Energy blogs

  • WikiSysop
    12 Aug 2014 - 14:18 by WikiSysop

    Wearable technology devices are arguably one of the most interesting advances in the past few years. While the format is not there yet, and most wearable devices are abandoned within a short amount of time by their users, the more unobtrusive and low maintenance devices may start catching on soon. Here's an interesting article about some of the most recent advances:

    What do you think about wearables? Would you wear them? What would convince you to wear a communications device?

  • Ewilson
    21 Jul 2014 - 16:34 by Ewilson
    Utility Rate

    NREL, in collaboration with Illinois State University, with funding from the Department of Energy Sunshot Program, has enhanced the U.S. Utility Rate Database with the following new features:

    • - Ability to download entire utility rate database as a CSV file
    • - More powerful searching and filtering capabilities (e.g., commercial rates for zip code 94102)
    • - Increased speed and flexibility (by moving the database from Semantic Media Wiki to MongoDB)
    • - Improved quality control and automated error checking mechanisms
    • - Historical tracking of rate changes (using the “supersedes” field)
    • - New fields to accommodate additional types of utility rate structures
    • - More intuitive data structures in machine-readable JSON schema (see comment below for specific JSON schema changes)
    • - Better geographic lookup capabilities (single API call to return rates for an address/ZIP/lat.-long.)
    • - Improved website access (
    • - Better tracking of database usage using API keys (coming soon)

    Illinois State University continues to populate the database with additional utility companies and rates. Unlike the previous wiki-based database, users do not have editing privileges by default. If you’d like to contribute to the database, send us an email:

    The recent progress on capturing rates can be seen in the maps below. As of July 10, 2014, the database has over 45,000 rates included covering nearly all 3,500 utilities across the United States.

    Coverage as of July 10, 2014

    OpenEI URDB Coverage Map as of July 10, 2014

    Coverage as of March 13, 2012 (for comparison purposes)

    OpenEI URDB Coverage Map as of March 13, 2013

    The URDB can be accessed in several ways (and hopefully more to come):

    Via the System Advisor Model for PV economic value analysis. See for more information about downloading the free SAM tool and how utility rates can be used within the tool.

    Via the BEopt (Building Energy Optimization) software for residential energy modeling and economic optimization of efficiency and PV. See for more information about downloading the free BEopt software and how utility rates can be used within the tool.

    The direct link to the interactive website for the URDB is:

    Version 3 API documentation can be found here:

    1 comment(s)
  • Jleyshon
    17 Jul 2014 - 13:42 by Jleyshon

    Deadline - July 31, 2014

    The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) RFP (Sol. # SPE600-14-R-0415) seeking up to 830,843 megawatt-hours of renewable energy certificates (RECs) for ultimate transfer to U.S. Air Force and various Federal Civilian Agencies to include one-time deliveries in September 2014; quarterly deliveries starting in December 2014 and ending in September 2015; and a two-year delivery period beginning in May 2015 and ending May 2016. The agency will accept RECs generated from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and tidal electric power generation facilities.
    Contact: Brandon Budman, 703-767-8901

  • Dbrodt
    9 Jun 2014 - 13:54 by Dbrodt

    If you are interested in Energy Systems Integration and you want to find out more about a group forming to share data and information about energy systems integration, then check out the new web site.  The National Renewable Energy Lab is managing this site.  Learn more about what NREL is doing related to energy systems integration at:

  • Allandaly
    13 May 2014 - 12:49 by Allandaly
    Utility Rate

    Hi again,

    I feel like the squeaky wheel here ... apologies for that ... but I am trying to figure out if/how to use this great resource.

    I'm interested in the California PG&E E-19 rate structure. As I understand things right now, there are two issues/problems where the E-19 rate does not fit into the current schema.

    1) The demand charges for this structure consist of three separate line-items each month. Here's what the official E-19 documentation says.

    This schedule has three demand charges, a maximum-peak-period demand
    charge, a maximum part-peak-period and a maximum-demand
    charge. The maximum-peak-period-demand charge per kilowatt applies to
    the maximum demand during the month’s peak hours, the maximum partpeak-
    period demand charge per kilowatt applies to the maximum demand
    during the month’s part-peak hours, and the maximum demand charge per
    kilowatt applies to the maximum demand at any time during the month. The
    bill will include all of these demand charges.

    So the 'maximum' demand charge overlaps 'maximum peak period' and the 'maximum part-peak period' charges.

    It seems to me that the way you currently have the demandweekdaysschedule and demandweekendsschedule fields set up that there is no ability for two demand period tier rates to apply to the same hour. Am I understanding this correctly?

    2) The time periods for this rate are defined as follows.

    SUMMER Period A (Service from May 1 through October 31):
    Peak: 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (except holidays)
    Partial-peak: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon Monday through
    AND 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday (except holidays)
    Off-peak: 9:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday
    All day Saturday, Sunday, and holidays
    WINTER Period B (service from November 1 through April 30):
    Partial-Peak: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (except holidays)
    Off-Peak: 9:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday (except holidays)
    All day Saturday, Sunday, and holidays 
    The current schema does not seem to be able to capture the 8:30 am and 9:30 pm start/end times. You currently only allow for on-the-hour rate assignments. Again, am I seeing this correctly?
    Do the upcoming schema changes address these issues?
    Thanks for your help.
    3 comment(s)
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