The benefits and potential of hydropower suggest it can play a significant role in the future of the U.S. energy mix. Still, hydropower often gets downplayed in the national discussion of renewable energy that so often focuses on solar and wind generation.
Despite some high-profile scrutiny of the failures of some renewable energy companies, consumers still view solar and wind energy favorably, according to Navigant Research -- but not as favorably as they did in 2008.
At the heart of every utility is the customer -- not regulators, not governments and not even shareholders. Without a happy customer, shareholder value is hard to sustain. And yet with so much change on the agenda at most utility companies, it is easy to lose sight of the ultimate impact on the customer.
Green building codes might not be the juiciest aspect of the energy industry, but their potential impact on energy conservation can't be discounted -- especially given that buildings are responsible for 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption.
Reach out to your industry peers, colleagues and organizations. They may be across the country, the world or right across the street -- it doesn't matter.
Consumers are especially interested in renewables, presenting an ideal opportunity for utilities to slide the relationship between renewables and smart grid into the conversation.
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Ongoing water scarcity paired with aging infrastructure and related funding gaps are increasing already heightened concerns over the U.S. water sector. In response, Ernst & Young has proposed a 10-point action plan for addressing critical water infrastructure and sustainability issues in the United States.
Consumers are feeling more positive about the contributions energy companies are making to the economic well-being of the country and the protection of the environment.
Currently, when a facility is coming online, shutting down, or experiencing a malfunction, large industrial sources are allowed to emit large amounts of air pollution for which they are not held accountable. The EPA's SSM safeguards will close this loophole that has allowed large amounts of toxic pollution for decades.
The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve energy security while spurring economic development and job creation. This increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to continue, with the Energy Information Administration forecasting a record production rate of 69.3 Bcf/d in 2013.
Demand response programs have been around for decades. In the last 10 years, however, utilities have moved demand response to the next phase, adopting new technologies and practices and offering more advanced demand response schemes.
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In many ways, rural electric cooperatives are smart grid trendsetters. Cooperatives are ahead of the curve when it comes to maintaining relationships with their customers. Cooperatives are also technology innovators and these small, rural utilities have helped lead the industry's adoption of AMI, interoperability and cybersecurity solutions. As the industry continues its evolution toward smart grid, utilities can learn and benefit from the rural electric experience.
The net energy consumption in overall networks can be reduced up to 90 percent by 2020, taking into account dramatic increases in communications traffic over the next decade.