The UtilityXpert Roundup by EnergyX - February 25th

In this week’s UtilityXpert roundup, we finally have a potential move on the PG&E situation; one that involves a big breakup. More news coming out of New Hampshire, positive funding in Candaa and also, some innovation coming out of Austin with HVAC and demand response systems.

Pacific Gas & Electric set to split (Smart Energy International)

In a submission to the California Public Utilities commission, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has claimed that the split will help improve safety – for which the utility has been under intense scrutiny since the Commission ordered a formal investigation in December of 2018.

Splitting the company between its electric and gas divisions could represent splitting and halving the risk. However, many reports have stated that the company began exploring the split months before filing for bankruptcy in late-January 2019. Some scenarios see PG&E would be able to pay some of its wildfire liabilities through the sale of its gas operations.

Designing Liberty Utilities' New Hampshire residential storage program (Utility Dive)

Instead of leaving battery storage deployment up to the private sector, Liberty Utilities is developing the second regulator-approved storage program for utility-owned behind-the-meter (BTM) in its New Hampshire territory.

Ultimately, New Hampshire will benefit from cost-savings, improved services, and reduced emissions, which is a great outcome – though it will take a little longer,
— Melissa Birchard, senior attorney, Conservation Law Foundation

Funding announced to accelerate transition to zero carbon buildings (Electric Energy Online)

Go Canada! Climate change is one of the defining environmental challenges of our time. Increasing education, awareness, and climate action through independent third parties will support Canada's efforts to protect the environment and transition to a cleaner economy.

On February 20, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced funding to the Canada Green Building Council, through the Climate Action Fund. The Canada Green Building Council, in Ottawa, Ontario, will receive up to $496,333 in funding through the Climate Action Fund.

Innovative project tests the boundaries of HVAC demand response systems (Electric Light and Power)

Austin-based Pecan Street announced this week that it will conduct the field testing and data management for a $2.9 million University of Michigan study that will tackle two of the electricity industry’s biggest challenges – management of renewables intermittency and management of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) load growth – the latter of which is projected to be one of the top drivers of global electricity demand and carbon emissions over the next few decades.

Air conditioners and electric cooling fans account for nearly 20 percent of the electricity used in the world’s buildings and is “one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate.”
— Electric Light and Power
Bruce Chen