Siemens, ABB make major grid gear plays

Not all the opportunities in the smart grid are about big data and analytics. Power gear giants Siemens and ABB unveiled separately that they plan to make large grid gear acquisitions. Siemens will buy RuggedCom, and ABB will buy Thomas & Betts Corp.

The top 10 trends from the year’s big smart grid show

One of the year’s largest smart grid conferences — DistribuTECH — closes today in San Antonio, Texas. It’s like the CES for utilities, power companies and the vendors that are trying to sell them stuff. Here are the top 10 trends I took away.

Tendril test-drives its electric car software with BMW

After a variety of strategies and around $100 million in funding, startup Tendril is now largely a software company, and on Tuesday at the DistribuTECH conference in San Antonio, Tendril announced a big partner in its play to provide the software layer for electric vehicles: BMW.

Turning Solar Fantasy Into Reality: Desertec Part Deux

solarthermalgeneric2We caught up with two of the biggest players in Desertec, Schott Solar CSP and Siemens AG (s SI), at the Intersolar solar conference this week and asked them what the game plan is for pulling off what — at a cost of $555 billion and with a goal of supplying 15 percent of Europe’s power — will be the most ambitious solar plan ever. Given that the founding members of Desertec were only announced Monday, it makes sense that there isn’t a solid implementation plan in place yet. But the members do have a first few steps in mind, such as forming task groups to look at how Desertec will tackle its first major hurdles: financing and permitting.

Part of the financing question is figuring out what the price per kilowatt hour will be for customers, and figuring out where to build the planned underwater transmission cables so that they will most effectively connect the power to those who will use it. “We want to avoid endless PPA discussions and build a platform for constructing power plants so that we know that as soon as they’re online, they have customers,” explained Christoph Fark, managing director of Schott Solar CSP.
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