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ADDISON, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--N-Dimension Solutions, a market leading Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) with innovative solutions that protect smart energy networks from cyber threats, announced Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative (MVEC) has deployed N-Sentinel Monitoring to help safeguard all of the utility’s IT and operations networks and data. N-Sentinel provides the utility with insights into their network traffic to assure their piece of the power grid and member information remains safe and secure from cyber threats. MVEC is a Minnesota-based distribution cooperative that delivers electric service to its 41,000 members across a 968 square mile service area. The 4-member MVEC IT team is stretched thin with responsibility for supporting the communications and computing infrastructure and services for the utility’s 85 employees as well as the operations networks, which includes multiple smart grid applications such as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Outage Management System (OMS), Distribution Automation (DA) and Demand Response. The N-Sentinel Monitoring service is an extension of the IT team providing around the clock monitoring of the IT and OT networks, delivering timely threat intelligence and expert security guidance to help the utility reduce risk and improve their security posture. “After reviewing how much cybersecurity insight N-Sentinel Monitoring provides, we realized we couldn’t afford to not subscribe,” said Jeff Hanson, Information Technology Supervisor, MVEC. “I would have to employ a full-time security analyst and invest in a range of additional tools to gain access to the valuable information and expertise I get with N-Sentinel.” For example, early this year, there was a lot of chatter about Grizzly Steppe – the Russian civilian and military intelligence Services (RIS) malware associated with a potential grid infiltration of a Vermont cooperative utility. The CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) alerted cooperative utility executives, including MVEC’s CEO, about the potential Grizzly Steppe threat. As a result, Hanson received an email from MVEC’s CEO inquiring how confident he was that their utility was protected from Grizzly Steppe and similar Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). Hanson responded by sharing with him the N-Sentinel Flash Alert, which included specific details about Grizzly Steppe. Furthermore, Hanson informed MVEC CEO that he had contacted N-Dimension’s team of cybersecurity experts directly, and they verified there was no presence of Grizzly Steppe threat signatures identified on MVEC’s network, nor had any been found on the networks of other N-Dimension customers. Hanson indicated that this type of analysis in response to breaking threat news is a very effective and important element in MVEC’s security program. “This was a great example of utilizing the intelligence and awareness provided via the N-Sentinel service to help me assure our CEO and Board members of our capability to respond to the ever-changing threat landscape,” stated Hanson. “Intrusions can happen in minutes and detection can take months. It’s proven that early awareness can make a significant difference in reducing potential cyber threat damage,” said Tom Ayers, president and CEO, N-Dimension. “We provide utilities with threat knowledge and expert guidance to enable them to take timely and appropriate actions to reduce risk exposure.” Upcoming events in which N-Dimension will be participating include the Kansas Municipal Utilities Conference (May 3-5); American Public Power Engineering & Operations Technical Conference (May 7-10); and Electric Cities of Georgia Engineering & Operations Conference (June 7-9). N-Dimension is a market leading Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) with innovative solutions tailored to protect smart energy networks from cyber attacks, improving system reliability and safeguarding critical infrastructure, data and assets. The company’s N-Sentinel line of services delivers vigilance, detecting and alerting on cyber threats. It combines cloud-based security intelligence and cybersecurity experts to deliver actionable guidance that enables utilities to take timely, preemptive action to protect themselves against cyber threats and vulnerabilities. Company headquarters are in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada and U.S. headquarters are located in Addison, Texas. N-Dimension is the exclusive cybersecurity partner of Hometown Connections; and associate member of the American Public Power Association (APPA), National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and Electricity Distributors Association (EDA). For more information about N-Sentinel and to request a free trial, visit our website at www.n-dimension.com. Please follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn; check us out on YouTube and CrunchBase.


