A regional program established in North Carolina in 2009 designed to help universities increase energy efficiency and save money is expanding into a national effort with a mandate to curb greenhouse gas pollution in four states—Texas, Georgia, New York, and New Jersey—as well as Washington D.C. Climate Corps Public Sector, the forward thinking summer fellowship program developed by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), specially trains graduate students to seek out energy efficiency savings in local governments, higher education and other organizations.
Later this year 800 Arizona Public Service (APS) customers will participate in a two-year Home Energy Information pilot to test a range of smart technologies designed to provide them with more control over their energy use. Customers will be able to see their energy usage displayed in real time on countertop devices, personal computers, and smart phones, enabling them to change daily habits in response to the data they are given.
A new strategy by E.On, one of the UK’s leading energy companies, could provide to 15,000 with solar power installations costing as little as £99. Up to £150m is being invested in the SolarExchange plan which could see participating E.ON becoming more energy efficient, generating renewable power at home, and potentially cutting their electricity bills by up to £180 a year.
Texas Tech is collaborating with IBM and the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom on a research project to study the acceptance and impact of residential micro-generation systems, such as solar-powered technologies and micro turbines, on the public’s understanding and adoption of green initiatives and technologies. The project falls under the umbrella of smart energy, which encourages consumers to take energy conservation initiatives by generating their own power and then selling it back the excess to the grid.
New consumer research from British Gas found that more than eight million have not lowered their heating settings since January 2011. The utility also found that only 21 percent of the population is planning to make any energy efficiency improvements, missing out on the opportunity to save up to £322 a year from energy efficiency measures.
Green IT company Midas Medici Group Holdings announced plans to acquire WeatherWise Holdings. As part of the merger, WeatherWise will be rebranded UtiliPoint Analytics, allowing Midas to further leverage its Consonus and UtiliPoint brands as it sets out to monetize WeatherWise’s intellectual property and sophisticated technologies. The merger is expected to close by the end of April 2011.
Vancouver, Cisco and Pulse Energy are collaborating to develop Vancouver’s goals of advancing clean technology, developing a network of specialized partners, and improving energy efficiency and management. Beginning in 2010, the three partners implement technologies for building-energy management, home-energy management, urban carbon-footprint reduction, and data center efficiency.
Calico Energy Services has become an ENERGY STAR partner. Through its voluntary partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program, Calico will work with utilities and building managers to improve the energy efficiency of large commercial properties.
TXU Energy has announced a new multi-year purchase, installation, and service agreement with Comverge, Inc. The exclusive agreement enables TXU Energy to expand, with plans to deploy 100,000 smart energy efficiency devices such as TXU Energy iThermostats and TXU Energy PowerMonitors in homes and businesses throughout Texas by 2012.
The brutal heat wave punishing the American northeast has underscored the need for smart grid technologies. Bob Gilligan, vice president of General Electric’s Digital Energy business says it is imperative to invest overhauling the power infrastructure. “As record-breaking temperatures in the northeastern United States have consumers turning up their air conditioners, our overburdened electric grid is taking center stage,” he says. “The heat wave is causing spikes in power demand, increasing the probability of service disruptions. This provides an example of the demand levels the grid can expect to see in the future as penetration of electric heating and cooling continue to expand, and as new demands like plug-in electric vehicles enter the market.”