Archive for the ‘Smart Grid’ Category

February 9, 2010 | 2:17 pm

AREVA and Ausra: “Big News on the Solar Thermal Front”

Good to see the reaction to our just announced deal to aquire Asura online at the Earth2Tech site. They write:

Whoa — big news on the solar thermal front today, as French power giant Areva says it’s agreed to buy solar thermal startup Ausra. Back in November there were several media reports that said Ausra was in talks to be acquired by one of three companies, and it looks like Areva won the deal….Solar thermal technology uses mirrors and lenses to concentrate the sun rays to power turbines, and utilities have been turning to it in droves as of late.

And from the San Jose MercuryNews.com:

“This is an exciting part of our overall strategy,” said Anil Srivastava, CEO of Areva’s renewables business unit, who met with Ausra’s employees Monday afternoon. “Ausra offers the most competitive technology in the solar thermal space, and they make the mosthe U.S. market, but also for the worldwide market, particularly the Middle East.”

…”Our employees are very excited about this,” said Robert Fishman, Ausra’s CEO. “The resources that Areva are going to commit to the business will help us accelerate the development of our technology. This gives us the horsepower to bring the technology where we want to go.”

And from the LA Times Blog:

“Good technology was not enough to give what customers needed,” said Robert Fishman, Ausra’s chief executive, who will stay on to run Areva’s global solar division out of Ausra’s Mountain View, Calif., offices. “We needed the financial strength to guarantee that our technology had a global footprint. By joining forces with Areva, we’ve solved that problem.”

While Areva is new to the solar market, the company’s $18 billion in annual revenues should help reassure bankers who tend to shy away from financing multibillion-dollar solar power plants using new technologies.

Areva will also continue to sell Ausra’s solar thermal equipment, which uses rows of long flat mirrors to focus the sun on water-filled tubes suspended over the arrays. The superheated water creates steam for industrial uses or to drive an electricity-generating turbine.

Srivastava said Areva would target the desert Southwest in the United States as well as markets in Europe, the Middle East, Australia and South Africa.

February 8, 2010 | 12:00 pm

AREVA’s Sunny Outlook: AREVA to Acquire U.S. solar company Ausra

AREVA announced today that it has agreed to acquire U.S. solar company Ausra. Ausra is a California-based provider of large-scale concentrated solar power solutions for electricity generation and industrial steam production.

Utilizing Ausra’s management team and proven technology, this acquisition launches AREVA’s new solar energy business on a global scale.

Liddell Solar/Coal-Fired Power

By combining Ausra’s proven technology with AREVA’s years of project experience and world class Engineering, Procurement, and Construction skills, AREVA commits to building the most cost-effective concentrated solar power for energy customers around the world.
read more…

September 28, 2009 | 2:51 pm

Working towards the ‘Smart Grid’

By Katherine Berezowskyj

Huge efforts continue in both funding and research to make sure that Smart Grid technologies becomes a reality for the U.S. Making the grid will be more efficient is key to meeting growing U.S. energy needs and reducing our current environmental impact from energy generation.

Today the Wall Street Journal discussed how stimulus funds are being awarded to help transform the U.S. power grid from a “largely electromechanical system into a digital network that gives utilities more efficient ways to send electricity to customers.” Providing the U.S. with successful Smart Grid technology means important reductions in wasted electricity “that could help cut pollution and electric bills.”

The Journal’s article also discussed the development of smart meters. These are devices which allow utilities monitor usage in real time, letting them change the variable prices based on demand.

Other ongoing work includes the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) research and development work on the generation, delivery and use of electricity. To help with the organization’s important Smart Grid research, AREVA’s Transmission and Distribution division (T&D) just announced that it will supply intelligent electronic devices to the institute. T&D will be donating 13 different devices as part of its ongoing commitment to critical smart grid development.