News Article | November 14, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

Although snowbound in winter, Colorado is also famous for its sunny skies. In fact, Pueblo Colorado ties 7th place as the sunniest US city, according to NOAA’s annual average % possible sunshine ranking, with an average of 76%. Only Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas have sunnier cities. It’s no wonder, then, that Colorado ranks high in the US for installed solar energy capacity. According to the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Colorado ranks #9 in its ranking of the top 10 states for total installed solar capacity. Growing 117% over 2014, 146 megawatts (MW) of solar were installed in 2015 alone, making Colorado’s current total 599 MW. At 599 MW, this is enough solar energy installed in Colorado to power 114,000 homes. SEIA projects that, over the next 5 years, Colorado will install another 1,878 MW of solar capacity, more than 5 times the amount of solar installed in Colorado in the last 5 years. Over 382 companies contribute to the full value chain in Colorado’s solar market, employing nearly 5,000 people. Following solar investments in the state, $305 million was invested in solar installation during 2015, representing a 44% increase over 2014. Significant growth in solar investments in Colorado for 2016 is also expected. Currently, Xcel Energy has around 370 MW of Colorado’s 599 MW solar power on its system, and approximately 230 MW of that comes from rooftop PV systems. This high percentage of power gives Xcel Energy quite an advantage when it comes to driving Colorado’s solar rates and policies. In the past few years, Xcel has been beating the war drums, attempting to persuade Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to reduce benefits being realized by rooftop solar customers. In August 2015, solar advocates in Colorado believed their latest troubles were finally over when a year-long debate over net metering ended with no rate reductions. But it was clear the fight was not yet over when Xcel introduced a proposed grid-use fee last spring. Arranged on a sliding scale, the proposed fee ranged from $2.62 per month for customers using fewer than 200 kWh per month, to $44.79 for consumption of 1,401 kWh or more per month. It also proposed lowering the customers’ volumetric charge to help offset the fixed cost increase. Solar proponents rallied once again and argued that “the rate proposal would undermine the economic benefits of installing residential solar by introducing an unavoidable fee and lowering the per-kilowatt-hour charge, which decreases the net metering credit solar customers receive for excess electricity sent back to the grid.” The SEIA reports that installed solar PV system prices in the US have dropped by 12% from last year and 66% from 2010. In 2016, the latest data indicates that the average installed cost of solar in the US is just below $3.50/watt for residential and $2.00/watt for commercial installations. Of course, everyone’s needs are unique, so it is always best to get a personalized solar quote, but at $3.50/watt, this means that in Colorado it currently costs about $17,500 to buy an average-size (5 kW) system. The federal ITC of 30% will reduce this out-of-pocket cost by about $5,250, and you can expect an additional savings of about $1,224/yr ($102/mo) in estimated energy savings. This total reduction works out to be about $6,474, so the first-year cost of installing a 5 kW solar PV system would be around $11,026. Granted, the monthly energy savings estimate is based on 2011 data, but over the course of 20 years this still works out to be about $24,480, or a net gain of about $12,230 for a 5 kW system installed in 2016. That’s a great return on your investment and we didn’t even calculate the additional gain you might make selling your excess electricity back to the utility under Colorado’s current net metering rate of $0.1243 kWh according to EIA! And what’s more, even if you don’t stay in your home for the full 20 years, the sales value of your home increases significantly from the first moment your solar system is installed. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), every kilowatt of solar installed on your roof will increase your home’s sales value by an average of $5,911. A 5 kW system will add $29,555 to your home’s value, so even if you sell after one year, you could potentially pay off your ($11,026) solar system and still make $18,529 on your investment! As an enlightened source of energy in a nation increasingly challenging consumers of solar power, Colorado is blazing a bright path to a clean, renewables future. It’s been blazing this trail since 2004, as the first state to adopt a Renewable Energy Standard. Tirelessly carving a trail through political skirmishes and scuffles, Colorado has served as a solar energy guide to new business models — most recently becoming a pioneer in the shared solar energy market. In January 2016, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and GRID Alternatives launched a pilot optimizing the community solar model to reduce energy costs for low-income customers. The pilot proposed five demonstration projects, building a total of 579 kW of shared solar, or community solar gardens (CSGs). Colorado Energy Office Director Jeff Ackermann stated, “Colorado has always been a leader in renewable energy, and now we take another innovative step forward as we create community solar models that are more affordable and available to Colorado rural electric cooperatives and the low-income communities they serve.” CSGs provide access to solar energy generation for renters, people living in multi-family housing, or who are not able to take advantage of solar for any number of other reasons, including roof conditions and shady locations, but especially low income. And, if approved by Colorado’s PUC, VoteSolar’s Rick Gilliam noted, the recent settlement agreement reached this past August will significantly expand solar access across the state, especially among low-income consumers. The new settlement will add to Colorado’s already successful CSG shared solar program in several key ways, including that Xcel will take on a 5% low-income participation requirement and there will also be an incremental 4 MW/year CSG program offering 100% low-income participation. Gilliam explained, “Affordable solar offers an exciting opportunity to address some of the biggest financial and health challenges facing low-income