Welcome to the E Source Blog! Our staff will share insights and observations about life at E Source, our events, our research, and other fun stuff.
We’ve been watching the evolution of microgrids for a few years now, but every time they appeared ready to gain some ground in the market, development got bogged down and progress stalled. So I was intrigued to read a February 2017 article in Microgrid Knowledge on APS’s bullish new microgrid deployments. APS moved to install two microgrids without securing preapproval from state regulators.
Voice-controlled devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home are rapidly gaining market share and may prove to be a key interface for the smart home over the next year or two. These continually evolving Wi-Fi-enabled speakers with voice recognition can play music, answer questions, and control an expanding range of smart devices. But for energy nerds like me, there’s a persistent and nagging question: How much energy do these devices actually consume? To answer this question, my gadget aficionado friend Doug and I used a WeMo smart plug to measure the power draw of the Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot, and Google Home while they were operating in different modes. Check out our results!
Having collected 55 new and innovative ideas from the past year, the demand-side management (DSM) team was in the final stages of narrowing down the list to the top five innovative residential DSM programs. The team ensured representation from a wide variety of programs and geographic regions—from educating real-estate agents in Massachusetts to selectively charging electric vehicles in California. Find out which made the final cut by attending the DSM Roundup 2017: Innovative Residential Programs web conference on Wednesday, February 8.
I had the privilege of speaking with Connie McIntyre and Sandra Broughton about their success in implementing a customer experience (CX) culture at AGL Resources. What struck me in talking to them was the perspective they brought to the task. McIntyre, vice president of CX, and Broughton, director of the CX Business Office, knew their CX journey would be more of a marathon than a sprint.
A content strategy may be the panacea your utility needs to resolve some of its communication maladies. A strategy for your content can help you understand what information you’re putting into the marketplace, how customers should react to that content, and your overarching content goals. It’s not enough to simply create lots of content without managing it, updating it, and retiring it; nor is it enough to simply check the spelling and grammar in your media. You need an overall strategy to tie these tactics together. A crucial first step in developing a content strategy is writing your core strategy statement. We’ve got an exercise to get you started.
In 2016, additional states legalized marijuana, more people implemented voice-activated smart home hubs, and representatives from 200 countries passed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol. These are just a few energy-related trends we discuss in our new Top 20 Technologies and Trends of 2016 report. It’s fun to look back at what happened over the course of 2016, but it’s also valuable to think about what those trends mean for 2017.
Because President-elect Trump, as well as some of his advisors and cabinet nominees, regularly expresses disdain for climate-change regulations, many think that the new administration will obstruct international and domestic statutes phasing down hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) usage. The situation is actually more complex. With the HVAC and chemical industries in the United States supporting the statutes, US backing of an HFC phasedown may survive the change in administration.
Because water treatment and distribution consume large amounts of energy, encouraging water efficiency could lead to profound energy savings, but very few energy utilities actively promote water conservation. Luckily, by adopting a more holistic view and targeting inefficiencies in the treatment, distribution, and end-use stages of water use, energy utilities can work toward a more efficient and resilient energy and water system. Our new report examines some specific technologies and approaches that can improve energy efficiency by reducing waste in the water system.
As the new US administration takes shape and threatens to scrap the Clean Power Plan and our commitment to the Paris Agreement, there’s never been a more important time to step up our efficiency activities and bolster the over $9 billion we spend annually on efficiency across North America. The majority of this funding is controlled at the state level, not the federal, so states should continue their important work in energy efficiency, vastly accelerating investments where possible. E Source remains your partner in this ongoing effort, and we’re here to help.
Eight more states voted in favor of legalized marijuana. In all, 28 US states now permit people to use marijuana medically, and 8 states plus the District of Columbia allow citizens 21 and older to use pot recreationally. That means roughly 47 million people over the age of 21 are now living in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal. This sweeping movement to change the legal status of cannabis is spreading nationwide more quickly than industry observers expected. The result has been a rapid growth in business activities related to pot cultivation that will have major implications on energy consumption and will present resource and reliability challenges for many utilities. Is your utility ready?