These devices will be installed in the institute’s labs in Knoxville, Tenn., Charlotte, N.C., and Lenox, Mass., which are acting as substations simulators. At these locations, EPRI will use the devices provided by AREVA T&D and other companies, to simulate a Smart Grid for running various scenarios and tests. The EPRI researchers, working with utilities, AREVA T&D, and other companies will study a variety of realistic Smart Grid situations and capabilities.

“The goal of this project is to provide a test best for new ideas to address the challenges facing the Smart Grid,” explained Paul Myrda, the Technical Executive at EPRI. This is just some of the important work that is contributing to towards a more efficient, more reliable, Smart Grid for the U.S.

Be sure to read the rest of the Wall Street Journal article “Stimulus Funds Speed Transformation toward ‘Smart Grid’”

For more information about AREVA T&D contribution of intelligent electronic devices, check here.

September 23, 2009 | 10:55 am

Making Wind Energy Smarter

by Katherine Berezowskyj

If you are going to be at the GridWeek conference in our nation’s capital this week, be sure to check out booth #103. Here, AREVA’s Transmission & Distribution (T&D) division is demonstrating its unique system for integrating its Smart Grid technologies and renewable power generation.

AREVA T&D's Booth at GridWeek

AREVA T&D's Booth at GridWeek

AREVA’s Smart Grid Suite, which includes a range of e-terra products, helps to manage and optimize the grid efficiency. As part of AREVA’s work in grid efficiency, AREVA was awarded a Department of Energy grant in July to study global best practices in grid tools and operations for wind plants. This will provide the basis for the U.S. grid to operate with more wind power generation

This is a complimentary effort for expanding CO2-free power generation that supports AREVA’s rapidly growing renewable sector. Some of the major projects currently under development around the world include biopower (biomass to electricity) and offshore wind.

June 8, 2009 | 4:28 pm

New Ideas for a Better World

ted_logo1By Laura Clise

On June 3, the U.S. State Department Global Partnerships Initiative, the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and TED hosted TED@State, New Ideas for a Better world. TED is a non-profit organization dedicated to the spread of attitude-changing, life-changing, and world-changing ideas. TED@State brought together a diverse and dynamic group of speakers, but better than any notes I could provide, you can check out the actual footage from each speaker’s presentation on the TED website (available soon) and or and read a summary of the presented material on the TED Blog.

While the event was personally of interest to me (I have a passion for international development and my best friend from business school is currently working as an Acumen Fellow for TED@State speaker, Jacqueline Novogratz), my professional reason for attending TED@State was directly linked to the ongoing global dialogue regarding development, energy, and climate change.

Social media analyst Clay Shirky talked about the impact of the shifting media landscape, something with which AREVA is already familiar through the AREVA Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin pages. Futurist and environmentalist Stewart Brand discussed the implications of increased urbanization and also the critical role that base-load nuclear energy must contribute to our low-carbon energy future. Acumen Fund CEO Jacqueline Novogratz talked about facilitating bottom up entrepreneurial solutions to poverty alleviation and noted that effective solutions start from the perspective of those her organization is trying to help. This mentality is akin to the way we develop the products and services that we offer. Economist Paul Collier talked about the importance of sustainable job creation, health, and clean government in post-conflict recovery. AREVA also believes that job creation is critical to economic vitality and will be hiring more than 700 people in North America this year. Finally, data visionary Hans Rosling provided a statistical argument for global convergence and talked as well about the importance of information and data transparency. AREVA has been committed to open communication and transparency since its inception in order to lift the veil of secrecy that used to shroud the nuclear energy industry.

The TED@State speakers articulated the complex geopolitical, social, cultural, and environmental contexts in which companies like AREVA are innovating solutions that meet the energy needs of development while at the same time taking into account implications for social and environmental impact.