families.” Today, according to Shared Renewables HQ, 14 states and Washington, DC have policies in place for shared renewables and CSGs, and many more states are working to expand access to shared renewable energy resources. Check out this quick Youtube clip from Colorado News Channel 13 about Colorado’s Solar Gardens: Finally reaching a settlement agreement in August 2016, the Xcel’s proposed grid fee was killed and net metering was once again saved from manipulation. Instead, according to the settlement, the utility “will institute time-of-use rates on a trial basis in anticipation of moving to time-of-use rates as the default rate design for residential customers.” The time-of-use (TOU) rate pilot proposes to help Xcel assign an appropriate value for electricity that is produced when it’s most valuable. New voluntary programs will be offered to up to 20,000 customers in 2017. In 2018, it will be extended to 34,000 customers, and to 48,000 customers in 2019. The results of the pilot program will be studied for broad implementation of TOU rates in 2020. More than 24 parties signed on to the agreement, including Colorado Public Utilities Commission staff; the Office of Consumer Counsel; several clean energy, consumer, and environmental groups; Walmart; VoteSolar; and the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA). COSEIA Board President John Bringenberg stated, “This settlement signals cooperation rather than confrontation, which COSEIA believes is the most productive way to advance solar, allow citizens and companies to own clean energy rather than rent dirty fossil fuel, and impact catastrophic climate change.” He noted, “We must work with Xcel and other stakeholders to support the competitive solar industry.” The CPUC is expected to make a final decision on the settlement filing by the end of 2016. It is not unanimously supported, and some groups that signed on have requested some changes. For example, Xcel’s proposed Solar*Connect program has been requested to be changed to Renewable*Connect. This program would allow Xcel to build a solar plant up to 50 MW in size and sell shares of the facility to the public. The settlement agreement also changed Xcel’s 2017 Renewable Energy Plan, calling for expanding clean energy resources in a “measured and economically reasonable way.” Adding 225 MW of solar capacity to Xcel’s Solar*Rewards program from 2017–2019, the settlement specifies 123 MW should come from small-scale solar projects. Over the same three-year period, the settlement also requests up to 105 MW of community solar gardens (CSGs) be developed, carving out an additional 12 MW for low-income customers. This adds up to a total of 342 MW of new solar capacity slated for installment in 2017–2019. Limited numbers of low-income solar program participants will be offered solar rooftops, coupled with the Colorado Energy Office’s weatherization program that leverages DOE funding, and Xcel will also provide a $2/W rebate. With a total of 300 participants, the low-income solar program will be offered to 75 participants in 2017, 100 in 2018, and 125 participants in 2019. Alice Jackson, Xcel Energy’s regional vice president for rates and regulatory affairs, hailed the recent settlement agreement. “It will allow us to meet our customers’ expectations” she stated, “by giving them more control over their energy choices. It will bring more renewable and carbon-free energy to Colorado through the use of new technologies, and it will provide affordable and reliable energy to further power the state’s economy.” Likewise encouraged, Rick Gilliam, Vote Solar’s Program Director of DG Regulatory Policy stated, “Colorado is already a leader in many ways when it comes to our nation’s growing solar economy.” He continued, “This settlement means more good news for Colorado. It will ensure that more of the state’s energy consumers will have the opportunity to benefit from the local jobs, energy bill savings, and cleaner air that solar delivers.” Gilliam continued, “The agreement also recognizes the importance of good regulatory process through a series of subsequent stakeholder workshops in several important technical and policy areas when deciding these critical solar issues. We look forward to participating in those future conversations to help keep Colorado shining.” The following is an in-depth exploration of the state of solar energy in Colorado. Please feel free to offer further contributions in the comments, below. Available within every state of the US, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) offers credit from the federal government of up to 30% of a solar installation’s total costs. However, this credit can only be taken full advantage of if you have that much tax liability in the tax year. The current law extends the federal ITC through 2019 and will be phased out after that. Corporate depreciation incentives are also available for business, as well as a Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC-1603), and a Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC). The following is a limited selection of state solar energy incentives listed for Colorado in the DSIRE Incentives Database. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) website is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University and offers up-to-date, comprehensive public information on specific solar energy incentives across the US, including state and federal policies, programs, and incentives. • Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Geothermal Electric, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Photovoltaics, Wind (All), Biomass, Hydroelectric, Wind (Small), Hydroelectric (Small), Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels • Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Local Government, Nonprofit, Residential, Schools, State Government, Low Income Residential, Institutional • Applicable Utilities: All utilities (except municipal utilities with less than 5,000 customers) • System Capacity Limit: IOU customers: 120% of the customer’s average annual consumption. Municipality and co-op customers: 25 kW for non-residential; 10 kW for residential. • Aggregate Capacity Limit: No limit specified. Community solar gardens: 6 MW/yr for 2011-2013; set by PUC thereafter • Net Excess Generation: Credited to customer’s next bill at retail rate. After 12-month cycle, IOU customers may opt to roll over credit indefinitely or to receive payment at IOU’s average hourly