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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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No more renewable mandates for New York? (Or energy efficiency either?)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid strategy, smart grid investments, New York energy plan, energy efficiency, renewables
New York isn’t giving up on its commitment to renewables and energy efficiency. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority just wants to change the state’s approach. The agency is proposing a switch from mandates to a program of investments in market development and technology innovation, and incentives for renewables.

Texas is forcing utilities to give home energy monitors to the poor

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy monitors, policy and regulation, home energy management, electric utilities
Texas regulators want utilities to provide low-income customers with ways to reduce their energy bills. Most observers take that to mean smart thermostats or home energy monitors. But home energy monitors have never gone over well with the public. Isn’t there a better use of the money allocated to help the state’s low income customers? Click for more details on the issue.

NYC embarks on massive public building energy efficiency initiative

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, building energy efficiency, renewable energy, New York City
New York City is at it again. The city has committed to a massive retrofit of the city’s public buildings to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. The city says it expects $8.5 billion in cumulative energy cost savings over 10 years.

Smart cities disconnect? Survey finds most in U.S. don't know the term

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart cities, customer engagement
In a way, the smart cities initiative is repeating smart grid history. A recent survey found that very few people had heard the term smart cities. While roughly half of electricity customers are aware of the term smart grid, it has taken considerable time and effort to get to that point. Cities that want to become “smart” face a similar challenge.

Cap and trade -- coming soon to a state near you

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, policy and regulation, cap and trade, EPA, electric utilities
Cap and trade may at first glance seem to have nothing to do with the smart grid, but it would have a profound impact on renewables integration, energy efficiency and more if enacted. While no action is expected from Congress, states could take up cap and trade to help them deal with the new EPA rules on power plant emissions reductions.

Unions see the handwriting -- they are retraining for a net zero energy world

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid job training, electric utilities
We recently reported on Italian utility Enel’s new program to train the skilled workforce needed for a modern, decentralized electric grid. Innovations in training are happening in the U.S. too. Thousands of union electrical workers will be trained every year in smart grid technologies like grid-scale storage, renewable energy and advanced energy efficiency at the new Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute. Click for details.

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.

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