Smart Grid Above the Fold: 3/17/17

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Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative.

Opower Blog: What Your Utility Could Look Like in 2035
Projecting the future has been an American obsession since some not-yet-established pilgrims set sail from England to a newer version across the ocean with only a shiny vision for guidance. We love to try and figure out how things will work out — so we can appropriately plan ahead. So, what are the top lessons from McKinsey’s report for those in the smaller slice of the utility industry?

Utility Dive: As Solar Booms, Utilities Look to Build New Business Models with Strategic Investments
Solar energy is becoming a generation resource so ubiquitous that utilities are looking beyond simply contracting for new capacity and are increasingly moving into the sector themselves. Solar added a record-breaking 14,762 MW of capacity in 2016, nearly doubling its 2015 growth. The resource added 39 percent of all new U.S. generation capacity in the year, making it the leader among all resources for the first time.

Forbes: How A Smart Grid Relies On Customer Demand Response to Manage Wind and Solar
BNEF recently predicted a power system shift from one built around large fuel-based generators to one with variable renewable generators as its backbone. While wind and solar’s growth creates financial opportunity, they also open the door for new investment and customer savings from power use itself—a resource called demand response.

Electric Light & Power: More Than 250 Smart City Projects Exist in 178 Cities Worldwide
According to a new report from Navigant Research, there are more than 250 smart city projects from 178 cities around the world, and the majority focus on government and energy initiatives, followed by transportation, buildings and water goals. City leaders and central governments are realizing the benefits smart city projects can provide in terms of economic opportunity, sustainability and quality of life.

SGCC Member News
Greentech Media: Customers Don’t See Net Metering as Key to Going Solar
The transition to a distributed renewable energy future has often put the solar industry and utilities at odds — most notably in the debate over net energy metering. But the animosity between the established utility industry and distributed energy upstarts may not be warranted. SGCC’s Consumer Driven Technologies shows that consumer attitudes toward rooftop solar may not align with company positions. And in some cases, the solar industry may be fighting in the wrong places.

Metering & Smart Energy International: Georgia Power Extends Energy Efficiency Deal with ICF
Georgia Power renewed its energy efficiency contract with energy consulting firm ICF. In a statement, ICF said it was rewarded a three-year energy efficiency contract to help Georgia Power to implement its energy conservation projects to help consumers reduce their energy usage and costs. The energy consulting firm will be responsible for drafting new energy efficiency strategies to help Georgia Power improve the reliability of its grid network.

Electric Light & Power: Xcel Energy Launches its Largest-Ever Upper Midwest Wind Power Investment
By adding 1,550 MW of new wind power in the Upper Midwest, the proposal is Xcel Energy’s largest wind energy investments to date with a total of seven wind farms to be built in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. Xcel Energy will expand the company’s regional wind portfolio by 60 percent while providing enough energy to power more than 800,000 homes.

Utility Dive: ComEd Launches Community Storage Pilot Project Outside of Chicago
ComEd has launched a pilot energy storage project in Beecher, Ill. ComEd says the aim of the CES project is to improve reliability for customers experiencing multiple interruptions, particularly in extreme weather. The project will use the PureWave Community Energy Storage system from S&C Electric that features a 25-kWh lithium-ion battery.

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