Smart Grid Above the Fold: 6/16/17

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

Greentech Media: How Utilities Can Avoid Complacency and Boost Customer Satisfaction
Steve Ballmer’s first reaction to the Apple iPhone was not his best moment. During a TV appearance in 2007, the then-Microsoft CEO and current owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, mocked the market potential of the iPhone. With a $500 price tag and no keyboard, the executive felt comfortable saying that Apple’s latest whiz-bang invention was more sizzle than substance. We all know how that turned out. David Rowan, editor-at-large of Wired U.K., brought up that example at a conference about energy efficiency and the future utility model last year to warn against the perils of ignoring even the oddest-seeming innovation.

T&D World: Is AMI’s ROI Misunderstood?
The benefits of AMI can be wide ranging, but they stem from a complex and long-term value chain and are easily misunderstood. And easily underestimated. An interesting study regarding peak demand reductions after implementation of AMI and TOU rates at a utility in Ontario was recently completed by the University of Waterloo. Here’s an explanation why it is misleading that the study led Science Daily to publish a summary headlined “Study shows big smart meter investment yielded ‘very small’ electricity savings.”

Utility Dive: What Makes a Successful Utility-led Community Solar Program?
With almost two-thirds of utility professionals expecting moderate or significant growth in community shared renewables over the next ten years, it is time to look at what works and what doesn’t for utility-led programs. IOUs now have 13 community solar programs representing 91 MW of capacity, according to Dan Chwastyk of SEPA. Municipal and public power utilities have 22 programs with a combined 29 MW capacity. But the most prolific utility-builders of community solar are electric cooperatives. According to SEPA, they have 63 programs with a 43 MW capacity, but NRECA says there could be twice that much.

Greentech Media: US Solar Market Adds 2 Gigawatts of PV in Q1 2017
Following rapid growth across the industry in 2016, the U.S. solar market added 2,044 megawatts of new capacity in the first quarter of 2017. As installations grow, prices continue to fall to new lows, with utility-scale system prices dropping below the $1 per watt barrier for the first time. The first quarter of 2017 was the sixth straight quarter in which more than two gigawatts of solar photovoltaics and more than one gigawatt of utility-scale PV was installed.

SGCC Member News
Metering & Smart Energy International: National Grid Smart Energy Program Helps Customers Save Big
National Grid has helped residents save $1.8m on electric bills with Bridge Energy Group as its Smart Energy Solutions program partner. Consulting and systems integration company Bridge Energy Group has provided National Grid with leadership, management, domain expertise and systems integration to support the delivery of its smart grid pilot. 11,000 Worcester residents have to date realized significant cost savings on their electric bills.

Greentech Media: Survey – What Electricity Customers Really Want
Electricity customers have more choice in how they consume and manage their energy today than at any time before, and the number of options available continues to multiply. But what is it customers want? What types of products and services are they being drawn to? And are they following through with a purchase? That’s what SGCC’s latest Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation Study seeks to shed light on. It examines how customers interact with electricity providers and utility programs, and how they view a broad suite of “smart grid” technologies and programs.

Smart Grid Today: Energate Switch to Give PG&E Insight into Load for DR
Energate will supply PG&E with load control switches for the next phase of the IOU’s SmartAC program. It will deliver its LC2200 load switches using the secure ZigBee Smart Energy Profile providing two-way communications via PG&E’s existing ZigBee-enabled meters. The switch delivers both control and insight into load-shedding events and is a significant advancement of DR and direct load control technologies. The gear includes advanced internal sensing to capture real-time information including load-switch availability, load running status, event execution and relay status.

Public Power Daily: EVs Can Be Flexible Grid Resource, Say BMW and PG&E
The charging of electric vehicles can be managed as a flexible grid resource, according to the results of a pilot project conducted by BMW Group and PG&E. The grid services demonstrated in the pilot study — including day-ahead and real-time energy — “have the potential to result in cost savings associated with operating and maintaining the grid as well as owning an electric vehicle,” says a report on the project. A second phase of the pilot project will investigate whether electric vehicles can absorb excess solar power produced in California during daylight hours.

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