Smart Grid Above the Fold: 4/28/17

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

Greentech Media: How a Cold Day in Texas Exposed the Value of Grid Flexibility
On March 3, 2014, thermometers read 15° Fahrenheit and across the state, Texans turned their heaters on full blast as they prepared to head to work. Operators at the operations center for Texas’ electricity system saw the price of electricity skyrocket and around 8 a.m. prices jumped to nearly $5,000 per megawatt-hour. This event provided a crucial investment signal to wholesale market buyers and sellers that more flexible resources are needed for times of stress, on either the generation side or on the demand side.

Utility Dive: Why Utilities Are More Confident Than Ever About Renewable Energy Growth
At the turn of the millennium, only wide-eyed dreamers in the power sector would have claimed renewable energy would play a major role on the U.S. grid. Wind and solar were simply too expensive and too difficult to integrate. Fast-forward to 2017, and that dream is becoming a reality, according to a survey of more than 600 utility professionals.

Forbes: America’s Utility of the Future Takes Shape in Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota
For the first 100 years of their existence, utility managers and investors slept well at night knowing three truths would ensure consistent profit growth, so long as they provided safe, reliable and affordable service: demand for electricity would keep increasing, utility revenue would keep growing and few if any competitive pressures existing for electric utilities. But in just the last decade, utilities have seen each of these truths erode.

GreenBiz: Platform-Based Grids Promise a Power Boost
Platform business models have redefined the modern economy. From titans of personal computing and e-commerce such as Apple and Amazon to ubiquitous financial services that we use with hardly a second thought, industries everywhere have reoriented from one-directional pipeline delivery systems to multisided platforms on which information and services flow in many directions between actors.

SGCC Member News
Utility Dive: Duke Energy to Harden North Carolina’s Power System with $13B Initiative
Duke Energy last week announced a Power/Forward Carolinas initiative aimed at modernizing and hardening the electric grid, while generating 14,000 new jobs and more than $1 billion taxes revenues over 10 years. According to Duke, when the plan is fully executed more than 80% of North Carolina customers will be connected to a “self-optimizing grid.”

Metering & Smart Energy International: PG&E Updates Online Marketplace for Energy Efficient Household Appliances
PG&E has announced the launch of the updated PG&E Marketplace with a new user interface and design. According to a release, PG&E Marketplace is an easy and user-friendly website for customers to find energy-saving appliances and consumer electronics. PG&E Marketplace allows customers to identify energy-efficient products and appliances from many of their favorite retailers.

Midwest Energy News: After Five Years, Illinois Smart Grid Buildout Showing Results
Over the past half-decade, Illinois utilities have spent billions on building out a smarter, cleaner and more efficient power grid. While the changes are not without controversy, utilities say reliability has improved while average customer bills have remained flat.

Utility Dive: Comverge Brings BYOD Demand Response Pilot to Arkansas
Entergy Arkansas selected cloud-based demand response provider Comverge to manage a Bring-Your-Own-Device pilot program for the utility. Comverge said that it will aggregate consumer-purchased Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostats to “evaluate a potential new demand response resource” for the utility. Comverge and Entergy Arkansas are already working together on the Summer Advantage residential demand response program to complement those efforts.

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