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With millions of dollars of federal stimulus money now in the hands of utilities and vendors to support smart grid initiatives around the U.S., project momentum is building. In this channel track smart grid projects, R&D efforts and find helpful expert resources.

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Smart grid hits and misses: a state by state close-up

Smart Grid, state smart grid toolkits, state stimulus money, state stimulus sites
Curious about smart grid projects in your state - or the state next door? We've just updated all 50 of our state smart grid toolkits. Each one is packed with energy-related projects, news and trends. You'll also find useful state-specific resources, including state energy agencies, utility and regulator listings, advocacy groups and incentive programs. Click inside to start your coast-to-coast tour.

Grid optimization toolkit

grid optimization, smart grid, Volt/VAR optimization, Volt/VAR control, grid optimization solutions
Smart meters may get most of the attention, but many would argue that grid optimization is how utilities and their customers are going to get the most bang for their buck. So what is grid optimization, and how do we bring it out of the smart grid closet? You'll find answers in our one-stop grid optimization toolkit, which is packed with the analysis, trends and resources you need to get up to speed.

Electric power transmission toolkit

ABB, electric power transmission, electric power transmission system, electric power transmission infrastructure, smart grid electric power transmission, smart grid
How are we going to turn our frail and neglected electric power transmission system into a secure and reliable smart grid? It’s a critical and timely issue, which is why we’ve loaded this toolkit with some of the best analysis, most-promising trends and smartest research relating to next steps in electric power transmission.

Hawaiian Electric testing smart water heaters for several grid applications

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, grid optimization, smart water heaters, Hawaiian Electric, electric utilities, demonstration projects
Smart water heaters are not new, but they have typically been used for demand response applications. Hawaiian Electric will test how effective they can be in other roles. Utility officials think they may be able to help manage an electric grid that has been heavily integrated with intermittent solar power.

Toshiba to demo renewables + hydrogen power system

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, Toshiba, fuel cells, photovoltaic power, energy storage
Toshiba Corporation will conduct a demonstration of an independent power supply system that incorporates renewable energy and hydrogen. The system, which will run on water and sunlight, will be able to provide electricity and hot water during emergencies, and act to help manage changes in power demand at other times.

Are microgrids ready for prime time? Not until they’re standardized, ORNL says

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, microgrids, R&D, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Yes, microgrids are a hot topic. And some eastern states have microgrid initiatives in place as a strategy to reduce the impact of increasingly severe weather. But a researcher at a DOE national lab says microgrids need to be standardized before they can be truly compatible with main grids and each other. Read about what the lab is doing to achieve that.

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.

WSU building ‘smart city’ lab to test smart grid technologies

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technologies, smart grid testing, Washington State University, R&D
With a $500,000 grant in hand, scientists at Washington State University are building a smart city laboratory to test smart grid technologies. The idea behind the project is to create a sufficiently realistic test bed to ensure that its research will be practical in the real world.

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.

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.

Detroit's largest utility teams with Itron to showcase smart city technologies

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart cities, smart cities initiatives, DTE Energy, Itron, electric vehicles, intelligent street lights
DTE Energy and Itron recently showcased smart technologies that underscored their increasingly important role in helping cities manage their energy use. As many utilities are well aware, they will be called upon to pitch in as smart city initiatives progress.

North America's two biggest energy storage projects

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, grid-scale energy storage, research and development
Two grid-scale energy storage technologies are being put to the test, one in California and another in Utah. The large projects, involving lithium-ion batteries and compressed air, are expected to yield serious answers to questions regarding storage capabilities, benefits and value. Click to learn more about the projects.

Lessons from the field: Progress in integrating distributed energy (and creating virtual power plants)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, distributed energy resources, EPRI, smart grid demonstration projects
The EPRI Smart Grid Demonstration Initiative, a seven-year program of field demonstrations concentrating on integrating distributed energy resources, has been making real progress. Click to read some highlights from the latest EPRI update and for access to the full version.

EPRI Smart Grid Demonstration Update

The EPRI Smart Grid Demonstration Initiative is a seven-year collaborative research effort focused on design, implementation, and assessment of field demonstrations to address prevalent challenges with integrating distributed energy resources in grid and market operations to create a “Virtual Power Plant.” This newsletter provides periodic updates on projects, relevant industry news, and events.

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