Engerati’s Week In Smart Energy – Utility- or residential-scale PV?

Published: Mon 21 Sep 2015
A blog entry by Jonathan Spencer Jones

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With the push towards residential-scale PV with its declining costs and rapid growth, a question that seems to have got forgotten along the way is how in compares in cost effectiveness with utility-scale PV. Bruce Tsuchida and Sanem Sergici from The Brattle Group set out to find out and in a letter to the President, they outline their analysis. [Utility-Scale Vs Residential-Scale PV – Which Is Most Cost-Effective?] Their findings are not what one might expect and while they are applicable to a specific utility system and not directly transferable to other geographies, they nevertheless have important policy implications, not to mention some potentially good news for utilities who may be concerned about their future in the changing energy market.

Talking of the changing energy market, we spoke to new UK market entrant Upside Energy, which is seeking to tap unused battery resources at homes and small businesses to create a virtual energy store that can participate in demand response activities. [Households and Small Businesses To Sell Their Battery Power] To date these resources have been excluded from market participation because of their scale. The prize-winning start-up is about to launch a pilot which it intends to rapidly scale-up. Once proven in the UK, the company has plans to enter other markets such as the US and Japan.

One of the challenges of distributed generation for utilities is its integration. Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in California has long been at the forefront of smart grid developments and in a recent project has put in in-line power regulators to better manage the voltage on the distribution network. Among the outcomes are recommendations for mitigating voltages and better understanding of how best to evolve the LV system. [Sacramento Municipal Utility District Tackles Distributed Generation Challenges]

European Utility Week is one of the highlights on Engerati’s event calendar and in an interview, event director Paddy Young outlined a focus on innovation and the aim to bring in new thinking to this year’s event. [European Utility Week Promotes Fresh Thinking From The Outside-In] Among our activities are pre-event interviews with selected speakers. [Innovation Takes RWE Towards The Future Energy System, Energy Efficiency Challenge - Stepping Up Projects, Digital Transformation Calls For Skills Integration ] The full Engerati team will be present at the event, presenting Energy Talks and a full studio programme as well as participating in the formal programme. Updates will be given in this space and we look forward to meeting and networking with colleagues.

Enjoy these and our other stories on Engerati.