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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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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.

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.

What Disney can teach you about messaging to utility customers (yes, Disney)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, customer engagement, energy conservation, smart grid strategy, electric utilities
Persuading customers to get serious about conserving energy has been a tough nut for utilities to crack. But CEIVA Energy CEO Dean Schiller, a former Walt Disney executive, shares some refreshing and engaging thoughts (with examples) on how to get, and keep, customers’ attention.

Sure the utility business model is changing, but not so fast

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, utility business case, distributed generation, electric utilities
The changing utility business model has been the source of considerable debate and handwringing. Yes, there are plenty of challenges confronting utilities now, but is wholesale change really coming soon? Jared Anderson of Breaking Energy recently interviewed an expert on the topic, and he had some very interesting things to say.

What Texas is doing to stay "the leader in smart energy"

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, smart meters, electric utilities
A revealing report from a Texas regional energy efficiency advocacy group outlines the state’s achievements, its shortcomings and how far it has to go to fully mine the value available from smart meters. And it offers very useful ideas utilities in every state can learn from.

ACEEE: A very long way to go before the U.S. can claim to be energy-efficient

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, ACEEE
Earlier this week we shared a story reporting on the U.S. electric grid and its ranking as the worst in the industrialized world. Apparently we aren’t doing much better in energy efficiency either, according to a scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

An Update on Smart Energy in Texas

This report details the promise and potential of smart energy in Texas. Texas has rolled out seven million smart meters, but has only begun to use the intelligence latent in the system to enable smarter energy usage, including time of use pricing and demand response.

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