The UtilityXpert Roundup by EnergyX - April 2nd

In this week’s edition of the UtilityXpert Roundup, we explore an unusual, but rather innovative way to do resourcing for renewable energy projects. Elsewhere, Illinois is really making a name for themselves. Their utility regulators are killing it in the smart-grid cybersecurity space, and Ameren has teamed up with Opus One to test blockchain enablement of micro grid energy trading. Learn more about what’s happening by reading below…

In Illinois, utility regulators are playing bigger role in smart-grid cybersecurity (Energy News Network)

The nation’s increasingly networked electric grid is helping utilities to more efficiently manage loads, including from variable renewables. As data-collecting, internet-connected meters and sensors become ubiquitous, though, they’re also creating new vulnerabilities: countless entry points to be exploited by hackers.

The Illinois Commerce Commission opened its Office of Cybersecurity and Risk Management two years ago. It remains a unique example of how utility commissions are approaching cybersecurity.

Ameren and Opus One to Test Blockchain-Enabled Microgrid Energy Trading (Greentech Media)

Illinois utility will test the viability of a transactive energy marketplace, where rooftop solar systems, electric vehicles and home batteries can be real-time market players. This is the latest utility project to explore how distributed energy resources can be coordinated to serve as grid and energy market players, using blockchain. Like many pilots of its kind, it will run via software simulation at first, but also include Ameren’s state-of-the-art microgrid to eventually test it out under real-world conditions. 

Con Edison pilots new approach to increasing battery storage on its grid (Con Edison)

The latest in energy innovation from New York from ConEd. The project takes a unique approach to developing energy storage peak for peak reduction and grid load relief. The utility gave their energy developer a list of locations on the grid where batteries could benefit.

Crowdfunding: an untapped funding resource for renewable energy (Smart Energy International)

Small and innovative renewable energy projects battle to raise funds through formal channels.  One possible solution is to reach out to communities with an interest in those projects to help fund them through crowdfunding initiatives. While there has been a marked increase in the number of renewable energy projects being funded globally, these are traditionally larger projects generating in excess of 5MW, funded by traditional funders in the form of commercial banks and development finance institutions.

Not Your Parents’ Rate Review (EEI)

For decades, electric utilities have faced a predictable situation when it comes to filing regulatory rate reviews. Both sides would often file a rate that’s very different, and often an external stakeholder would get involved and mess things up.

Today, a rate review must be approached as a campaign from the start; a campaign that outlines clearly the benefits to the customers, regulators and many other stakeholders.
— Philip D. Moeller, Executive VP, Business Operations, EEI
Bruce Chen