Friday, January 31, 2014

Wind Power Investments in Germany Proving Riskier than Thought

For years Germany's wind output has been delivering uninspiring growth, while the excitement around the generation source has appeared little diminished.
Spiegel provides an article that fits with the tepid generation performance; financially poor results following rich promises.

Wind Power Investments in Germany Proving Riskier than Thought - SPIEGEL ONLINE:
Investments in renewable energy were supposed to be a sure thing, with wind park operators promising annual returns of up to 20 percent. More often than not, however, such pledges have been illusory -- and many investors have lost their principal to boot.
...mounting claims led Prokon to declare bankruptcy -- 75,000 stakeholders could be left out in the cold.
Data from AGEB shows biomass outgrowing wind
Thus far, it is the highest profile failure of a business model that both politicians and investors praised for being doubly beneficial. Not only would investors boost their own accounts, but they would also help the environment at the same time. And because the state guaranteed high feed-in rates for 20 years, the promises made by financial advisors -- secure returns with a good conscience -- seemed plausible.
Indications are mounting, however, that green capitalism will not be able to meet all expectations. In courts around the country, complaints are mounting from wind park investors who haven't received a dividend disbursement in years or whose parks went belly up. Consumer protection activists are complaining that many projects are poorly structured and lack transparency.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The energy non-transition: everything's greener for constituencies with the green

I was struck by these 2 articles from Germany's wealthier south - which fit nicely with a third article supporting a recent theme on this blog: solar policies favouring the wealthy need to be altered, particularly in terms of altering utility charges to recover cost through service charges, not rates per unit consumed.

The first article, originally in German, is on the leader of Germany's richest state, Bavaria, and increasing the distance industrial wind turbines need to be from receptors (residences).  As translated (by Google):
MUNICH . Prime Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) has reached an important stage victory in the battle for wind power in Bavaria. He had long been advocating that the distances between establishments and residential areas are enlarged.
...the distance between the wind turbine and residential building is to be set at ten times the height of the plant. That would be about two kilometers in modern wind turbines.
Critics of the height-related distance usually seen in the end for the expansion of wind power in Bavaria. 
Next door, to the west of Bavaria, is the only slightly less wealthy Baden-Württemberg, which elected a coalition government lead by the Green Party, which would like to expand industrial wind turbines.  From the Renewable Interantional blog, in the wonderfully titled: An interview with Baden-Württemberg's Environmental Minister: "The economics speaks for itself":
Renewables International: Does the new federal government’s plan to reduce support for sites with little wind counteract all these efforts?

Laws of Iron and Wealth: web round-up

some new stories and old lessons
First from Germany:
Schäuble warns green policies are harming German economy | Financial Post
Germany’s powerful finance minister said on Tuesday that Berlin may have gone too far in its attempts to protect the environment, saying his government must now “rebalance” its policies to ensure environmental regulations do not cost jobs.
Wolfgang Schäuble took issue with claims that the “green economy” will be a major driver of employment, saying Berlin’s decision two years ago to shutter its nuclear power plants and emphasise renewables needed to be re-examined.
“We did it too good and now we have to correct because otherwise we have an increasing of energy costs which will harm jobs in Germany in a serious way in the medium term...
Mr Schäuble’s remarks come amid rising concerns in European industry that the EU is losing competitiveness internationally because of its rising energy costs, particularly in comparison to the US, where exploitation of shale gas has been hailed as a source of inexpensive energy that could help reindustrialise the US economy.
Real life thus demonstrated Roger A. Peilke Jr.'s "iron law of climate policy: When policies on emissions reductions collide with policies focused on economic growth, economic growth will win out every time."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Politics and power: Clowns to the left, jokers to the right

first the politics, then the economist;

