Inline with current trends to reduce C02 emissions and other harmful greenhouse gases the UK is pulling out all the stops to modernise its power grid infrastructure. Up and down the country, there are smart grid projects and pilot schemes to change the way they use, manage, supply and create electricity with the intention to use less, reduce its effect on the environment and reduce its cost. In partnership with the private sector and government UK universities are playing an important role to make these goals achievable.
NEC Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of NEC Corporation has completed the installation of 5.7MWh energy storage solution for the UK’s Northern Powergrid. The installations were across six sites including urban and rural locations as part of the Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR), an initiative pilot, test and develop a smart grid infrastructure across the UK.
Sweden is on the verge of developing the world’s smartest power grid systems, to serve the island of Gotland. With the help of Ventyx and some of the world’s leading technology solutions providers the island wants to harness its large quantities of wind and other renewable and distributed energy sources to serve its residents. Ventyx will deploy a comprehensive Distribution System Optimization solution encompassing network control, demand response management, demand forecasting and business analytics to support the project.
Of the over 30 energy suppliers in the UK, for some time, only British Gas was offering a smart energy management platform as part of their energy services. Customer needing an energy management solution would have to do it independently or use British Gas Hive. Through a joint partnership with Nest, the smart thermostat company, nPower is offering their own smart energy management service to compete with British Gas.
Last week EDF officially opened two of their new UK energy plants; West Burton Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Power Station and the Teesside Offshore Wind Farm. Both plants are part of a £3.5bn investment in the UK energy sector over the last three years. Part of this planned investment is to extend the lives of 15 nuclear reactors, build a new gas storage facility and a new nuclear power station.
Last year saw Microsoft sending a clear signal about their energy use, the company signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for wind energy in Texas. They have gone as far as defining their commitment to smarter energy use in their Global Public Policy Agenda. Going forward every business division within Microsoft will have to account for their energy use and their impact on the environment, even their use of air transport will be measured.
ZigBee Alliance has announced that a number of his members are working of developing a standard for the NAN. NAN is defined as a utility's last-mile, outdoor access network that connects smart meters and other utility devices to Wide Area Network (WAN) communication points. ZigBee pointed out that an important of the NAN standardization is to help seamless interoperability between utilities and product manufacturers.
Venstar has release new developer Application Programming Interface (API) for its ColorTouch Thermostats (Models T5800 and T5900). Now, developers can use ColorTouch's built-in API (in firmware updates 3.08 and newer) to create applications that will allow the thermostat to be controlled by third-party applications, including home automation companies.
Venture capital (VC) funding into smart grid technology companies came in at $405 million in 63 deals in 2013, compared to $434 million in 40 deals in 2012. Total corporate funding, including debt and public market financings, came to $579 million in 2013, compared to $506 million in 2012. There were 94 total VC investors in 2013, with 12 active investors participating in multiple deals. There were three IPOs in 2013 (including one in the fourth quarter), raising a combined $162.3 million.
In the next 5 months, BORG Energy India plans to roll out renewable energy to about 18,000 homes in northern India as part of a $45 US million investment in India’s market for rural electrification and EPC (engineering, procurement and construction). The energy will be provided by BORG Astra Plus Home Series, a Range of fully loaded micro solar power plants, specially designed to meet the energy needs of domestic households.