News Archives: September 2011
Business leaders gathered Tuesday to urge legislators to overturn Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of smart-grid legislation backed by Commonwealth Edison Co.
“The governor’s veto was a great disappointment to the business community and consumers alike,” said Jerry Roper, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “Opportunities for this kind of investment don’t come around every day, and when one does, our elected officials should seize it.”
The clock is ticking for ComEd to either pull together enough votes to override the veto, agree to concessions in order to gather more votes or give up and start over.
S&C Electric Company is celebrating its centennial anniversary with the opening of its Smart Grid Solutions Demonstration Center at the company’s global headquarters in Chicago. The demonstration center will allow electric utilities and other visitors to see, in real time, how smart grid technologies respond to grid issues and optimize power delivery systems.
The demonstration center includes interactive exhibits that display S&C’s solutions such as self-healing technology, energy storage integration solutions and communications systems. The interactive exhibits showcase the benefits of these technologies and demonstrate how S&C’s solutions can improve the efficiency and operating performance of the electrical grid, a crucial goal for utilities.
“Smart grid technology is essential for managing the increasingly complex power delivery problems that utilities around the world face today,” says Mike Edmonds, S&C Vice President, Strategic Solutions. “The demonstration center makes it easy to see how smart grid technology is contributing to the development of a more stable and reliable grid.”
The California-based developer behind a wide-scale buildout of charging stations for electric vehicles in the Chicago area has chosen Coulomb Technologies to provide 180 stations that can charge an electric vehicle in a matter of hours.
Chicago’s public charging stations will join a network of privately-installed Coulomb charging stations already operating at parking garages and businesses across Chicago. The overwhelming majority of installed charging stations in the Midwest are Coulomb brand.
350Green LLC, the San Diego-based company behind the $8.9 million project to install 280 charging stations, has not announced who will provide 73 fast-charging stations that are expected to make Chicago a global leader in a technology that can charge an electric vehicle in under 30 minutes. The technology is so new that so far, the Nissan Leaf — which rolls out this Fall in Chicago — is one of the few vehicles compatible with the technology.
THE GROWING CONVERGENCE OF TECHNOLOGY, communications, computing and energy systems in the intelligent electric utility is casting a new light on the optimimum skill sets needed for the new utility employee.
Add to that the complicating factor of an aging and retiring workforce, with approximately 50 percent of the engineering workforce eligible for retirement in 2015, according to studies published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Center for Energy Workforce Development and the IEEE Power and Engineering Society, and a mega employment storm is brewing on the near horizon for the electric utility industry.
A report by the United States Power and Engineering Workforce Collaborative estimates that there are about 800 to 1,000 undergraduate students graduating each year with an interest in electric power engineering jobs, and that the U.S. enrollment for masters and doctoral degree students in power engineering is approximately 550, according to information provided by the Illinois Institute of Technology’s new Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation (GCEI). Approximately 60 percent of graduate students are international students who may not seek employment in the United States, according to the report.
Two battery manufacturers are teaming up to combine the capacity of a golf cart battery with the compactness of a cell phone battery, in an effort to create technology that can store power from the wind and sun.
Naperville-based Palladium Energy, which produces lithium batteries for consumer gadgets like cell phones, tablets and GPS systems, announced Tuesday it will partner with California-based Trojan Battery Company to create portable batteries that can be used to store energy for use when it is most needed.
The technology is important to companies and governments developing technologically intelligent electrical grids (better known as “Smart Grids”) because it would allow wind power, which is most often available at night, and solar power, available during the day, to be stored for use at any time.
Venture capital investment in Illinois companies reached a record $1.45 billion last year and is on track to surpass that level in 2011, according to new data scheduled to be released Thursday by a group of four local organizations.
The numbers also show that $864.5 million has been invested during the first half of 2011. The lion’s share of investment, about $856 million, has flowed to the Chicago metropolitan area, .
The data represent the first monthly installment of the Illinois Innovation Index, which is being launched to collect and analyze comprehensive data on venture capital investment and economic activity related to new businesses.
Flanked by consumer advocates, Gov. Pat Quinn made good on his promise Monday to veto controversial legislation fronted by Commonwealth Edison Co., a move that sets the clock ticking for the bill’s proponents to gather enough votes to override the veto.
“It may be a dream come true for Commonwealth Edison, but it’s a nightmare for Illinois consumers,” Quinn said.
Opponents to the so-called “ComEd bill” had said it was a “Trojan horse” meant to pave the way for the utility to boost its bottom line by gutting the Illinois Commerce Commission’s oversight of electricity rate hikes.
Your recent editorial (“About those jobs, jobs, jobs,” Sept. 4) underscores that there is no greater responsibility for elected officials right now than revitalizing Illinois’ economy and creating jobs. And in citing the new Tollway construction program, you noted “smart infrastructure investments pay off for the public.”
Agreed. And here’s another smart infrastructure investment that will pay off big for Illinois: the Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, Senate Bill 1652, now on Governor Quinn’s desk.
By strengthening and modernizing our electric grid, this legislation not only would create thousands of jobs in construction, manufacturing and other important traditional industries — it also will be a major catalyst for new kinds of jobs and businesses in the emerging “new energy economy” built around smart grid technology, energy efficiency programs and greater use of renewables.
Chicago based Exelon Corp. shook up its management ranks Friday in anticipation of its merger with Constellation Energy, naming Anne Pramaggiore the first woman chief executive of its Commonwealth Edison unit, Illinois’ largest utility.
She will take over for Frank Clark, the utility’s current chairman and CEO, who plans to retire as part of the management realignment. Exelon’s merger with Baltimore-based Constellation Energy is expected to close early next year.
Siemens Industry, Inc. is celebrating the production of its SINVERT solar inverters at its recently-updated manufacturing plant located in West Chicago, Ill. The company invested approximately $10 million upgrading two buildings at the location, one of which will support the growing demand for solar power in the United States.
Siemens is currently producing SINVERT PVS inverters in West Chicago to support a 20MW solar project in the Southwest United States. This multi-million dollar contract was secured in early 2011, with commissioning of the inverters slated for October of this year.
“This is a proud day for Siemens as our West Chicago operations will continue to position the company as a leader within the solar industry, and further support the demand for new, clean sources of energy in the U.S.,” says Raj Batra, president, Industry Automation division, Siemens Industry, Inc. “The production of our solar inverters is helping to transform the American manufacturing landscape from one of blue-collar to ‘green-collar’ jobs.” Siemens West Chicago manufacturing facilities, comprising 200,000 square-feet in two buildings, employs 350 people. In addition to producing solar inverters, Siemens also manufactures motor control centers, enclosed motor starters, switchboards and control cabinets at the facilities. Siemens has renovated and modernized both buildings at the location, implementing a number of employee suggestions designed to improve productivity and efficiency.