How the Left Came to Reject Cheap Energy for the Poor The Breakthrough Institute
...environmental groups constructed economic analyses and models purporting to show that expensive intermittent renewables like solar panels and biomass-burners were in fact cheaper than grid electricity. The catch, of course, was that they were cheaper because they didn’t actually deliver much electricity...
And so the Left went from viewing cheap energy as a fundamental human right and key to environmental restoration to a threat to the planet and harmful to the poor. In the name of “appropriate technology” the revamped Left rejected cheap fertilizers and energy. In the name of democracy it now offers the global poor not what they want — cheap electricity — but more of what they don’t want, namely intermittent and expensive power. "
Fissures in G.O.P. as Some Conservatives Embrace Renewable Energy | New York Times
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — In conservative politics, solar power is often dismissed as an affectation, part of a liberal agenda to funnel money to “solar cronies” of the Obama administration and further the “global warming hoax.”
So one would not expect to see Barry Goldwater Jr., the very picture of modern conservatism and son of the 1964 Republican nominee for president, arguing passionately on behalf of solar energy customers. But there he was last fall, very publicly opposing a push by Arizona’s biggest utility to charge as much as $100 a month to people who put solar panels on their roofs.
...conservatives are even joining forces with environmental groups. In Georgia, a Tea Party activist and the Sierra Club formed a “Green Tea Coalition.”
As a result, solar power is fast becoming one of the fracture lines dividing the conservative movement’s corporate and libertarian sides.
I first read The Breakthrough Institute article and didn't find the left very left.
Having read the New York Times article I didn't find the right very right either.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Germany Tax on Own Use of Renewables: Battling Regressive Impacts

Bloomberg seems to have kicked off the commiseration amongst the solar over proposals dealing with self-generation in Germany

Germany Tax on Own Use of Renewables Is First in Europe - Bloomberg:
Germany is set to become the first nation in Europe to charge owners of renewable energy plants for their own use of electricity, part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s effort to contain rising power bills.
Merkel’s Cabinet backed proposals to charge operators of new clean-energy plants 70 percent of the so-called EEG-Umlage, a fee paid by power consumers that they’re currently exempt from, according to an economy ministry document. That would translate into 4.4 euro cents (6 cents) a kilowatt-hour.
The solar industry says such a payment would curb investments in the technology in the nation that has the most installations of photovoltaics in the world.
“The fee will make the environmentally friendly self-consumption of solar power unattractive, especially for the Mittelstand, farmers and companies,” David Wedepohl, a spokesman for the BSW-Solar lobby, said today by e-mail. Developers that consume their own solar power already lower the costs of Merkel’s energy program by not selling their power to the grid at above-market rates, he said."
So much wrong here..

Friday, January 24, 2014

caught a fish in the Pacific that was soooo contaminated...

Interesting due to the source

Yes, things are very bad at Fukushima but it’s not the Apocalypse: can often find alarming but unconfirmed information on social media.
Most recent have been the stories of rumours about ongoing nuclear reactions inside the crippled Fukushima reactors and vast radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean and US West Coast.

We have checked these stories and our conclusion is clear: these are not stories based in fact. For example, while unprecedented amounts of radioactive cesium have ended up in the Pacific Ocean, significantly contaminating sediments and fisheries along the Japanese coastline, there is no plausible mechanism that could transport significant levels of contamination across the Pacific to reach beaches in the US or Australia.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Record export revenue day for Ontario is a gas, gas, gas

Data posted by the system operator indicates revenue on exports yesterday should have yielded approximately $10.83 million dollars and averaged about $163/MWh.
It's shaping up as a very interesting month for electricity markets.

Yesterday I wrote on demands in neighbouring jurisdictions setting the higher pricing, and prior to that I posted an article co-written with Parker Gallant, on the market activity for January 7th.

The IESO's main data (.csv) files are distorted, compared to January 7th, because much more generation was fed directly to Quebec's grid yesterday; I estimate 588MW average throughout the day (compared to 11MW on the 7th ).  Imports show only as average 600MW, so the 22nd is a rare day where the export number is more representative of actual trade than net exports. [see note at end]

Other points of interest:
  • The 22nd's average Hourly Ontario Energy price, $178.83/MWh, is the highest since August 9th, 2005, and second highest since 2002

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Targetting: energy, or wording, transition

All sorts of news today as Germany's newest government's super minister (energy and economy) speaks, and the EU commission settles on targets to propose to some assembly or other for ratification, or not, later on this year.

