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Efficiency embraces both suppliers and end users. Generation facilities use 5 to 6 percent of the electricity they produce to power their own operations. Transmission losses drain off an additional 2 to 3 percent, while distribution accounts for an additional loss of 5 to 6 percent. Fortunately, the industry is aggressively exploring ways to increase its own efficiency while rolling out programs to help end users do the same. Scroll down to learn more about both sides of this topic.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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