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The Smart Grid doesn’t end at the meter. Increasingly, it reaches into the customer premise to talk to building automation systems or even to individual devices. Those customers want new and better ways to monitor, understand and control their consumption. The entire customer side is evolving rapidly – the technology, the regulations, the customer expectations, everything. This section highlights the key trends, issues and applications.

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Smart grid funding: DOE, other agencies continue to invest in projects and R&D

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid projects, smart grid R&D, DOE, smart grid investments
The era of billions in smart grid investment and demonstration grants may be gone, but DOE and other federal agencies continue to steadily invest in grid resilience and a more secure energy future. We take a look at some recent examples in a variety of technologies.

What the iPod teaches us about utility customers (Hint: Your programs have a shelf life)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, customer engagement, behavioral energy efficiency, customer strategies
Of course it’s important to get utility customers involved in energy efficiency. Once accomplished, it’s even more important to keep them interested. Guest contributor Marie McKenna explains that while behavioral energy efficiency (BEE) has been a very effective tool, it shouldn’t be the only product on your program shelf. The parallels she draws with the discontinued iPod offer valuable lessons on why it takes much more to achieve lasting customer engagement.

Surprise! Federal agencies ARE doing a lot to push energy efficiency, says ACEEE

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, energy efficiency policy, federal agencies
The federal government and Congress generally get low marks for doing much about energy efficiency policy. However, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says if we look instead at the federal agencies there’s plenty of action on efficiency policies that could save Americans a substantial amount of money.

What's the future of utilities? Hawaii has one answer

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, renewable energy, energy efficiency, Hawaii, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Hawaii’s electricity landscape is changing dramatically. In response to demands from regulators, the state’s utilities have provided plans for how they will reduce power bills and meet a target of providing two-thirds of the state’s electricity with renewables by 2030. Hawaii’s experiences will be worth watching because they could provide a glimpse of the not too distant future for other parts of the country.

Smart grid wins: What’s new with smart grid companies and projects

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid wins, smart grid companies, smart grid projects
This week’s smart grid wins roundup covers a lot of ground, from EV charging and Volt/VAR optimization to solar and a managed smart metering partnership in India. It also covers new funding for smart grid and related technologies and Echelon’s agreement to sell its smart grid business.

Electric power: Why you'll soon be collaborating with water utilities

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart water, electric and water utility collaboration
It may seem unusual to say electric and water utilities should work together. They provide entirely different services and aren’t managed or regulated the same, so what’s the point? But the two are interdependent as the historic California drought makes very clear and, as an Environmental Defense Fund post points out, collaboration is inevitable… even though there are initial challenges to be worked out.

Why utilities are promoting EVs (and why they want customers to pay for it)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, electric vehicles, EVs, EV charging stations, renewable energy integration, electric utilities
Electric utilities are getting some flak from consumer groups for asking customers to help pay the cost of electric vehicle charging stations, even though many of those customers won’t be using them. Now would be the perfect time for utilities to explain to customers and regulators how valuable EV charging stations are when it comes to managing intermittent renewable energy.

The 5 testing steps that allow utilities to roll out smart devices with confidence

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid devices, smart meters, connected home, home energy management, product testing, electric utilities
As utilities roll out new technologies, they sometimes find problems after the initial installations. That mistake can be costly and the negative publicity damaging. Guest contributor Angus Panton offers guidance to help utilities ensure that doesn’t happen: advance testing methods that can spot problems in meters and other devices before they’re delivered to customers.

The 4 priorities that allow utilities to profit from the connected home market

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy management, smart homes, connected homes, smart grid strategy, customer engagement, electric utilities
New technologies are frequently viewed with suspicion in the utility industry. Consider the developing “connected home” market as an example. Guest contributor Angus Panton makes the case that the new market offers substantial growth opportunities for utilities… as long as they attend to four key issues early on.

This week’s smart grid (and smart water) wins: projects, milestones and a merger

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid wins, smart grid companies, vendors, smart grid projects
Read this week’s smart grid wins roundup to learn about new projects and developments for a variety of smart grid and smart water companies. Also, don’t miss the news about the proposed merger between Exelon Corporation and Pepco Holdings.

No million by 2015, but electric vehicles are surging

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, electric transportation, EVs, plug-in electric vehicles, EV sales
While the numbers make it clear that President Obama’s goal of one million plug-in electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015 won’t be met, that’s no reason for disappointment. As Pete Danko of Breaking Energy found, plug-in EV sales are growing at an astonishing rate… if more slowly than many had expected.

7 cutting edge resiliency technologies (New York is investigating them now)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid R&D, grid resiliency, outage management, energy, New York state
While superstorm Sandy is long gone, its harsh lessons remain fresh for the states affected by the devastation. New York recently funded seven research projects, most of them related to technologies for grid resilience, outage mitigation and improved energy efficiency, including microgrids.

At long last, a standard for smart charging

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, electric vehicles, EVs, EV charging, smart charging, standards, electric utilities
One thing troubling the electric vehicle landscape has been the absence of standards to allow for smart charging. Now, thanks to a collaborative effort between the Electric Power Research Institute and eight car manufacturers, that much needed standard should be on the way.

Want some good news for a change? Evidence that behavioral efficiency will last

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, customer engagement, Opower, behavioral science, electric utilities
Increasing numbers of utilities are adopting behavioral programs to encourage energy efficiency. Even so, many wonder if the effects of those programs will last… if customers will stick with them once the newness wears off. Opower offers evidence that customer interest will remain, and could grow.

Should you be considering a dual-fuel energy efficiency approach?

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, dual-fuel energy efficiency programs, electric utilities, ACEEE
ACEEE is talking up the benefits of electric and natural gas utility dual-fuel energy efficiency programs, but they’re not ignoring the challenges and concerns such an undertaking can present. Read the story for a status update and for access to profiles of 16 successful dual-fuel programs.

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