Connie Hedegaard: "A 40% emissions reduction by 2030 is the most cost-effective target for the EU"
Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said: "The 2030 framework is the EU's drive for progress towards a competitive low-carbon economy, investment stability and security of energy supply. My aim is to make sure that energy remains affordable for households and companies. The 2030 framework sets a high level of ambition for action against climate change, but it also recognises that this needs to be achieved at least cost. The internal energy market provides the basis to achieve this goal and I will continue to work on its completion in order to use its full potential. This includes the 'Europeanisation' of renewable energy policies".

Right Greenpeace?

Commission president Barroso sells out on climate and energy policy

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

NDP's Tabuns flags losses on electricity exports - 3 years too late

NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns got strong coverage for his belated, and problematic, claim on electricity export losses yesterday.
Parker Gallant was making a similar calculation for December alone, while Parker and I were noting that even the best revenue day, on export sales, was not a great help given the scope of Ontario's electricity sector expenses.
This is a complicated topic that has been a frequent focus of my blog, and was the particular focus of my first collaboration with Parker Gallant in the Financial Post, 30 months ago (Ontario's Power Trip: Power Dumping).  
First I'll note the day's news, and then I'll comment.

Ontario paid $1 billion to export surplus power in 2013, NDP say | The Canadian Press (via CTV)
TORONTO -- Poor planning by Ontario's Liberal government forced electricity ratepayers in the province to subsidize the sale of excess power to neighbouring jurisdictions at a cost of $1 billion in 2013, the New Democrats charged Monday.
The government signed contracts for so much unneeded electricity that Ontario had to export the surplus, at a loss, to Manitoba, Quebec, New York, Michigan or Minnesota, adding $220 a year to the average household electricity bill, said NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns.
"We found that last year Ontario subsidized power to people in the United States and Quebec and Manitoba to the tune of over $1 billion," ...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Google and Nest: A bigger, still blurry, Picture

PowerMeter, Android@Home, PowerSense
All Google efforts: the first abandoned, the second invisible, and the third known by its screenshots.

And, in case there's any squares reading my blog, the NEST is THE thermostat.

The title of an article at The Energy Collective compelled me to read it: Google and Nest: The Big Picture for Home Automation Competitors.
... there’s certainly a good reason to consider the value of Nest’s data to Google. Intuiting people’s daily habits around the home, knowing what choices they make regarding comfort versus energy efficiency, tracking how often they interact with their devices to get a sense of their interest in technology -- all of these are imaginable insights that a data analytics expert like Google could draw from a simple set of home automation devices.
Multiply these kinds of insights by tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of homes, and that data begins to take on an even greater value as a demographic resource. That could even apply to energy: utilities are increasingly turning to store-bought smart thermostats and the companies that manage them for demand response and energy efficiency resources.
Household data will likely be part of the value of a whole host of growing home automation companies. According to GTM Research’s report Home Energy Management Systems, 2013-2017, five HEMS vendors have publicly announced passing the 1-million-customer mark:, Tendril, Opower,Vivint, and ADT. Others, such as GreenWave Reality and iControl and EcoFactor, are past the 1 million home mark through their telecom partnerships . On the smart thermostat side, Nest was set to pass the million-home mark as well by the start of this year, report author Kamil Bojanczyk noted.
Maybe, but the screenshot for PowerSense makes me think the rational might be simpler.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ontarians getting the worst value on earth from its wind energy contracts

Some fresh material provides an opportunity to revisit the reasons wind energy is bad for my province

Bjorn Lomborg has an interesting post up on Facebook today.

Chart from Facebook post
Here is an overview of the total support paid in US cents per kWh for wind. On average, the cost is ¢12.6.
For comparison, you can see the current cost of producing a kWh in the US with coal (¢3.2/kWh) and gas (¢3.0/kWh). Of course, both the energy from coal and wind is worth more, because you can produce it on demand, and not only when the wind blows.
Yet, wind saves CO₂ emissions. Depending on the composition of energy sources and especially marginal sources, a kWh of wind will avoid between 400-900 grams of CO₂.
To illustrate, in Texas a kWh of wind will likely avoid 600 grams of CO₂. Given that Texas pays ¢3.3 above the cost of coal (and even more above gas), it is in effect paying about $55 per ton of CO₂ avoided.
Lomborg's post continues to demonstrate in areas where fossil fuel prices are much higher (such as Japan), wind may provide a much better value.  It's worth a read.
Lomborg's statements aren't revolutionary; in September the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) explained that wind is a displacement source here; the value of wind energy is simply the cost of fuel displaced, and not infrastructure.

