for projects that help build a “smart” grid that cuts energy costs, reduces blackouts, and has the capacity to deliver more wind and solar energy to American homes and businesses. Calling the nation’s grid system “dilapidated,” Carol Browner, the Obama administration’s top adviser on climate and energy issues, said federal funds would be used to expand the national grid and make it work more efficiently.
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
The arrival of electric vehicles onto a grid that is expanding its use of renewable power use provides many challenges for networking, communications, and resources management. Seasoned IT firms, viewing EVs as an integral part of the larger smart grid opportunity, are lining up to provide solutions that will enable renewable power and vehicles to help instead of hinder grid performance.
As referenced in my new research report for GigaOM IT and Networking Issues for the Electric Vehicle Market (subscription required), having companies like Cisco, IBM, GE and AT&T playing significant roles make sense because of their experience. Many of the challenges are strikingly similar to those faced when the Internet became a mainstream vehicle for business and commerce.