The fundamental technology for infusing intelligence into the power grid has been in existence for years – more than a decade, in some cases. Today, the market for smart grid technologies is evolving rapidly as the need for a more responsive, automated, and efficient power grid rises worldwide. According to a new report from Navigant Research, cumulative worldwide spending on smart grid technologies will total $594 billion from 2014 through 2023.
There are lots of components to the Smart Grid, in which intelligent power technologies combine to provide electricity where we want it, but without the waste associated with the current utility system. But how do they fit together?
Making a more efficient grid that cuts overall energy use involves several things – and tech comes into it at all stages, from better managed batteries, through distributed generation, to smart composting schemes and sensor-based Internet of Things implementations which tune energy use to match the fluctuating power provided by the renewable sources.
The interesting thing is that all the different approaches can add up. Earlier this summer a “CleanTech Club” gathering in London heard how power generation can be distributed to where the power is used, how batteries can smooth the peaks of demand and supply, and how local composting could actually provide a third of the power we use in the home.
In Monday’s issue, I talked about one of the most powerful and unstoppable technological forces on the planet: the Internet of Things (IoT).
It’s the idea that systems, machines, devices, homes, cars – basically, everything – will all be connected through the internet.
Today, I’m going one step further and introducing a company that’s currently at the forefront of this mega trend.
As you’ll see, it brings a totally new meaning to the term “home invasion.”
There are certain buzz words that fly around the internet for so long without taking on a tangible form, that we tend to just tune them out. They become little more than background noise.
Several of these buzz words and phrases in recent times have related to one particular (if far-reaching) area of technology – home automation. Smart homes. The Internet of Things. The Internet of Everything.
We’ve been hearing these words for years now, but most of us still manually adjust our thermostats, and most of use don’t send our washing machines text messages.
But believe us when we say that we’re nearing the tipping point where all of these phrases become everyday reality. Here’s what major companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google have planned for home automation.
With iBridge Connected Home, a HAaaS (home automation as a service) hybrid system with cloud backup, professional integrators can economically and easily provide comprehensive convenience and remote control including custom scenes and schedules for residential clients, incorporating security, video cameras, and z-wave automation of temperature, lighting and appliances and locks, using one iBridge App on any of their smart devices.
As part of the Obama Administration’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge — which aims, in part, to reduce dependence on foreign oil and transition to a clean energy economy — the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced more than $55 million in funding for 31 new projects to accelerate research and development of critical vehicle technologies that will improve fuel efficiency and reduce costs.
For the first time since 2006, solar panels are hard to find, Bloomberg reports. Solar panels and their components had been plentiful for the last few years, but it seems that demand has finally caught up with supply.
That’s good news for renewable energy advocates, because it means that the solar energy industry has been expanding quickly. And, in some places, it’s not just solar that’s been growing. In the first half of 2014, Germany generated 31 percent of itss power from renewable sources, including solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass sources. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that this renewable surge is driven by passion for the environment but has political motivations as well: Germany would prefer to wean itself off of Russia’s supply of oil and gas.
Samsung Electronics has acquired Washington-based home automation start-up SmartThings for an undisclosed sum, the South Korean technology giant announced in a blog post on Friday.
SmartThings builds and sells home automation kits. For a few hundred dollars each, the kits include motion and moisture sensors, and other sensors, all of which relay information to a special hub that users can control and monitor from their smartphones.
The market for all types of sensors used in smart grid applications will grow from $26.4 billion this year to $36.5 billion in 2019 and nearly $46.8 billion by 2021, according to a new report from NanoMarkets.
As the company explains, smart grids promise to solve many problems in managing today’s electric grid infrastructure by enabling broad knowledge and control of operations at all levels, from generation to transmission and distribution to end-use. All of these multiple sensing, monitoring and control functions depend on real-time collection and communication of a wide range of data throughout the grid – which translates into enormous opportunities for various types of sensors.
All new U.S. electrical generating capacity put into service in July came from renewable energy sources, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Citing the FERC statistics, renewable energy advocacy group the SUN DAY Campaign says 379 MW of wind, 21 MW of solar and 5 MW of hydropower came online in the month.
U.S. wind power prices have reached an all-time low, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report, which details trends seen in the U.S. wind industry last year, says the national average levelized price of wind power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed in 2013 fell to around $25/MWh. That’s a new record well below the $70/MWh high seen in 2009. Notably, the report says the average price stream of wind PPAs executed last year also compares favorably to a range of projections of the fuel costs of gas-fired generation extending out through 2040.
Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, hosted its second Global Power Industry Summit in Brisbane, Australia from August 21 to 22, 2014. Themed “Innovative ICT Empowers Better Connected Smart Grids,” the event gathered representatives from power companies, industry organizations and the academic community from around the world to share insights and best practices on building connected smart grids and explore upcoming trends in the power industry.
Apparently it’s been a good week in the smart grid and related sectors. Read our selection of smart grid wins to learn about some of the companies that make the grid modernization initiative possible (and smart water too).
The U.S. wind energy industry generally gets overlooked as the solar industry grabs the biggest share of the spotlight in the renewables world. Solar is getting cheaper almost by the day. Many expect rooftop solar coupled with energy storage to be the next big thing, and the net metering debate continues.
But two new Energy Department reports say U.S. wind energy is quite healthy, thank you. DOE considers wind power to be a “key component” of the strategy to cut carbon pollution, diversify the country’s energy economy and more. Scan the press release below for an overview and click on the links for more detail.
US utility CPS Energy started a four-year smart meter rollout this week as part of a US$290 million upgrade to electricity and gas customers within its service area.
The energy company based in San Antonio, Texas, will install a total of 740,000 new Landis+Gyr electric meters, and add a smart module to roughly 340,000 existing gas meters.
A communication on the CPS Energy website said that “starting in 2015, energy use data will also be available to you, the customer, through a secure online web page that will let you see and track your use as recently as the previous day. And that puts the power — cough cough, pun intended — in your hands”.
Online technology magazine MakeUseOf is out with an article summarizing why current utility customers may soon be generating their own electricity. If you think that solar is still too expensive to be a threat to your utility… if you think it’s only an issue in high-sun / high-cost areas like Hawaii and California… then I urge you to skim the three developments summarized below. The solar-friendly future may be closer than we think.
Global automotive manufacturers are accelerating their efforts to produce more vehicles utilizing electric drivetrains. Many factors are contributing to this trend, including newly enacted fuel economy standards, greater confidence in electric-powered vehicles, and advances in battery technology. In 2012, Toyota launched the Plug-in Prius, powered for the first time with lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries. This shift from the well-established nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries to Li-ion represented a major endorsement of the ability of this chemistry to perform consistently in an automotive environment. Since then, most of the other major OEMs have introduced battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) models, almost all of which use Li-ion batteries for onboard energy storage.
Smart grid companies GRID20/20 and Dominion Voltage (DVI) are partnering to target optimisation solutions to utilities not using smart meters as well as smart energy customers.
DVI, a provider of energy efficiency demand response and volt/VAR control products, will integrate GRID20/20?s platform technology into its EDGE solution to gain access to “markets there were previously unreachable”, said Todd Headlee, executive director of DVI.
GRID20/20 provides an intra-grid sensing platform to effectively drive its EDGE solution within markets not possessing smart meters.
While plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) are now available throughout all of the United States, most Canadian provinces and territories, and every Western European country, they are not readily accessible in the Asia-Pacific region, but this will soon change, according to Navigant Research.
Electronics retailer Best Buy is entering the crowded home automation market through a deal with startup Smart Home Ventures, which designed its offering around ease of use.
Called Peq (pronounced “peak”), the service costs $9.99 a month for an unlimited number of gadgets connected to a wireless hub, which are sold in kits ranging in cost from about $120 to $490. Best Buy will start selling the products at 250 stores at the end of the month. Peq will also be available online and through a telecom company that is yet to be announced, according to a company representative.