June 2, 2009 | 9:39 am

The Economist on the future of green energy

Check out this great article in The Economist about the future of green energy. They talk about the impending crisis that is climate change and the importance of finding safe, reliable energy sources that won’t put harmful pollutants or climate-changing CO2 into our air. And like any good discussion of the changes we’re going to need to make to the way we collect and use energy, The Economist points out the importance of nuclear power to provide baseload energy as part of a green energy mix:

In his election campaign Mr Obama dodged the subject of nuclear power. “New Energy for America”, his eight-page energy manifesto, mentioned it briefly, without enthusiasm. But it is hard to imagine halting climate change without it. Windmills and solar panels provide power only intermittently. To avoid blackouts an energy source that keeps flowing in any weather is needed. Nuclear power, whose CO2 emissions are tiny, fits the bill. But no new nuclear plant has been built in America for 35 years. Mr Obama is now mulling loans to restart the industry. Given the huge upfront costs and the certainty of resistance from environmentalists, firms will have to know the government is serious about curbing CO2 before they commit themselves to building nuclear plants.

The article also talks about the importance of implementing a smart grid – an electrical grid that can actually save energy by anticipating times and places of peak demand and making the grid more efficient:

Mr Obama included incentives for building a smart grid in his stimulus package. Businesses are queuing to build one. “This is the most sexy industry to work in,” says Guido Bartels, who leads the energy team at IBM. A smart grid would involve sensors to monitor power flow in both directions, and software to help crunch all the data thus generated. If you plug in your electric car at a friend’s house, you will want an easy way to be billed, says Mr Bartels. And information can be used in myriad ways to make the system more efficient, for example by imposing variable prices to discourage power use during periods of peak demand. Energy is one of the fastest-growing parts of IBM’s business. Manufacturers such as GE and ABB build the physical infrastructure, while IBM vies with such firms as Accenture to supply the information technology and integrate it all.

The entire article is definitely worth a read… you should check it out!

May 13, 2009 | 3:58 pm

AREVA Extends Smart Grid Collaboration with Microsoft

by Jarret Adams

AREVA’s Transmission and Distribution (T&D) division has announced that it has extended its three-year collaboration with Microsoft for the development of Smarter Grid Management solutions, so the global power industry can manage electricity demand more efficiently.

AREVA and Microsoft already provide AREVA customers with some key capabilities for managing the grid. Under the new agreement, the two companies will work to improve cybersecurity and integration with Microsoft Office tools.

Some other benefits are that the new smart grid systems are better at managing distribution generation and renewables. AREVA displayed some of its Microsoft-based smart grid solutions at DistribuTECH in San Diego earlier this year.

AREVA’s efforts to improve the efficiency of the grid through its T&D applications constitute one of three main pillars for fighting climate change. The other two are nuclear energy and renewables, which produce electricity without producing any significant amount of greenhouse gases.

May 1, 2009 | 12:47 pm

“Smart Grid” Poised to Change the Way People Get and Use their Power

AREVA Static VAR Compensator

AREVA Static VAR Compensator

by Joe Adamoli

If you were in parts of the U.S. and Canada on August 14, 2003, you were probably very confused, very inconvenienced, and very uncomfortable.

That was the day a cascading power outage plunged approximately 50 million people into darkness and cost the economy of both nations $6 billion dollars. The blackout represented another milestone in a disturbing trend of power interruptions that have grown in size and frequency over several decades.

The culprit is the aging electric transmission and distribution infrastructure, or “grid,” used to deliver electricity across regions and between utilities. While generation technologies and demand patterns have evolved and become more complex in recent years, the grid has remained virtually unchanged technologically from nearly a half-century ago. Even on the grid’s best days, its inherent inefficiencies balancing the flows of energy is a difficult process, one that wastes substantial amounts of electricity.

Under extreme conditions, such as those of that hot, muggy day in August 2003, stresses on the system can produce catastrophic results, hardly a comforting prospect for a world where energy demand is expected to grow by more than 50 percent in the next 20 years.

But a new approach called “smart grid” holds the potential to dramatically modernize the nation’s electricity supply and delivery infrastructure.

