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PUR Guide 2012 Fully Updated Version

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Technology

Are Utilities and Government Skimping on R&D?

Public utility regulation has a role to play in stimulating R&D by energy utilities. Studies have confirmed that social returns on R&D are much greater than private returns, evidence supporting government involvement (e.g., via funding or performance) in R&D.

Author Bio: 

Ken Costello serves as principal researcher for energy and environment for the National Regulatory Research Institute. Contact him at kcostello@nrri.org.

Deck: 

The future of the energy sector and environment is at stake.

EV Hype and Hope

Solyndra shakeout hits the electric car business
Six months after Solyndra's bankruptcy, the resulting controversy is affecting other companies that were hoping to secure loans from the Department of Energy. Lawmakers want to know whether the DOE loan program has stalled out -- and whether reforms are needed to clarify the mission and the risks for taxpayers.

EVs and the Smart Grid

Accelerating Progress
Better batteries, renewables and more intelligent electricity networks are converging to deliver efficiency and environmental improvements. Electric vehicle (EV) batteries are both the stumbling block and the catalyst for transformative change.

Call Center Quality Assurance

Optimizing Customer Service with Monitoring Technology
Employees will account for up to 80 percent of contact center budgets in the increasingly demanding world of customer interaction. Such a substantial investment cannot be left to chance, yet, it is often overlooked and rarely reviewed by managers.

Making Solar Grid-Friendly

Why integrating utility-scale solar will follow the wind model.
If made fully “grid-friendly,” utility-scale solar ought to be able to act like a traditional power plant — aiding voltage stability and supporting grid integrity during transmission system disturbances.