QUICK NEWS, July 15: THE SMART GRID IS COMING; LA UTILITY WANTS A SOLAR FEED-IN TARIFF, NOT NET METERING; FORESEEING A SELF-DRIVING VEHICLE MARKET
THE SMART GRID IS COMING A Smarter Power Grid for U.S. Utilities
Mark Chediak, Jim Polson, and Kevin Wells (July 10, 2014 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)
CenterPoint Energy (CNP), American Electric Power, San Diego Gas & Electric, PG&E, and DTE Energy are among the utilities remaking their local grids for more “intelligent” operations with sensors, switches, smart meters, wireless relays, and data analysis software that assimilates customers’ power use in real time. CNP’s first phase in Texas is scheduled to be complete by yearend at a cost of $138 million, with the help of $50 million from the federal government; PG&E’s smart grid R&D facility has 120-plus engineers and technicians testing smart advances; and DTE Energy has begun a five-year, $250 million grid upgrade.
U.S. power outages are up 285% percent since 1984 with the outages lasting longest among major industrialized nations and costing businesses as much as $150 billion a year while “smart” algorithms can analyze weather patterns and spot weaknesses in the lines to predict failures, reduce the risk of overload by helping reduce load, and may be necessary if the nation’s grid is to absorb and manage changes from distributed energy resources. click here for more
LA UTILITY WANTS A SOLAR FEED-IN TARIFF, NOT NET METERING Does LADWP Want to Charge Solar Customers For Grid Access?
Chris Clarke, July 10, 2014 (KCET)
To expand its net energy metering (NEM) program beyond its current cap of 310 megawatts, which it will hit in 2016, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) would need to unbundle the rate charge on customer bills from the charge for infrastructure maintenance to protect non-solar-owning customers from paying more than their fair share, according to a recent report from LADWP to the City Council. Due to a push by the Koch brothers-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to make NEM an issue, utilities across the country are raising concerns about such a cost shift, while advocates argue rooftop solar saves ratepayers by reducing the need for new power plants and transmission lines.
LADWP wants to avoid the controversy by instead expanding its 100-megawatts-by-2016 feed-in tariff (FIT) program, one of the biggest in the U.S., because with FITs the utility pays solar owners for the electricity send to the grid but bills them for their electricity use, allowing for infrastructure maintenance charges. Third-party-ownership (TPO) companies that operate solar leasing programs are expected to object because NEM serves their business model whereas FIT and VOST programs support ownership of solar. click here for more
FORESEEING A SELF-DRIVING VEHICLE MARKET Autonomous Vehicles; Self-Driving Vehicles, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, and Autonomous Driving Features: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts
3Q 2014 (Navigant Research)
“Combinations of advanced driver assistance features that can enable semi-autonomous driving are now being brought to market for the first time…Simple automated driving functions such as keeping in lane while adjusting speed to the vehicle in front are currently being introduced…[T]he first more comprehensive self-driving features will be brought to market by 2020, but significant hurdles remain…[T]he biggest practical hurdles before rollout to the public are those of liability, regulation, and legislation…Navigant Research forecasts that 94.7 million autonomous-capable vehicles will be sold annually around the world by 2035…” click here for more