It is one thing for a small community to achieve 100% renewable supply but another level of complexity for a relatively densely populated state. Hawaii, the first in the US to make the 100% commitment, has given itself 30 years, working up from a level of approximately 23% currently. Hawaiian Electric has now come out with a plan – which is before the PUC – for at least the next 5 years, which will see increases in both utility scale and residential renewables. But it’s not just about renewables – core to the initiative is a smart grid with smart metering and grid upgrades. [How Will Hawaiian Electric Achieve 100% Renewable Supply?]
Demand response is becoming increasingly important as utilities seek to improve efficiencies in the supply-demand equation. Looking to improve efficiencies in the delivery of the programmes themselves, while also improving the customer experience, Baltimore Gas & Electric has merged its traditional and behavioural-based programmes. [Demand Response: Keeping it Fresh, Fun & Simple For Customers] This enables customer participation in both and gives the utility control of a full 10% of its peak demand.
Mobile telecoms providers are making inroads into the energy sector with their networks and data carrying capacities which are well suited to the growing utility and especially Internet of things requirements. AT&T, which has years of involvement in the sector, is positioning at the forefront of smart city development. With an alliance of partners, the company is leading the deployment of up to five smart city solutions – e.g. smart grid, water leak detection, intelligent lighting, traffic management, waste management, etc. – in selected cities, based on the premise that this will provide more value than the more siloed approach that cities tend to be following. [Telcos Take On Smart Cities]
The level of big data in the electricity sector is ever-increasing and forward thinking utilities are beginning to understand that if harnessed properly, big data analytics can bring greater value to decision-making. And they can take a leaf out of the telecom industry’s books. Faced with an exponential growth of data traffic, the increased importance of user demands and network complexity it is leveraging big data to improve efficiency, customer experience and growth. [A Data-Enhanced Business Creates Huge Business Value]
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