Then there's valuing carbon pollution.
For Ontario, the average emissions is not 600 grams of CO₂ - according to Canadian Energy Issues' Stephen Aplin, the number (which he refers to as CIPK - for CO₂ intensity per kilowatt-hour) is "around 82 grams"; OSPE said in September 85.

Friday, January 17, 2014

EU Targets 40% carbon emission reduction by 2030

There are lots of articles about European talks setting energy/environmental targets that will be up for ratification in June - with lots of opinions.
Some news from today indicate a position is being settled into that looks very sane
Probably just a rumour.

Cut carbon emissions by 40% in 16 years, Ed Davey tells EU | The Guardian
Ed Davey, the energy secretary, has called on EU heads of state to endorse a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, but reject a specific binding renewables target.
The European Commission is due to issue a paper next Wednesday that is likely propose a EU-wide renewables target in line with the wishes of Germany and France, but Davey, in a Guardian interview, claimed his call not to impose a binding renewables target was gaining traction.
He wants EU states to have flexibility to achieve greenhouse gas emissions through a mix of non-carbon technologies including nuclear, but denied his rejection of a binding renewables target revealed a loss of confidence in the British renewables industry.
 The entire article should be read, as it notes the conflict between those calling for more renewables (Greenpeace, etc.), and those wanting flexibility to achieve actual reductions in carbon emissions.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Worst-of-the-worst in energy efficiency earn LEED's highest rating

LEED apparently stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  An article in the Washington Examiner notes, "LEED applicants are scored from 0 to 100 based on 110 possible points, a little less than one-fifth of which have to do with energy use."

EXography: Worst-of-the-worst in energy efficiency earn LEED's highest --- and meaningless --- rating | Washington Examiner:
Many of the D.C.'s government buildings are among the least energy-efficient of all comparable buildings nationwide — yet received prestigious LEED certifications, suggesting those awards risk a false sense of environmental achievement.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

RWE to sue after German nuclear plant shut-down ruled illegal

Potentially big financial news due to forced shut down of reactors in Germany

RWE to sue after German nuclear plant shut-down ruled illegal | Reuters:
(Reuters) - Germany's No.2 utility RWE is preparing to sue for millions of euros of damages after a federal court confirmed that a state's decision to shut down the company's Biblis nuclear plant for three months in 2011 was illegal.

A spokeswoman for RWE said it planned the lawsuit over Biblis, Germany's oldest nuclear plant, which the state of Hesse had ordered closed as a precaution following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant.

The spokeswoman declined to comment on the potential size of the claims but industry analysts have estimated that RWE suffered about 187 million euros ($255 million) in damages as a consequence of the forced shut-down."
Shares in RWE, Germany's second largest utility by market value after E.ON, rose after the news and were up 4.7 percent, topping the German benchmark DAX index.
Continue reading at Reuters

World Nuclear News has now reported on this, providing additional information including the legal actions involving the other reactors shut down at the same time as Bilbis.

German nuclear shutdown unlawful | World Nuclear News
...The company has previously said it suffered losses of over €1 billion ($1.3 billion) in 2011 alone due to the Biblis shutdown.
The same shutdown orders hit Germany's other nuclear operators, EOn, Vattenfall and EnBW, although EnBW is 45% owned by the Green-governed state of Baden-Wurttemburg and is not contesting the shutdown or appealing a ruling that upheld the fuel tax. EOn and RWE have doubts about the legality of the shutdown order, but have chosen not to pursue the matter in court, industry group Deutsches Atomforum told World Nuclear News. Instead the companies are contesting the constitutionality of the 2011 amendment to the Atomic Act which redrew operating periods for remaining reactors. Another set of questions on the fuel tax have now been referred by German courts to the European Court of Justice. Sweden-owned Vattenfall is contesting the shutdown via international arbitrartion.
Collectively the utilities lost 8336 MWe of nuclear generating capacity, closing Biblis A and B, Neckarwestheim 1, Brunsbuttel, Isar 1, Unterweser, and Phillipsburg 1. Despite only starting operation built in 1984, Krummel was not brought back from long-term shutdown.