incremental cost. Municipality and co-ops provide annual reconciliation at a rate they deem appropriate. • Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits: Customer owns RECs • Meter Aggregation: Allowed for IOU customers. Community solar gardens are allowed Note: Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission opened a proceeding (14M-0235E) in March 2014 for considering changes to net metering and other issues related to retail renewable distributed generation. However, this docket was closed in August 2015 after the Commission voted to keep the current net metering rules. Eligibility and Availability: Net metering was adopted by the Colorado PUC in December 2005. Utilities must provide net metering service at non-discriminatory rates to customer-generators. Utilities must provide a single bi-directional meter free of charge to customer-generators who do not already own one. A second meter is required for systems over 10 kW to measure output for the counting of renewable energy credits (RECs). Net Excess Generation: Monthly net excess generation (NEG) is applied on a 1-for-1 basis as a kilowatt-hour (kWh) credit to the customer’s next bill. At the end of the year, or upon termination, the NEG must be reimbursed to the customer by the utility at the most recent year’s average hourly incremental cost. Net metering customers may choose to have their NEG carried forward from month-to-month indefinitely, but this one-time only option must be done in writing on or before the end of the calendar year. It’s a pretty bad idea, though, because all kWh credits carried forward will be lost upon terminating service with the utility. Renewable Energy Credits: Customer-generators retain ownership of RECs associated with energy generated by the customer-generator’s system. Utilities may acquire RECs by purchasing them from customer-generators vis a standard offer with a minimum term of 20 years if the system is less than 100 kW. Meter Aggregation: A customer with more than one meter located on contiguous property can choose to have their generator offset the load measured at more than one meter. Aggregating meters under net metering requires that all affected meters must be on the same rate schedule and needs a 30-day notice to the utility, specifying the order in which kWh credits will be applied to the multiple meters. Municipal Utilities and Electric Cooperatives: Colorado law enacted in March 2008 (H.B. 1160) requires all electric coops as well as all municipal utilities with over 5,000 customers to offer net metering for residential systems up to 10 kW and commercial and industrial systems up to 25 kW. NEG follows the same rules as above, receiving 1-for-1 credit in following months, and reimbursed at the end of an annual period. Eligibility and Availability: Colorado enacted the Community Solar Gardens (CSGs) Act in 2010, allowing for the creation of CSGs of up to 2 megawatts in an IOU’s service territory (H.B. 1342). H.B. 15-1377 was enacted in 2015, specifying that CSGs can be located in an electric coop’s service territory and used for complying with the retail distributed generation requirements of Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard. CSGs may be owned by a nonprofit, for-profit organization, or even the utility itself, but must have at least 10 subscribers, unless the CSG is in the territory of an electric coop and the system size is under 50 kW. Subscribers can purchase up to 40% of the electricity produced by the array, receiving kWh credits on their utility bills relative to the subscription amount. Unless owned by a low-income subscriber, CSG subscriptions must be for at least 1 kW. No more than 120% of the subscriber’s annual energy consumption may be supplied by the CGS. H.B. 15-1284, enacted May 2015, added the note that the CSG subscribers must be “located in the service territory of the same qualifying retail utility and also in the same county as, or a county adjacent to, that of the community solar garden.” Net Excess Generation: If a CSG subscriber has a NEG in a monthly billing period, the credit will offset future consumption, rolling over from month-to-month indefinitely until the customer terminates service with the IOU, at which time any remaining billing credits expire. Aggregate Cap: Since 2015, IOUs began acquiring renewable energy from CSGs as part of their renewable portfolio standard compliance plan. Also, a minimum of 5% of an IOU’s purchases from CSGs must be reserved for subscribers in low-income brackets. • Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Equipment Last updated: 07/21/2015 • Local Option — Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems Last updated: 10/08/2015 • City of Boulder — Solar Sales and Use Tax Rebate Last updated: 01/25/2016 • Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Schools Loan Last updated: 07/21/2015 With Xcel’s settlement agreement in August 2016 to withdraw its proposed grid-use fee, the utility stated that, instead, it “will institute time-of-use rates on a trial basis in anticipation of moving to time-of-use rates as the default rate design for residential customers.” New voluntary programs will be launched by Xcel Energy for up to 20,000 customers in 2017, 34,000 in 2018, and 48,000 in 2019. These programs will be carefully followed and studied for a broader TOU program to be launched in 2020. According to VoteSolar, customers who opt into the test TOU program will have a 2-month window to cancel if they don’t like it. Lauren Randall, Sunrun’s senior manager of public policy, stated that she sees time-of-use rates as a “beneficial compromise” as opposed to changing net metering rates and adding new fees. Randall said, “We think moving forward this could be a model for utilities and solar companies collaborating on rates that are good for consumers who want more energy choice.” She also noted that TOU rates benefit all ratepayers “by producing energy when the grid needs it.” More hearings are ongoing, but the Colorado PUC anticipates a final decision on this latest settlement by the end of 2016. The adoption and integration of distributed energy storage are making steady progress in Colorado. A panel discussion in April 2015 held by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) investigated a broad range of energy storage topics. Participants delved into such issues as costs, economics, anticipated growth rate, and regulatory changes relevant to energy storage strategies for residential, commercial, and industrial customers. Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) Energy Storage Program Senior Project Manager Ben Kaun outlined the beneficial functions offered with energy storage. Kaun emphasized that energy storage functions as a “capacity resource, supporting the grid through flexible ramping, voltage control, and renewable integration, and providing grid reliability and resiliency services.” SolarCity’s Ryan Hanley outlined the trending decline in battery prices, and increase in customer interest in utilizing storage systems with solar installations. Hanley described SolarCity as “bullish on energy storage,” and reported that the company anticipates all solar PV installations will include a storage component by 2020. Hanley emphasized to the Commission that policies are needed to recognize the full advantage of distributed storage and allow participants to profit from those advantages. He also pointed out the need for a widespread deployment of smart inverters to ensure the fullest range of benefits from distributed energy storage. Following up on this panel discussion, the CPUC approved Xcel Energy’s request last spring to launch two energy storage demonstration projects. The settlement agreement, signed in March 2016, authorized Xcel to invest $9.1 million for the two projects that will test energy storage applications, one of which will include a microgrid strategy, as well. Known as the Panasonic Project, the first test will feature a utility-scale solar generation plant with one large battery installed by Xcel near Denver International Airport. The Panasonic Project will be connected to the regional grid but will have the capability to operate as a microgrid, as well. Known as the Stapleton Project, the second application will feature 6 batteries installed on the customer side of the meter at homes with rooftop solar already present. Xcel will also install another 6 batteries on that area’s feeder line which receives significant electricity flowing from distributed generation. These batteries will be purposely utilized for storing excess energy to be discharged during peak load hours. All of the resulting information and data from these two projects will be made publicly available. The PUC noted that milestone reports will provide greater public visibility, “ensuring that costs for the projects would be appropriately vetted in a future rate proceeding, and assuring that all resulting data and information that would benefit the public will be made available to the PUC and the public as a whole.” Xcel Energy stated that it will be “evaluating the capabilities of batteries installed on distribution feeders to regulate voltage, reduce peak demand, and reduce energy costs for the benefit of all the company’s customers.” • Alamosa Solar Generating Project — completed in 2012 by developer Cogentrix. This concentrating photovoltaics project has the capacity to generate 30 MW of electricity — enough to power over 5,400 Colorado homes. • Hooper Solar Project — At 50 MW, Hooper Solar Project is among the larger solar installations in Colorado. Completed in 2016 by SunPower, this PV project produces enough electric capacity to power over 9,500 homes. • Kohl’s, REI, Safeway, Walmart, and Intel — These are among the larger retailers in Colorado that have gone solar. Intel has installed one of the largest corporate photovoltaic systems in the state with 1,000 kW of solar capacity at their location in Fort Collins. According to SEIA, there are currently over 382 solar companies employed throughout the value chain in Colorado, ranging from solar system manufacturers to system installers. The following is an incomplete listing of solar installers in Colorado, chosen and listed based on high customer reviews and recommendations: Sunlight Solar Energy, Inc. (Colorado Branch) 384 Garden of the Gods Road, #150, Colorado Springs, CO 80907 Colorado State Energy Office – Find a wide variety of information on state government energy programs, policy, projects, energy-saving strategies and energy-related statistics Colorado State Legislature – Track pending legislation affecting solar energy, locate and contact individual legislators, and stay up to date on current legislative issues in Colorado Colorado Public Utilities Commisssion – Learn about the governing body that regulates the electricity rates and services of California public utilities DSIRE Incentives Database – Colorado – Search a public clearinghouse for specific solar energy incentives in Colorado and across the United States U.S. Energy Information Administration – Colorado State Profile – Explore official energy statistics, including data on electricity supply and demand, from the U.S. government Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


News Article | December 16, 2016
Site: www.marketwired.com

LITTLE ROCK, AR--(Marketwired - December 16, 2016) - On Dec. 7, America commemorated the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Nine days later, an organization in Little Rock, Ark., will likewise celebrate 75 years of existence. On Dec. 16, 1941, in support of the American war effort, 11 electric utilities agreed to pool their resources to keep power flowing to Jones Mill -- an aluminum production facility outside Malvern, Ark. President Franklin Roosevelt's wartime goal to produce 50,000 airplanes per year had created the need for huge quantities of aluminum, and Jones Mill's operation would require 120 megawatts of power -- exceeding its home state's installed capacity of 100 MW at the time. From the utilities' partnership, Southwest Power Pool (SPP) was formed, and the new organization was successful in pooling power to support the plant. After the war, SPP continued as a leader providing safe, reliable power to U.S. homes. SPP today is a regional transmission organization (RTO): a not-for-profit, federally regulated service organization that ensures the reliable operation of a portion of the nation's power grid on behalf of its member companies, with more than 50,000 MW in capacity. SPP describes itself as the air-traffic controller of the power grid. Air-traffic controllers do not own the airports in which they operate or the planes they direct but are responsible for ensuring air travelers depart, fly and land safely. Similarly, SPP does not own the power stations it directs or the transmission lines across which electricity flows in its footprint, but it partners with generators, transmission