Discovering Energy Efficiency Innovation

When people think about energy efficiency innovation they often think of technology. LED lighting or the Nest thermostat come to mind. Technology innovation is cool. Who wouldn’t want to get bought by Google? And new gadgets are fun. But for energy efficiency, much of the most important innovation has nothing to do with developing new efficient … [Read more...]

What Will the 21st Century Grid Look Like?

We cannot run a 21st century grid with 1950s technologies, fuel sources and practices. The good news is steps are being taken to usher in the new grid, says Carl Zichella, NRDC's director for western transmission, in this guest blog post. It seems everyone involved with renewable energy and climate change is asking the same question these days.  … [Read more...]

No Place to Hide: Top and Bottom in Utility Energy Efficiency Ranking

If you’re a country, state, city or utility that’s wasting energy, there is no hiding it any longer. Energy efficiency advocates are increasingly slicing and dicing performance of these entities and producing rankings. The scorecards make public how well one does against the other, which serves as a powerful motivator to do better. What governor … [Read more...]

Microgrid Projects Underground, Overseas and on the Coast

Recent news about microgrid projects, funding and awards.... Bury your microgrid? New York has awarded $3.3 million for research into microgrids and other electric resiliency projects, among them an underground microgrid. The underground microgrid will be at Clarkson University in Potsdam. The state awarded $381,000 for its design, being … [Read more...]

New York Utility Seeks Approval to Offer Microgrid Subscriptions

Central Hudson Gas & Electric is seeking approval to offer microgrid subscriptions, as part of a $46 million rate hike request filed with state regulators July 25. The New York utility would design, build and operate microgrids at the request of customers, who would pay a fee for the service on their utility bills. The fee would be determined … [Read more...]

International Energy Efficiency Ranking Shows How the US Shortchanges its Economy

A new international energy efficiency ranking by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy places the United States at a lowly 13 out of 16 leading world economies. There are many reasons to bemoan the finding. The US is throwing away a lot of economic opportunity. Energy is a basic economic input. Using more, where less suffices, is … [Read more...]

Fuel Cells for Microgrid, Off-Grid Applications

Fuel cells provide a number of benefits in microgrid and off-grid applications in developing countries, for the military, and after disasters such as hurricanes. In this podcast, Chris D'Couto, president and CEO, Neah Power Systems, describes the many applications and their benefits. … [Read more...]

The Alcatraz Microgrid: Life on ‘The Rock’ Not Easy, Even for a Microgrid

The Alcatraz microgrid stands as a model for installing modern energy technology under difficult terms. Historical structures had to be kept intact, equipment protected from the elements, and no new buildings erected. Here's how developer Princeton Power  Systems accomplished the task. The 22-acre island in San Francisco Bay is now a tourist … [Read more...]

How Do Utilities Make Money in an Age of Energy Efficiency?

Electric utilities are survivors. Their doom has been predicted many times over the last few decades as their industry restructured, competitors arrived and new technologies emerged. Rather than die, utilities morph. We’ve entered yet another period of utility disruption. This time the challenge is formidable. Electricity sales are flat in … [Read more...]

California Offers Up to $26.5 Million in Microgrid Grants

The California Energy Commission is offering up to $26.5 million for microgrid grants, in a request for proposals issued July 3. The RFP seeks microgrid projects that demonstrate ways to reduce carbon emissions and increase use of renewable energy and electric vehicles. “California’s electric grid must become more resilient and adaptable to … [Read more...]