Earth2Tech Week in Review

Why Open Source for the Smart Grid Needs a Kick-Start: Berkeley Labs has been working on an open source version of a system for demand response services for the power grid for more than five years. But only one company in that time has commercialized a version of the open source platform — a sign that utilities are very far from embracing open source for the smart grid.

Explosion!: Lithium Battery Safety Still a Problem: Multiple explosions and a major fire at Toxco’s Trail, British Columbia recycling facility this week added fresh fuel to smoldering fears about the safety of lithium-ion batteries for use in the upcoming generation of plug-in vehicles, as well as for recycling and disposal of the devices.

For Xcel Energy Customers, Microsoft’s Hohm is Now Live!: Microsoft’s energy management online tool Hohm is now live and available to utility Xcel Energy’s 3.4 million customers — a big step for the computing company’s energy tool and a sign of how companies are building ways for customers to start monitoring and managing energy consumption before smart meters get installed in larger numbers.

5 Reasons Wi-Fi Will Take a Back Seat for the Smart Grid: Despite attempts by companies and industry groups to paint the wireless standard Wi-Fi (the one commonly used within buildings for Internet connections) as a winner for smart grid rollouts, it’s looking like Wi-Fi will end up taking a back seat for the next generation of the digital power grid.

Former VC to Lead DOE Loan Guarantee & Green Car Loan Programs: The Obama administration has named a former VC, Jonathan Silver, to head up highly competitive loan programs that have awarded direct loans and guarantees to venture-backed companies including Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive and Solyndra.

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