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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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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.

Can plug-in EVs enhance grid reliability? EPRI and others are betting on it

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, plug-in hybrid vehicles, grid reliability, electric utilities
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, EPRI, electric car makers and others are betting smart grid technology can integrate plug-in EVs in a way that supports grid reliability. Click to read about a demo project for a new software system developed by EPRI and others.

Energy efficiency: DOE zeroes in on commercial and residential HVAC systems

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, building efficiency, HVAC systems, DOE
HVAC systems in commercial and residential buildings draw a lot of the energy those buildings use. The advantages to trimming that number are obvious and many different approaches are underway to do it. Now DOE is kicking in money to come up with alternative technologies that could make real energy savings possible.

Energy efficiency a major force in meeting Pacific Northwest power demand

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency
Energy efficiency has emerged as a major topic over past several years as electric customers and state regulators make it clear they want electric utilities to provide power as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible. The Pacific Northwest has benefitted greatly from energy efficiency investments and initiatives. Read the story to learn how.

Really? Breakthrough said to be the “next big thing” in battery technology

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, battery technology, EV batteries, EV charging, electric vehicles, energy storage
Scientists from a Singapore technical university have come up with a battery capable of recharging to 70% capacity in two minutes, and it will last much longer than today’s lithium-ion batteries. The development could affect many industries and markets, particularly electric vehicles.

Pioneering Enel to launch business incubator for smart grid tech innovation

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, Enel, smart grid business incubator
Italian utility Enel has always been a pioneer in the utility industry, and shows no signs of stopping. With financial backing from the EU, Enel is launching a business incubator for clean tech startups with new innovations in smart grid-related technologies.

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.

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