Friday, April 9th, 2010
As John McDonald tells it, smart grid needs GOLD. And he’s not talking money. GOLD stands for Graduates of the Last Decade, the technology savvy, risk-taking engineers and technicians who may be among the greatest benefactors of the new smart grid movement. While most recent college graduates face dismal employment prospects, for the GOLD kids, the job market is, well, golden.
“I’ve never seen electric utilities and suppliers outbidding each other for a bachelor’s degree,” said McDonald, who has had 35 years in the energy business and now serves as an IEEE Fellow and general manager of marketing for GE Energy T&D.
Friday, April 9th, 2010
Top News: This week, President Obama startled both his allies and critics with a plan to permit drilling for oil off the Southern Atlantic states and in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile the Secret Service, in a stroke of karmic justice, denied the president’s request for a hybrid limo.
On Saturday, Apple’s long-awaited iPad emerged to great fanfare, and with it some schwag and a initial smattering of green apps.
Wising Up to the Smart Grid: After years of talk and speculation, several big U.S. companies revealed that the smart grid lies at the center of their business plans. At the New York Auto Show, Ford and Microsoft announced energy-management software designed for the thousands of people who will plug in their electric cars or hybrids at home. Connecticut Light & Power applied for permission to scrap its flat-rate price structure in favor of one that penalizes customers for overloading the grid. Under the proposal, Connecticut electricity would be ten times cheaper at night than it would be in the middle of the day, when the A/C units are cranking.
Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
The Department of Energy, under its Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant Program, provides reimbursement of 20 percent of qualifying smart grid investments.
Qualifying costs include, but are not limited to, certain manufacturing related costs, software that enables computers or other devices to engage in smart grid functions, and metering devices, sensors, and control devices that are capable of engaging in smart grid functions.
Recently, questions have been raised as to whether the DOE grant under this program is subject to federal income tax.
The IRS, in Revenue Procedure 2010-20, concluded that the DOE grant is not subject to federal income tax. (more…)
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Most would agree that smart grid is the most happening sector in the clean tech industry right now. It is trying to revamp our outdated and inefficient electrical grids through digital technology. The goal is a green grid which will bring us power savings and lower carbon dioxide emissions. The savings come at a steep up-front cost though –- an estimated $520 billion, according to a McKinsey report.
The transportation sector wasn’t included in the study, and neither was a value set for carbon emissions. The savings could be considerably greater if a value is pegged to carbon emissions, an additional 8 percent at $30 a ton.
Of late we have seen many companies trying to take on the energy management challenge from the user’s end. Home energy management products that control appliances at consumers’ homes to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability and transparency is an integral part of smart-grid strategy.
Friday, February 19th, 2010
More and more utilities are beginning to realize that building large power plants just to handle peak daily and seasonal demand is a very costly way of managing an electricity system.
Existing electricity grids are typically a patchwork of local grids that are simultaneously inefficient, wasteful, and dysfunctional in that they often are unable, for example, to move electricity surpluses to areas of shortages.
The U.S. electricity grid today resembles the roads and highways of the mid-twentieth century before the interstate highway system was built. What is needed today is the electricity equivalent of the interstate highway system.
Monday, February 1st, 2010
The Chinese government will invest more money in the development of smart grid technology than the United States in 2010, according to a new market study.
China will spend more than $7.3 billion in the form of stimulus loans, grants and tax incentives this year, compared to $7.1 million by the U.S., according to an analysis by Zpryme, a Texas-based research firm.
“They’ve got a strong economy to push forward,” said Jason Rodriguez, director of research at Zpryme.
Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Based on the rash of predictions for cleantech in 2010 from investors, consultants and media (see the full list at the end of this post), I’ve pulled together a “trend of trends” list below that attempts to synthesis the broader, over-arching themes. As always, I’m amazed that water isn’t on the top of every list, every year, although there are some positive signs on that front. So here are the 12 things that filtered to the top: (more…)
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.