Nuclear Energy Agency: Economics of nuclear power

A study from the Nuclear Energy Agency is expected to be favourable to nuclear power costs, but I think this provides a nice overview on the key price drivers.
It also points out that, like most things, the OECD is no longer the key driver, or even particularly relevant to growth in operating reactors.  I'll further note the OECD counties also seem increasingly less relevant to financing new builds.

Nuclear Energy Agency Press Kits - Economics of nuclear power

Outlook for nuclear power
Image from source article
Downward revision of projected growth
Following the Fukushima Daiichi accident, a few countries have already changed their nuclear energy policies, either abandoning previous steps towards building new plants, as in Italy, or accelerating or introducing timetables for the phase-out of nuclear plants, as in Germany and Switzerland. Alongside expectations of lower natural gas prices, this led the IEA to revise downwards by roughly 10% projected growth for nuclear power compared with 2010 projections. However, several non-OECD countries and many OECD countries are expected to press ahead with plans to install additional nuclear power plants.
Possible changes in the economics of nuclear power

Monday, January 13, 2014

Wood Boom .. and possibly regulating a bust.

Treehugger asked this morning "Is burning wood for heat green and sustainable?

That struck me as an irrelevant question to most burning wood, and by the end of the day I felt somewhat supported in that opinion.
Graphic from Treehugger article
The article being pointed to in the Treehugger tweet is saw was Lloyd Alter's How to use a wood stove without burning down the house:
Quite a few people living in the country use wood as their primary source of heating; If the wood is locally cut and sustainably harvested then it is a renewable resource and considered by many to be zero carbon, since the CO2 released was relatively recently stored. If the stove is modern and EPA certifed and properly installed, then the particulates are manageable.
I consider heating with wood as described above to be low carbon - but there are many issues in regulating the use of properly cured wood in efficient stoves.  The issues (with emissions and air quality) aren't problematic in sparsely populated areas, but have Montreal planning to ban wood stoves.

Blackouts are 'best possible thing' for UK energy crisis...

This article has a lot of interesting bits: the usefulness of a crisis, the usefulness of intermittent renewables, the usefulness of mothballed gas plants, the perils of planning for very low electricity growth, the difficulties of avoiding central planning while distorting markets with subsidies, and the willingness of all to state much more spending is required accompanying the distaste of all but a few at acknowledging a crisis may be imminent.

Blackouts are 'best possible thing' for UK energy crisis, says Labour adviser | Business | The Guardian:
The man who masterminded London's highly successful Olympic Games has said power blackouts would be "the best possible thing" because they would force politicians to confront the looming energy crisis.
Sir John Armitt, who is also advising the Labour Party on Britain's infrastructure needs, said the country was heading towards an energy-capacity crunch because ministers had failed to ensure the construction of new power stations to take over from decommissioned nuclear and coal plants.
And as Britain faces a weekend of freezing weather there were new warnings about the proximity of a capacity crunch from Dieter Helm, a leading energy academic who believes ministers have underestimated future power demand.
Angry business leaders dismissed Armitt's comments as irresponsible, but Armitt, who worked on the Sizewell-B nuclear reactor while at the construction group Laing, insisted new capacity was needed.
"In harsh political terms [blackouts] would be the best possible thing that could happen because this country is extremely good in a crisis," he told the construction industry magazine Building.
Continue reading at The Guardian:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Solar Boom and Bust

I've been trying to group different perspectives on an energy them in pulling stories together, and this week there's some stories reminding me of how promising solar is, in the aspect of cost per unit of energy, and how it seems so unsuitable for making a large contribution in an energy mix (at least one for a northerly climate, as Ontario's is).

Two money stories - wildly different.

