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The Qualitative Implications of Grid Vulnerability

The security of the U.S. electric grid (and, indeed, the electric grid of most countries) has been the subject of much angst, study and debate. The events of September 11, 2001, as well as natural disasters along the east coast of the United States and the rolling blackout of 2003 have all led engineers, policy […]

The Implications of Ikea Selling Solar Panels

In an earlier post on this blog, I asked: “How soon will it be before we see retail behemoths like Wal-Mart go from exiting the grid at their warehouse facilities, to actually selling Wal-Mart generated electricity to their customers (want to refuel your electric vehicle at a lower cost than at home? Just top off […]

The Implications of Google as an Electric Utility

On September 17, Google announced that its energy subsidiary (aptly named, Google Energy) will purchase all of the electricity produced by the 240 megawatt Happy Hereford wind farm, which will be built near Amarillo, Texas. Google Energy has a license to buy and sell electricity, just like any traditional utility. Google also operates a large […]

The Implications of NREL’s “Energy Systems Integration Facility”

Recently, I participated in a spirited debate on LinkedIn with several industry colleagues on the future of the electrical grid. The debate was spurred by an article in Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek Magazine with the provocative title, “Why the U.S. Power Grid’s Days are Numbered.” Most who participated in the conversation felt that the grid is going […]

U.S. Electric Utilities are Dead: Long Live the Utilities!

The debate about the future of the U.S. electric utility industry is heating up. How will utilities handle the growing demands on the existing electrical grid from advances in technology? To what extent will utility companies be able to fend off competition from micro grids and local generation, including such things as rooftop solar installations? […]

The Implications of Transactive Energy

“Transactive energy” may represent the new paradigm that will allow electric utilities to remain relevant in an era of ever-changing technologies and consumer behavior. The term does not have a standard definition but generally describes techniques for managing the generation, consumption or flow of electric power within an electric power system through the use of […]

The Implications of Solar Disruptions to the Electrical Grid

In an article on EnergyBiz, Ken Silverstein talks about the potential damage to the electrical grid from recent solar activity and the possible negative effects on the economy. There is another reason electric utilities should take this threat seriously: as Silverstein notes, long-distance transmission lines and the various switching stations needed to bring power from […]

The Growing Implications of Net Metering to Rate Payers, Utilities and Policy Makers

Net metering (the process where a home or business generating its own electricity can run its meter backward and sell any excess electricity it generates to the grid for a bill credit) continues to gain momentum in the United States. While the total number of customers using net meters remains relatively small, their numbers are […]

The First Step in Strategic Planning: Reducing “DKDK” Risk

In a recent Inc. Magazine article, Les McKeown describes a business adaptation of “Johari’s  Window.” Instead of the 4-part window originally developed in the mid-1950’s to help people understand their relationship with themselves and others, McKeown uses a circle representing everything you need to know to grow your business successfully: It is made up of […]

Why 93% of American Businesses are Concerned about Risk – and What Can Be Done About It

In a recent study conducted by financial services provider State Street and reported in the magazine, Strategic Risk (http://www.strategic-risk-global.com/story.aspx?source=NewsAnalNewsAlert&storycode=1403323), fully 93% of respondents in the Americas view improving the assessment and pricing of risk as a major challenge, while more than one-quarter of insurance companies around the world are experiencing difficulties in managing risk. The […]