owners, municipalities, power marketers, state and federal agencies, electric cooperatives and others to ensure the cost-effective and reliable delivery of power across a 14-state region. Though SPP works at the wholesale level and thus doesn't directly serve end users and ratepayers, it does benefit them. A recent study conducted by SPP and validated by the Brattle Group showed transmission investments in the SPP region had, on average, a benefit-to-cost ratio of 3.5-to-1. That means every dollar spent to build or upgrade transmission lines throughout SPP's region will ultimately produce $3.50 in electricity production cost savings and other benefits. In addition to planning transmission infrastructure, SPP facilitates the sale and purchase of electricity through its Integrated Marketplace, a wholesale electric market. SPP's marketplace launched in 2014 and has since reduced the cost of electricity in the organization's region by more than $1 billion. These and other services provide net benefits to SPP's members in excess of $1.4 billion annually at an overall benefit-to-cost ratio of more than 10-to-1. For the typical end-use customer using 1,000 kWh per month that means $68 of benefits a year at the cost of just 62 cents monthly. Or, put another way, without the services SPP provides its members, a ratepayer's $100 electric bill would be $105.65. Throughout its 75 years, SPP has evolved and grown from an affiliation of 11 companies with a common goal in 1941 to an organization employing about 600 professionals in support of nearly 100 member companies across a region spanning from the Canadian border in the north to Louisiana in the south and from southeastern Missouri to northwestern Montana. SPP attributes its legacy of success to the strength of its stakeholder relationships. In the foreword to a book published this year chronicling SPP's history, its President and CEO Nick Brown said, "Reliability is job one for SPP. We exist to help our members keep the lights on, today and in the future. We do so not through hard work, innovation or efficiency, though each is a necessary component of our success. For SPP, reliability is accomplished through strong, healthy relationships with those we serve." Because of the strength of those relationships, its legacy of success and deliberate focus on continuous improvement and building consensus among its members, SPP has every reason to think its future is just as bright as its history. Southwest Power Pool, Inc. manages the electric grid and wholesale energy market for the central United States. As a regional transmission organization, the nonprofit corporation is mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices. Southwest Power Pool and its diverse group of member companies coordinate the flow of electricity across 60,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines spanning 14 states. The company is headquartered in Little Rock, Ark. Learn more at www.spp.org. Acciona Wind Energy USA, LLC; American Electric Power (AEP Oklahoma Transmission Company, Inc.; AEP Southwestern Transmission Company, Inc.; Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Southwestern Electric Power Company); Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation; Basin Electric Power Cooperative; Board of Public Utilities of Kansas City, Kansas; Boston Energy Trading and Marketing, LLC; Calpine Energy Services, L.P.; Cargill Power Markets LLC; Central Power Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Cielo Wind Services, Inc.; City of Coffeyville; City of Independence, Missouri; City Utilities of Springfield; Clarksdale Public Utilities Commission; Cleco Power, LLC; Corn Belt Power Cooperative; CPV Renewable Energy Company, LLC; Dogwood Energy, LLC; DTE Energy Trading, Inc.; Duke Energy Transmission Holding Company, LLC; Duke-American Transmission Company, LLC; Dynegy Power Marketing, Inc.; East River Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.; East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc.; EDP Renewables North America LLC; El Paso Marketing Company, LLC; Enel Green Power North America, Inc.; Entergy Asset Management; Entergy Services, Inc.; Exelon Generation Company, LLC; Flat Ridge 2 Wind Energy, LLC; Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC; Grand River Dam Authority; Harlan Municipal Utilities; Heartland Consumers Power District; Hunt Transmission Services, LLC; ITC Great Plains, LLC; Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company); Kansas Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.; Kansas Municipal Energy Agency; Kansas Power Pool (KPP); Lafayette Utilities System; Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Lincoln Electric System; Louisiana Energy and Power Authority; Luminant Energy Company, LLC; Mid-Kansas Electric Company, LLC; Midwest Energy, Inc.; Midwest Gen, LLC; Missouri Joint Municipal EUC; Missouri River Energy Services; Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative; Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska; Nebraska Public Power District, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC; NextEra Energy Transmission, LLC; Noble Americas Gas & Power Corp; Northeast Nebraska Public Power District; Northeast Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative; NorthWestern Energy; NRG Power Marketing, LLC; OGE Transmission, LLC; Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company; Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority; Omaha Public Power District, Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC; Prairie Wind Transmission, LLC; Public Service Commission of Yazoo City; Public Service Company of Oklahoma; Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative; Shell Energy North America (US), L.P.; South Central MCN, LLC; Southwestern Electric Power Company; Southwestern Power Administration; Sunflower Electric Power Corporation; Tenaska Power Services Co.; Tex-La Electric Cooperative of Texas, Inc.; The Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District; The Empire District Electric Company; Transource Energy, LLC; Transource Missouri, LLC; Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.; Westar Energy, Inc. (Kansas Gas and Electric Company); Western Area Power Administration - Upper Great Plains Region; Western Farmers Electric Cooperative; Williams Power Company, Inc.; Xcel Energy (Southwestern Public Service Company, Xcel Energy Southwest Transmission Company, LLC); XO Energy SW, LP.