After a building boom, solar energy's prospects now aren't as sunny | Los Angeles Times

"Nobody's going to break ground on any big new solar projects right now — utilities want to see how farms coming online this year fit into the grid, and developers are waiting for more certainty about state policies and federal tax credits."
Another, somewhat unexpected issue is the difficulty solar developers are having negotiating agreements to sell their power to large utilities. The agreements reached to date guarantee solar providers higher rates than utilities pay for power from traditional energy sources.
"Until you know that you are going to build the plant and be able to sell the power, no one is going to get money to build,"

 DEUTSCHE BANK: We're About To Witness The 'Second Gold Rush' In Global Solar | Business Insider

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Researchers Alarmed at Rise in German Brown Coal Power Output

Ontario's role model for "green" energy programs.

Researchers Alarmed at Rise in German Brown Coal Power Output - SPIEGEL ONLINE:
Germany plans to wean itself off CO2-belching coal-fired power stations. But new figures show that coal power output in 2013 reached its highest level in more than 20 years. Researchers blame cheap CO2 emissions permits, and demand urgent reforms.
In 1990, Germany's bown coal-fired power stations produced almost 171 billion kilowatt hours of power. At the time, many old eastern German plants were still in operation.
It was a situation that the German government wanted to change, with the aim being that of radically reducing the output of the CO2-polluting lignite plants, but that's not happening. In 2013, it rose to 162 billion kilowatt hours, the highest level since reunification in 1990, according to preliminary figures from AGEB, a collection of industry associations and research institutes.
Electricity output from brown coal plants rose 0.8 percent in 2013, said Jochen Diekmann of the German Institute for Economic Research. As a result, Germany's CO2 output is expected to have risen in 2013, even as power from renewable sources has reached 25 percent of the energy mix.
Continue reading at SPIEGEL ONLINE

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's cold, a lot of -not necessarily windy- places

It's cold a lot of places, including Texas, where ERCOT issued an energy emergency alert this morning:
Here's how Texas' 1,100MW of wind capacity was performing
AUSTIN, TX, Jan. 6, 2014. – With cold temperatures and high electric use this morning, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has announced an Energy Emergency Alert and has implemented the first two stages of its steps to protect the grid.
"We have brought on all available electric generation and have deployed all demand response programs that have contracted with ERCOT to reduce electric use in emergency situation...Conditions appear to be improving at this time, and we do not expect to implement rotating outages at this time."
Here are some ways to help until operating reserves are restored to target levels...
Texas avoided rotatating outages, with reporting attributing the close call to two lost generators; "If we had lost another unit, it would have put us into a Level 3[emergency]."

Newfoundland has had rotating power outages since Thursday - due to the third one going off.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Grid operator decides Brayton Point plant should stay open for electricity reliabilty

The New England market joins others, including Germany's, in attempting to keep open generators not currently economical in order to maintain the reliability of the grid.
I previously noted Brayton Point's situation in Coal-fired power plants face extinction in New England

Grid operator decides Brayton Point plant should stay open for electricity reliabilty - Boston Business Journal:
You can’t pull the plug on the biggest coal-fired power plant in New England without causing some sort of ripple effect.
That’s what ISO New England is saying about Brayton Point, the power plant that towers over Mount Hope Bay in Somerset. And as the electricity grid’s overseers, the analysts at ISO would be in a good position to know.
ISO can reimburse some of these plants for being available on high-demand days – times of extreme heat or cold. But plant owners are finding that the reimbursements available through this so-called capacity market aren’t enough to merit keeping a full-time staff going year-round at these plants. The rise of cheap gas from fracking has taken out a number of rivals already: Less than 4 percent of New England’s electricity came from oil and coal in 2012, compared with 40 percent a decade ago.
This is just another sign that we could be becoming too reliant on natural gas.
Read the entire article at the Boston Business Journal

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Massachusettes Energy Grid Reform

How to design IT initiatives; have goals to accomplish other than undertaking IT initiatives.

Monday’s order (PDF) from the state’s Department of Public Utilities will require the state’s big utilities to submit a 10-year grid modernization plan (GMP) in the next six months. Advanced metering will be required as part of that plan -- a significant development in a state which has seen almost no smart meters deployed to date.
That working group came up with a set of concepts (PDF) for changing the cost-recovery mechanisms that guide typical utility investments, which has informed the state’s new smart grid mandate. That includes quantifying a long list of benefits that could come from smart meters, some of which are pretty hard to define: