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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.

 

Category: Utilities

Utilities


Nuclear Still Delivers

Public Power, Jan./Feb. 2015, by Alice Clamp.
http://www.publicpower.org/Media/magazine/ArticleDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=42901

"From an electricity source that was 'too cheap to meter' to a long-awaited but elusive renaissance, nuclear energy has remained a viable generating resource. In Europe, the picture is mixed. The United Kingdom is building new nuclear plants, while Germany will close all of its currently operating nuclear plants by 2022. In the United States, nuclear power plants produce roughly one-fifth of the nation’s power. Within the public power community, nuclear energy accounts for about 8 percent of electricity generation."

Smart Start for Public Power: Utilities Modernize the Grid

Public Power, Jan./Feb. 2015, by Laurel Lunstrom.
http://www.publicpower.org/Media/magazine/ArticleDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=42905

"Like the smart phone, the smart meter has become a ubiquitous part of living in the digital age. Some public power utilities that just five years ago were thinking about the smart meter as a thing of the future have now modernized their infrastructure in a way that not only includes smart meters and the communications systems that go with them, but also upgrades that have affected their entire way of doing business. Making utilities smarter has contributed to a greener environment, resulted in happier customers and, for some, has already provided lucrative returns on their multimillion-dollar smart grid investments."

Why Utilities Across the Nation Are Embracing Community Solar

Utility Dive, Jan. 22, 2015, by Herman K. Trabish.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/why-utilities-across-the-nation-are-embracing-community-solar/354164/

"The shared renewables movement is catching on from coast to coast."

Arizona's Utility-Owned Solar Programs: The New Business Models Utilities Are Looking For?

Utility Dive, Jan. 7, 2014, by Herman K. Trabish.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/arizonas-utility-owned-solar-programs-the-new-business-models-utilities-a/348331/

"Two innovative utility-owned solar programs were finalized by Arizona regulators at the close of 2014, programs that could change the net energy metering controversy. More importantly, they could change the utility business model and the solar business."

Report: Utility Spending on Energy Efficiency Soars as Supportive State Policies Are Expanded

Power Magazine, Dec. 2014, by Sonal Patel.
http://www.powermag.com/report-utility-spending-on-energy-efficiency-soars-as-supportive-state-policies-are-expanded/

"Electric utility spending and budgets for customer-funded energy efficiency programs have seen a 30% boost compared to 2010 levels and could double by 2025, thanks to expanding state policies, an updated report from the Institute for Electric Innovation (IEI) suggests."

Avista’s Aging Headquarters Gets Energy-Efficiency update

The Spokesman-Review, Dec. 12, 2014, by Becky Kramer.
http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/dec/12/avistas-aging-headquarters-gets-energy-efficiency/

"When the heating-and-cooling system at the Spokane utility’s corporate headquarters passed the half-century mark a few years ago, officials decided it was time for replacement.

The new system is part of a $28 million energy-efficiency remodel that will eventually cut power costs at the utility’s headquarters on Mission Avenue by $275,000 per year. The updates will save about 2.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, or enough to power 233 homes."

Power Savings of Smart Meters Prove Slow to Materialize

New York Times, Dec. 5, 2014, by Matthew L. Wald.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/06/business/energy-environment/power-savings-of-smart-meters-prove-slow-to-materialize.html

"Although the goal is to shift consumption to off-peak hours when cheaper, cleaner electricity is available, experts say it is still many years away, despite billions in federal subsidies that have helped finance the switch to the so-called smart grid."

Utilities Face Significant Revenue Losses from Growth of Solar, Storage and Energy Efficiency, Accenture Research Shows

Accenture News Release, Dec. 8, 2014.
http://newsroom.accenture.com/news/utilities-face-significant-revenue-losses-from-growth-of-solar-storage-and-energy-efficiency-accenture-research-shows.htm

"Continued growth of distributed energy resources and energy efficiency measures could cause significant demand disruption and drive down utilities’ revenues by up to $48 billion a year in the United States and €61 billion a year in Europe by 2025, according to Accenture’s Digitally Enabled Grid research."

Almost All U.S. Nuclear Plants Require Life Extension Past 60 Years to Operate Beyond 2050

Energy Information Administration, Dec. 8, 2014.
http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=19091

"When nuclear power plants are built, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has the authority to issue initial operating licenses for a period of 40 years. Beyond that, the reactors need license renewals, and the NRC has granted 20-year license renewals to 74 of the 100 operating reactors in the United States. These reactors may now operate for a total period of 60 years."

Northwest Public Utilities, BPA Top Five-Year Energy Savings Target

Bonneville Power Administration Newsroom, Nov. 25, 2014.
http://www.bpa.gov/news/newsroom/Pages/Northwest-public-utilities-BPA-top-five-year-energy-savings-target.aspx

"Since 2010, Northwest publicly owned electric utilities and the Bonneville Power Administration have saved at least 560 average megawatts of electricity, greatly surpassing the five-year goal of 504 aMW set by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Sixth Power Plan."

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