News Article | November 18, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

California Municipal Utilities Association (“CMUA”) Board of Directors announced November 10 that Barry Moline has been named Executive Director for CMUA. Moline will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the execution of CMUA’s mission to represent the common interests of the diverse coalition of California’s publicly-owned utilities and water agencies. Mr. Moline previously served as the executive director of the Florida Municipal Electric Association since 1996. Before joining FMEA, he worked in Washington, D.C. for the American Public Power Association. In addition, he served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Guatemala. Michelle Bertolino, CMUA President stated that “Barry brings leadership and passion for our mission, and we’re confident he will be a strong steward engaging the community, our membership, and the industry stakeholders. The Board was looking for a rare combination of talent and we feel we have found that with Barry. He will be a great fit for the culture and work of CMUA.” Moline will join the CMUA staff on January 23, 2017. Moline’s resume includes over 20 years of leadership and management experience. He brings extensive experience in energy planning, policy development, regulation and energy efficiency. Moline’s managerial strengths and facilitation and consensus-building skills will provide excellent guidance and leadership to members and staff. CMUA was formed in 1932 and represents the common interests of a diverse coalition of California’s publicly-owned utilities and water agencies before statewide jurisdictional bodies and provides a forum to develop and discuss statewide policy issues affecting its members. CMUA effectively advocates on behalf of its members by providing a better understanding of issues relevant to the State’s publicly owned utilities and disseminating accurate information regarding its members. CMUA’s strength is derived from the diversity of its membership allowing CMUA to be a persuasive advocate for the advancement of public policies that mutually benefit its members and the State of California.


Announced: The Next-Generation Utility-Locating and Planning Tool for Municipalities and Public Utilities The Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority (TRMUA) has partnered with Meemim Corp., a developer of knowledge-management software and mixed-reality applications, to create the next-generation pipe and cable locating tool for municipalities, public utilities and contractor services. The upcoming release blends Meemim’s knowledge-management platform, ArcGIS (by ESRI), and advanced mixed-reality (MR) technology. The platform is the first of its kind in the world. The Meemim vGIS application leverages Microsoft HoloLens to deliver real-time in-field holographic visualization of underground pipes, valves, cables and other utility objects, including related information and support materials. The system combines object holograms with object-specific data to provide a hands-free method for field technicians to understand the infrastructure they need to service while on site. “The TRMUA has built a robust Geographic Information System (GIS) using ESRI’s ArcGIS Online Services. With our utility infrastructure and data now online, we can have real-time collaboration with our field crews,” says Len Bundra, IT/GIS Director of Toms River MUA. “Field workers can now literally ‘see’ utility lines beneath their feet, when viewed through the Microsoft HoloLens. This takes GIS to a whole new dimension of dynamic mapping and data retrieval.” In-field trials show that the system speeds up planning, shortens in-field work time, reduces errors and improves safety. “Current utility-locating equipment doesn’t take advantage of the wealth of data that already exists in municipal databases,” notes Alec Pestov, CEO of Meemim. “Toms River MUA has a vision of how utility systems management should evolve, and we’re pleased to be their technology partner to bring their vision to life. Working together, Meemim and TRMUA have been able to create a completely new type of utilities-management platform by leveraging ESRI’s ArcGIS, Microsoft HoloLens and Microsoft Azure technologies.” The Meemim vGIS platform is tailored specifically to the needs of municipalities and utilities and draws on a number of previously unavailable applications and visualization techniques. Adds Pestov, “We ran a system preview for a select group of MUAs, mapping services providers, utilities and emergency response services, and the feedback has been hugely positive. We believe the utilities-management community is ready to embrace the Meemim vGIS solution.” Having conducted successful trials with the initial test group, Meemim is expanding pilots and is inviting interested parties to apply. Those interested in engaging and/or learning more can contact Meemim at info@Meemim.com. About Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority (TRMUA) The Toms River MUA was established in 1949 with a mandate to provide reliable wastewater collection services to its ratepayers in an environmentally responsible and cost effective manner. The TRMUA maintains 435 miles of underground utility lines, 18 pump stations, and serves 47,000 ratepayers covering an area of 55 square miles in Toms River, NJ (population 92,000). About Meemim Meemim (Toronto, ON) is a knowledge-management platform vendor with expertise in data presentation and visualization. Current applications, in addition to vGIS, include the Meemim collaboration productivity suite for project management, small team collaboration and client customer service portals. Contact Information: Bernie Schmidt VP, Marketing 416-604-4777 bernie.schmidt@meemim.com Toms River, NJ, February 16, 2017 --( PR.com )-- Toms River MUA partners with Meemim to spearhead the Next-Generation Utility-Locating and Planning Tool for Municipalities and Public Utilities.The Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority (TRMUA) has partnered with Meemim Corp., a developer of knowledge-management software and mixed-reality applications, to create the next-generation pipe and cable locating tool for municipalities, public utilities and contractor services. The upcoming release blends Meemim’s knowledge-management platform, ArcGIS (by ESRI), and advanced mixed-reality (MR) technology. The platform is the first of its kind in the world.The Meemim vGIS application leverages Microsoft HoloLens to deliver real-time in-field holographic visualization of underground pipes, valves, cables and other utility objects, including related information and support materials. The system combines object holograms with object-specific data to provide a hands-free method for field technicians to understand the infrastructure they need to service while on site.