When are Microgrids Virtual Power Plants & Why Does it Matter?

microgrid virtual power plant

When are microgrids virtual power plants, and what change do they bring to the central grid? The market for virtual power plants, and the technologies that enable them, are growing quickly, in large part driven by the lower costs of solar and energy storage. Thanks to these cost declines, we’re seeing more and more distributed energy coming … [Read more...]

Water Heaters: As Sexy as Tesla?

Soon our water heaters may give us a lot more than hot showers.  New technology lets water heaters provide services to our electric grid. Margaret McCall of the Rocky Mountain Institute explains how. Of all the new tech emerging on the energy landscape, water heaters seem an unlikely contender. Alongside battery players like Tesla, with its Model … [Read more...]

Two California Utilities Get Creative with EV Charging

California is getting innovative with EV charging, having approved two utility proposals expected to expand charging and boost the numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road. In the first, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a proposal by Southern California Edison to invest $22 million in its "Charge Ready and Market … [Read more...]

Supreme Court Hands Demand Response a Big Legal Win in Market Battle with Generators

The U.S. Supreme Court handed demand response a big legal win today in a landmark battle over making energy savings as valuable in wholesale markets as energy production. The high court decision removed a lower court ruling that had threatened to stymie use of demand response, a mechanism where energy users are paid to reduce consumption when the … [Read more...]

Energy Storage Financing Takes Off…Energy Efficiency Geekdom…Latest Creation by Circular Economy Guru

Solar growth took off in a big way when the industry began offering no money down financing. Now the same appears to be happening in energy storage financing. Green Charge Networks offers its customers what it describes as the industry’s first no-cost, performance-based financing model, the Power Efficiency Agreement. The company expects the model … [Read more...]

The Wow Factor About the Value of Demand Response in Two States

J.R. Tolbert says he knew a recent report about the value of demand response in Massachusetts and Illinois would show positive benefits. But when the senior director of state policy at the Advanced Energy Economy saw the numbers in AEE's new report,"Peak Demand Reduction Strategy," he was wowed by the savings reaped in the two states. "When I … [Read more...]

Demand Flexibility: How to Steer a Flock of Birds and Make the Electric Grid Better

The electric industry is expected to spend a lot of money, about $1 trillion, over the next 15 years on grid infrastructure. But it may be able to cut back on that bill through 'demand flexibility,'  a term coined by the Rocky Mountain Institute. Demand flexibility is basically using smart grid technology to better manage what you've already got, … [Read more...]

The Supreme Court and Order 745: a High-Stakes Chance for a Clean Energy Do-Over

microgrid market growing

NRDC's Allison Clements explains why it's crucial that the Supreme Court set the course straight for demand response, as it takes up FERC Order 745 this week. The U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow (Oct. 14, 2015) will hear highly anticipated oral arguments over the future of demand response in wholesale energy markets - and the Court's decision in the … [Read more...]

New Deals for California Energy Storage Companies that Make Buildings into Virtual Power Plants

California and Hawaii are about to see more transformation of buildings into a kind of virtual power plant with projects announced this week by two energy storage companies pushing the concept. Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) is working with real estate developer Irvine Company and SunEdison to create what it calls hybrid-electric buildings … [Read more...]

Enter the Flexiwatt: A New Choice for Consumers and a Business Opportunity for Green Tech Innovators

Most homeowners probably think they have three choices when it comes to electricity. Buy it from a power provider, generate it themselves, or avert its use altogether through energy efficiency. But the Rocky Mountain Institute has put forward a fourth choice. The flexiwatt. Not really new in practice, but certainly in name, the flexiwatt gives … [Read more...]