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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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How the evolving utility-customer relationship is changing home energy management

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy management, electric utility strategies
More consumers are becoming aware of energy efficiency and managing their energy use. While that can certainly be considered progress, the trend also attracted a new set of competitors for utilities. Guest author Jenny Roehm provides an overview, as well as recommendations for how utilities can counter that competition.

Ohio regulators OK FirstEnergy plan to cut back energy efficiency programs

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, policy and regulation, FirstEnergy
With approval from state regulators, Ohio utility FirstEnergy is well on its way toward shelving most of its energy efficiency programs for at least two years. State lawmakers passed a bill to suspend efficiency programs earlier this year, saying it was needed to give them time to study the economics of the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.

Ice Energy wins 16 contracts from SCE and other smart grid wins

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid companies
This week’s smart grid wins roundup touches on energy storage, smart meter deployments and solar installation projects. The collection also includes a milestone for Silver Spring Networks and an energy efficiency award for Building IQ.

Georgia Power rolls out EV charging rebate for business customers

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, electric transportation, EVs, EV charging, Georgia Power
As part of a multi-faceted electric vehicle transportation pilot, Georgia Power has begun an EV charging rebate program for its business customers intended to build interest in electric transportation. Read the story for details on the rebate program and why the utility is doing it.

Denmark plans to join the 100 club (100% renewables, that is)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, renewable energy, wind power, Denmark, energy efficiency
Denmark is the latest European country to announce plans to be 100% reliant on renewable energy, and expects to accomplish that goal by 2050. The country also is expanding on what most countries in the region have done by including transportation in its plans: no fossil fuel by 2050 either.

Will they or won’t they? CPUC to decide if utilities can deploy EV charging stations

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, electric vehicles, EV charging, policy and regulation, electric utilities
California regulators are scheduled to rule this month whether utilities will be permitted to provide EV charging stations. Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric have proposed investing $500 million in EV charging infrastructure, and at least some state legislators support dropping the current ban against utility involvement in the charging market.

World Bank loans Vietnam $500M for transmission efficiency project

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, transmission, energy efficiency, Vietnam electric grid
The populations of its major cities and economic centers are growing so quickly that Vietnam has been hurrying to upgrade its electric grid and boost its efficiency to meet demand. As part of that push, the country will receive a $500 million World Bank loan to build new transmission lines and incorporate smart grid technologies.

Korea offers compelling incentive program to get its drivers into EVs

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, electric vehicles, EVs, EV incentives, Korea
While using financial incentives to get more drivers behind the wheel of an electric vehicle is not a new strategy, Korea has embarked on an unusually aggressive program to spark interest in electric vehicles. The city of Seoul is partnering with four car makers to offer incentives of almost $25,000 for buyers.

Wyoming ups its advanced energy status with biogas-powered data center

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, data centers, energy efficiency, energy reliability, Microsoft, Siemens
Wyoming is moving ahead in its bid to become known as a center for innovation and advanced energy projects with the opening of Microsoft’s new biogas fuel cell-powered data center. The new data center is the outcome of a collaboration involving academia, state and local government, and partners Microsoft, Siemens and Fuel Cell Energy.

Irish utility partners with Nest to offer free thermostats to new customers

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, Google, Nest, home energy management, electric utilities
Despite the substantial amount of debate and concern in energy industry circles over Google’s purchase of Nest and what it could mean for the future of utilities, an Irish utility has taken a different tack and partnered with the company to offer the smart thermostats free to new customers when they sign up.

MIT thinks it has the answer for a cheaper, longer-lasting EV battery

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, electric transportation, EVs, battery storage technologies, MIT
Battery technology advances seem to be coming faster all the time as scientists and researchers put their own spins on ways to improve battery performance. Now, a team from MIT says it has come up with a lithium battery that could be transformational in terms of cost and performance for electric cars.

DOE’s new Lab-Corps to bring clean energy technologies to market faster

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, DOE, DOE laboratories, clean energy technology
DOE has committed to a pilot program to better train its national laboratory researchers to take their work in clean energy technologies to the marketplace faster. Click for details on the technology accelerator and training program and the anticipated results.

Smart grid wins: a quick look at some of the latest projects

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid projects, smart grid companies
The smart grid sector never seems to slow down. New projects and developments seem to emerge constantly. In this week’s smart grid wins, you can read about a new reliability project with GE and Georgia Power and additional news in transmission and EV charging, as well as an award for Gridco Systems.

Army, NREL partner on large-scale net zero energy pilot

smarr grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, net zero energy, NREL, U.S. Army, energy efficiency, renewable energy
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Army are working together on a pilot program to reach net zero energy use status at nine Army installations. If all of those sites can reach net zero, 8% of the Army’s current installation energy consumption will be replaced with renewables.

One more time: Massachusetts takes top honors in state energy efficiency

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, ACEEE
Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in energy efficiency, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Click to find out where your state ranks, which are most improved and which have some catching up to do.

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