Siemens and Teradata team up over grid big data

Utilities are increasingly embracing the tools needed to manage big data, and on Monday data warehouse software firm Teradata said it’s teamed up with power grid giant Siemens for a better way to manage the massive data flowing off the smart grid.

To get the green light, solar farms factor in price, storage and land

California regulators approved some — but not all — of the power contracts that Southern California Edison wants to have with BrightSource Energy in a compromise that they say will provide the state’s residents with more affordable solar power in the run long.

Regulators push for energy storage for solar farms

Over the past year, BrightSource Energy has touted the importance of using energy storage for its solar power plants. And no wonder. California regulators are looking at approving three of five deals between BrightSource and a utility partly because they will benefit from using energy storage.

Utilities embrace Green Button energy data project

Nine more utilities, and three large energy vendors, announced support on Thursday for the Green Button project, which enables utility customers to download their energy consumption data with a click of a button and also use that data for energy-saving apps.

California utilities lay out smart grid roadmaps

Last week saw California’s big three utilities release in-depth smart grid deployment roadmaps, giving smart grid companies about the closest thing to a detailed plan of attack that they could ask for.

Opportunities in California’s smart grid deployment plans

Last week, California’s big three utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric — released in-depth smart grid deployment roadmaps that include about $5.6 billion in smart grid spending over the coming decade. For smart grid companies, it’s about the closest thing to a detailed plan of attack one could ask for. Of course, much of that money is tied up in ongoing smart meter deployments, and another huge chunk is for transmission and distribution grid projects with a limited range of potential competitors. Still, that leaves plenty of opportunities for nimble companies with key software, networking or hardware technologies to fill the gaps that remain. Here are some of them.

Today in Cleantech

California’s big utilities are getting more specific about their smart grid plans. Today is the deadline for Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to turn in documents describing just what they want to do on the smart grid front between now and 2020, complete with estimates of the 10-year capital investment plans and costs to be borne by their customers, as well as what they payback will be. PG&E filed its 280-page plan yesterday, and the plans are big — $800 million to $1.25 billion in capital investments and $500 million to $700 million in operating costs over the next 10 years. Of course, that’s meant to deliver $900 million to $2 billion in lower energy purchasing costs, avoided costs of not having to build new power plans, grid reliability improvements and the like. SDG&E’s plan, filed June 6 (PDF), sets a 2006-2020 smart grid cost of $3.6 billion, with a resulting benefit of  $3.8 to $7.1 billion, including a potential “societal and environmental” benefit of as much as $1.9 billion ascribed in part to the advanced grid systems that will let it incorporate the 33-percent intermittent, renewable energy generation that state mandates require it and other major state utilities to have in their power mix by 2020. No doubt the smart grid industry is looking carefully at these cutting-edge utilities to see how the new plans change the expected flow of investment to various technologies. Will smart meters see a diminished emphasis? Will distribution automation, renewable energy integration or energy storage see a big uptick in spending? I’ll be reading the full reports over the weekend to let you know what they say — stay tuned.

DOE backs largest rooftop solar project in U.S.

The DOE on Wednesday said it is offering a partial loan guarantee for a $1.4 billion loan that will fund Project Amp, which will erect solar panels on hundreds of rooftops around the country. The project is the largest rooftop solar plan in the country.