March 13: ComEd Offers Insights into Grid Investments

March 13

ComEd Offers Insights into Grid Investments

Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.

Member News

For its residential customers, ComEd of Illinois will highlight its energy grid investments by offering personalized reliability reports to be dispatched throughout the month. These reports will summarize the time percentage during which existing customers received power over the previous year, along with the number of outages experienced during that time. ComEd intends for this to provide an opportunity for comparison and contrast, and to showcase the percentage of time power was available for its municipality and customers.

DTE Energy is launching a pilot energy efficiency and bill assistance program that will help maintain service to customers behind on their bills, while also offering energy-efficient appliances and weatherization help to reduce future electricity bills. The program nearly doubles the size of DTE’s previous low-income efficiency offerings, according to a utility spokesperson. The pilot will begin this year and run until December 2021, with a goal of providing service to at least 500 customers at risk of a service shut-off annually.

As a means of achieving its stated goal of providing 100 percent clean energy by 2050, Ameren Illinois last week unveiled a plan to increase production of lower-cost renewable energy through targeted investment in rural and underserved communities. This will take the form of greater investment in renewable energy development, transportation electrification, and battery storage, with an eye on increasing solar energy production specifically. Ameren hopes to achieve this without sacrificing economic development benefits for customers.

Consumers Energy in Michigan has a big goal: to help their customers decrease their energy usage by two percent each year. To do that they need a technology partner like Uplight to increase energy savings for customers – all with a personalized, connected customer experience. Consumers launched an Orchestrated Energy pilot in 2019 as part of a plan to provide demand flexibility while the utility begins its transition to 90 percent renewables.

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Industry News

Utilities around the world will invest a total of around $30 billion over the next five years to install more than 300 million smart meters, bringing many of the world’s most populous countries to full deployment but leaving other parts of the globe with relatively low penetration. Cumulative investment in advanced metering infrastructure will rise to $127.6 billion by 2025, up from $97.4 billion this year, according to a new report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

An innovative solar project in Toledo will do triple duty when it’s completed this spring. It will provide renewable power to a nearby axle factory. It will use otherwise unproductive land. And hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of the project’s electricity will benefit nearby low-income communities. “I look at it all as part of improving the neighborhood … and getting more people involved by providing low-cost clean energy for a local manufacturer,” said local resident Brenda Sawyers. She chairs the Old West End Neighborhood Initiatives, an alliance of community groups that she and her husband Ernest organized in 2012.

About 95 percent of nearly 21 GW of energy resources currently proposed for the New England region are grid-scale wind, solar and battery projects, according to the Independent System Operator of New England (ISO-NE). The number "reflects a dramatic shift" in the grid operator’s interconnection queue, ISO-NE president and CEO Gordon van Welie said in a press call on Friday. Five years ago, the majority of projects sought by developers were natural gas resources, he said.

The U.S. energy storage industry capped off its biggest year of installations with its largest single quarter in Q4. U.S. energy storage installation topped 522.7 MW/1,113 MWh in 2019 as a whole and 186.4 MW/364.2 MWh in the fourth quarter, according to the newly released Energy Storage Monitor, produced by Wood Mackenzie and the Energy Storage Association. For years, those in the industry have argued that the ability to store and release electricity nearly instantaneously offers great operational benefits.


March 13: ComEd Offers Insights into Grid Investments