“The TRMUA has built a robust Geographic Information System (GIS) using ESRI’s ArcGIS Online Services. With our utility infrastructure and data now online, we can have real-time collaboration with our field crews,” says Len Bundra, IT/GIS Director of Toms River MUA. “Field workers can now literally ‘see’ utility lines beneath their feet, when viewed through the Microsoft HoloLens. This takes GIS to a whole new dimension of dynamic mapping and data retrieval.”In-field trials show that the system speeds up planning, shortens in-field work time, reduces errors and improves safety.“Current utility-locating equipment doesn’t take advantage of the wealth of data that already exists in municipal databases,” notes Alec Pestov, CEO of Meemim. “Toms River MUA has a vision of how utility systems management should evolve, and we’re pleased to be their technology partner to bring their vision to life. Working together, Meemim and TRMUA have been able to create a completely new type of utilities-management platform by leveraging ESRI’s ArcGIS, Microsoft HoloLens and Microsoft Azure technologies.”The Meemim vGIS platform is tailored specifically to the needs of municipalities and utilities and draws on a number of previously unavailable applications and visualization techniques.Adds Pestov, “We ran a system preview for a select group of MUAs, mapping services providers, utilities and emergency response services, and the feedback has been hugely positive. We believe the utilities-management community is ready to embrace the Meemim vGIS solution.”Having conducted successful trials with the initial test group, Meemim is expanding pilots and is inviting interested parties to apply. Those interested in engaging and/or learning more can contact Meemim at info@Meemim.com.About Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority (TRMUA)The Toms River MUA was established in 1949 with a mandate to provide reliable wastewater collection services to its ratepayers in an environmentally responsible and cost effective manner. The TRMUA maintains 435 miles of underground utility lines, 18 pump stations, and serves 47,000 ratepayers covering an area of 55 square miles in Toms River, NJ (population 92,000).About MeemimMeemim (Toronto, ON) is a knowledge-management platform vendor with expertise in data presentation and visualization. Current applications, in addition to vGIS, include the Meemim collaboration productivity suite for project management, small team collaboration and client customer service portals.Contact Information:Bernie SchmidtVP, Marketing416-604-4777bernie.schmidt@meemim.com Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from Meemim


News Article | November 9, 2015
Site: www.renewableenergyworld.com

A new study by Complete Solar is shedding light on how much money California solar customers are losing to lengthy grid interconnection approval delays caused by utilities. According to the study, Permission to Operate (PTO) delays are costing the average residential solar customer in California $4.02 per day – adding up to a grand total in excess of $4.7 million over the last four years. Data for the study was gathered from 1500 residential solar installations throughout the state and tracked from 2010 to 2015. The study ranks California utilities based on their average speed of interconnection approval. It found the Sacramento Municipal Utilities Department was the only utility with zero wait time, frequently issuing same-day interconnection approvals. Palo Alto Utility came in a close second, taking on average one day. Alameda Municipal Power, which ranked third in the study, averaged a total of 11 days.


Jing F.,Beijing Forestry University | Zhu J.,Beijing Forestry University | Zheng B.,Municipal Utilities | Lu X.,Municipal Utilities | And 2 more authors.
Yingyong Jichu yu Gongcheng Kexue Xuebao/Journal of Basic Science and Engineering | Year: 2011

In order to investigate the application effect of hole-base padded film afforestation model(New) in coastal argillaceous saline-alkali land. the survival rate and growth of Morus alba L., the soil moisture and conductivity in and out afforestation hole in New model, contrastive I and II afforestation model(ConI and ConII) were analyzed. The results showed that the soil salt content in platform field was excluded year by year through platform field preparation. There was a close inverse relationship between the water and salt content. The soil moisture in New model raised 16% than ConI model and 4% than ConII model. The soil conductivity in New model and ConII model decreased by 76% and 73% than Con Imodel which without film. The seedling survival rates, height and canopy area using the New model increased by an average of 29%, 70% and 30% than ConI model. Compared with the ConII model, those values were higher by an average of 11%, 9% and 7%. The seedling root using film was distributed more in the soil shallow layer which the salt content is lower than those in deep layer. These results show that New model can prevent the infiltration of salt, reduce the evaporation, improve the seedling survival rate and growth as well as promote shallow root growth. The New model along with the platform field preparation could provide a good environment and will be great prospect for the coastal argillaceous saline-alkali land.

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