Smart grid uses a variety of computer hardware and software tools to transform the existing centralized grid into a dynamic and complex system of energy- and information-sharing networks that allows utilities to better coordinate and manage loads, quickly avert potential blackout conditions, and save the U.S. economy tens of billions of dollars each year by ensuring power reliability. Smart grid is also better suited to accommodate the growing integration of wind, solar, and other renewable power sources with varying power flows into the energy generation mix, as well as small-scale local generators such as fuel cells and microturbines. Furthermore, smart grid will facilitate two-way communications between the utilities and their customers through the use of advanced smart meters. This is expected to increase energy efficiency.

The pace of smart grid technology development is sure to increase thanks to a $4.5 billion boost from President Obama’s recently enacted stimulus package. But research into these exciting technologies is already a top priority for AREVA’s Transmission and Distribution division, which manages a significant share of the world’s energy flow.

Working with large and smaller grid operators, researchers, energy technology specialists, professional organizations, and other key stakeholders, AREVA’s smart grid R&D program is focused on creating cost-effective tools that will help prevent blackouts, maximize the integration of CO2-free energy sources, optimize the performance and management of transmission and distribution infrastructure, and explore the best way to incorporate emerging modes of energy consumption (e.g., electric vehicles, appliances, and buildings) into the mix. In several control centers around the world (e.g., American Electric Power, North China Grid), AREVA’s advanced decision support and visualization tool, e-terravision®, is used to provide operators with situational awareness. AREVA is making significant enhancements to its generation control applications and other energy management tools to enable customers (such as Hawaii Electric Company, Bonneville Electric Power, and EnergiNet in Denmark) to better integrate wind and other distributed resources into their operations.

Several AREVA-developed technologies are already making a difference for the firm’s customers. ExCel Energy, which provides electricity to eight Western and Midwestern states, uses AREVA’s thyristor-based Static VAR Compensator (SVC) regulating devices to maximize system performance and power transfer capabilities while also stabilizing the network and easing the connection of renewable energy sources. The improved power quality afforded by AREVA’s newest system-regulating technology, SVC MaxSine, has helped industrial operations in the Middle East and Australia maximize operational performance and output.

In Canada, AREVA’s new generation HVDCiceTM system ensures the reliability of distribution networks by preventing ice build-up on overhead power lines. Elements of AREVA’s e-terra network management products are assisting grid operators in the U.S. and China with system monitoring, performance analysis, demand planning, and security management, while several hospitals in France have found the AREVA Microgrids Controller to be a superior emergency power option compared with conventional generator and battery configurations.

More technology innovations and refinements from AREVA are on the way as the company continues to help its customers address both current and evolving electricity challenges. Indeed, smart grid technology has a bright future, in more ways than one.

April 17, 2009 | 3:53 pm

AREVA Well Positioned to Advance Smart Grid Initiatives

smart-grid-boulder001We’d like to congratulate the Obama administration on their announcement yesterday to fund “smart grid” initiatives to develop a more efficient and secure electrical grid. We’re going to actively support the administration’s initiative by working with customers to demonstrate and deploy smart grid technology. As you may know, AREVA is a leader in the United States in the development of smart grid systems, as well as in renewable and other carbon-free energy solutions.

We’ve developed a variety of products and services to improve grid reliability, enable integration of renewables into the grid, and facilitate greater customer control over energy use. We’ve also created a special task force bringing together the capabilities of several business units, to create comprehensive solutions that will accelerate the Obama administration’s smart grid initiatives. In addition, we’re investing in R&D projects at our Center of Excellence in Redmond, Wash., which will further advance the state of smart grid technology.

“AREVA is committed to achieving the goals of the smart grid development projects. As the proven leader in Utility Grid Management Systems and with two-thirds of electric utilities in North America using AREVA equipment, our company is well positioned to help advance these important national initiatives,” said Jacques Besnainou, President of AREVA Inc.

The deployment of smart grid technologies also will allow for greater utilization of renewable energy resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing domestic energy security. We expect that our collaboration with electric utilities on smart grid deployment will create a significant number of new jobs across the United States.