It is increasingly clear that Americans want clean energy for their homes and for their country. The recent extension of the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 30% for solar power shows that this an important issue, for voters on both sides of the isle. The cat is out of the bag: clean, affordable energy from solar electric systems is an important tool for US energy security, for carbon reduction, and for long-term price stability.
While the California officials have been working overtime to approve solar power plants in time to meet a statewide renewable energy goal, its utility companies are faced with a slightly different task: How do we incorporate all of that renewable energy it our electric grid?
The Arizona Public Service (APS), the largest utility company in Arizona, is testing a new piece of smart-grid technology that could slash the time it takes to recognize and repair power outages.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) faced many doubts and complaints as they rolled out their smart meter program, but an independent study released last week confirmed that the meters are technologically sound. This announcement releases a lot of tension for the utility-- the smart meter program had incurred customer protests, bureaucratic red tape, and even backlash from cities like San Francisco. The study found that the smart meters posed no technical problems.
With the focus on Copenhagen and climate change, my coverage of the smart grid has taken a back seat. The two, however, are far from mutually exclusive. Rather, the smart grid is now being billed as a key solution to fighting climate change, on par with scaling renewable energy and creating an international carbon trading mechanism.
The technology is shovel-ready. Utilities are beginning to make the big move and bring smart grid services to customers. But what if the American public doesn’t bite? Cutting-edge technologies designed to increase energy efficiency and control electricity demand are only as useful as the owner who fully utilizes them.
What a week for smart grid! Not only did President Obama announce the lucky recipients of over $3.4 billion of stimulus funding for electrical grid upgrades, but news began to trickle out of California that the state’s first smart grid legislation (Senate Bill 17) was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger.
The Obama administration today announced 100 utility projects that will collectively receive $3.4 billion in federal stimulus money to promote the development and deployment of advanced electricity grid technologies. The Department of Energy said that the grants, ranging from $400,00 to $200 million in size, will spawn the installation of nearly 20 million advanced digital meters, nationwide. By enabling utilities and regulators to improve demand-side management, these so-called "smart meters" are viewed as an a key component to modernizing the country's electric grid. They also let owners of solar panels -- and other distributed renewable energy generation systems -- track and manage their electricity use.
The Platts Smart Grid Policy and Implementation Forum kicked off this morning with a keynote address from Dr. Alicia Jackson, the Science Policy Adviser to the Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, Senator Jeff Bingaman.
Smart grid gurus are at it again! This coming Monday and Tuesday, energy leaders from the public and private sectors will be convening in Arlington, VA at the Smart Grid Policy & Implementation Forum sponsored by Platts. The two-day forum will focus on cost recovery, standards and functionality. If you’ll be in the DC area and want to register for the event, please click here. GetSolar will be blogging live from the conference and we're eager to see you down there. A tentative list of speakers is below. Get your grid on!