New Tech Expands Distributed Generation’s Role in Greening the Grid (Part 2)

In Part 1, we looked at how industrial-scale distributed generating plants (typically hundreds of kilowatts to tens of megawatts), powered by renewable energy, are playing an important role in creating a new generation of more resilient, more sustainable power grids. We also saw that, regardless whether they make power from the sun’s distant rays or a nearby city’s sewage sludge, they’re still subject to the same technical requirements for regulating, conditioning, and distributing their output through the power grid as their larger fossil-fueled counterparts.

Fig 1 Opener Ieso Der Graphic

Source: Independent Electricity System Operators (IESO)

Here, we’ll take a closer look at how the equipment used in distributed generation systems must evolve to meet the industry’s changing requirements. While still undergoing some growing pains, distributed generation technologies are technically mature and well-defined enough whereby major utility operators, such as the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and CPS Energy, have developed extensive standards that define the design, installation, and operation of the industrial-scale power production equipment used in their grid.1,2 These standards and recent advances in power-management technology will shape the design of next-generation distributed generation systems.

Fig 2 Credit Smud

Fig 2a

Many utility operators are enabling the growth of distributed generation within their grids by providing clear guidance on the design, installation, and operation of equipment used by third-party power providers. (Source: Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD))

Electronic Design invited representatives from several leading electronics manufacturers to weigh in on those changing requirements, as well as the emerging semiconductor technologies that will enable the creation of power-conversion equipment that’s more efficient, reliable, and affordable.

Electronic Design (ED): What are the operational challenges that distributed energy systems/plants face, and how do they drive the design requirements for their equipment?

Dr. Martin Schulz, Principle at Infineon’s Industrial Power Control Division, addresses the aspect of coordination:

“A distributed energy-generation system

If This New Tech Works, You Won’t Need 32 Ether to Earn Staking Rewards

Blox, a non-custodial Ethereum 2.0 staking platform, is developing a solution that will allow users to pool their ether (ETH) cryptocurrency to get past the threshold required for staking when the upgraded network goes live.

  • The cryptocurrency accounting service provider announced on Wednesday it is working alongside the Ethereum Foundation to develop “secret shared validator” nodes.
  • By creating a network of decentralized staking pools, Blox said it would allow users to aggregate their ETH and reach the required 32 ETH to stake on the network.
  • “Allowing ETH stakers to join the network and generate rewards with any amount of ETH is pivotal for making Eth 2.0 accessible for everyone,” said Blox’s CEO Alon Muroch.
  • Staking on Eth 2.0 requires a minimum of 32 ETH in order to participate and is expected to see an estimated 4.6%-10.3% rate of return on a user’s initial stake.
  • According to Blox, the entire process is “completely decentralized” and will enable “maximum security” for the Ethereum network and for those users looking to stake on it.
  • The long-anticipated Eth 2.0 upgrade will reshape the world’s largest smart contract platform as it transitions from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS).
  • The move away from PoW to PoS is designed to improve upon Ethereum’s scalability issues stemming from its inability to handle a large number of transactions.
  • Muroch will discuss the initiative in greater detail on Wednesday at CoinDesk’s invest: ethereum economy virtual conference.

See also: 3 Things You Should Know Before Staking on Ethereum 2.0

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Four Lessons In Leading Through A Crisis From A Tech CEO

President and Chief Executive Officer at Insight Enterprises, helping clients manage their business today and transform for the future.

None of us has been immune to 2020’s challenges. However, as organizations consider long-term solutions for their changing workplace, many business leaders are taking a step back to ask how their businesses are doing, if they’re better prepared for future unknowns and how they can take care of their people moving forward.

I’m no exception, and I’d like to offer some advice based on how my organization has navigated tumultuous times and the leadership lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Practice What You Preach

For many technology companies, one of the guiding principles might be reminding clients that people, processes and technology must be aligned for agility and mobility. Regardless of the pandemic, the business landscape is characterized by unpredictability anyway, and the most successful companies counter that through nimbleness and empowering people to be their best in any situation.

This is a principle we instill. If clients are to believe in our value proposition, we have to be proof that it works. Consequently, the transition to a mobile workforce earlier this year, while not easy, was more natural for us because our IT ecosystem and most of our employees already were set up for digital dexterity.

That isn’t to say that we didn’t face challenges enabling our technology. We’re a large organization with a global footprint, and some regions were further along in the process than others. Some teammates still used desktops, and new offices from our largest acquisition to date were still in the midst of integration. We had to quickly image and deliver hundreds of laptops and acclimate employees to a virtual desktop environment while completing our own global transformation.

We were able to work through

Tech Tenants Envision a Largely Remote Future

Now that many corporations have gone largely remote, and found that their workforce remains productive, the technology sector appears to be embracing the concept for the long-term. 

In a new survey by Savills North America of several hundred technology office tenants, a staggering majority of firms, 94%, said they expect remote work, at least a few days a week, to be normalized at their company in a post-vaccine environment.

The survey comes amid daily news of tech companies making announcements of future, office-light plans. Microsoft last week announced that employees could permanently work from home, and this past July, Google extended its allowance of employees to work remotely until at least next summer.

These shifts are prompting changed expectations on the office footprints of tech firms, according to the Savills technology practice group’s survey. Covid-19 has impacted 64% of firms’ headcount growth projections. The good news is that just 8% of survey respondents said their headcount would likely decrease, while 36% said it would grow as projected and another 6% said it’d grow even faster than projected.

Also of note: while 59% of those surveyed said that, pre-Coronavirus, zero to 10% of their employees worked from home full-time, just 16% of respondents said that same amount of workers would do full-time remote work.

Still, companies are getting ready for a shift, with 55% of companies saying they expect to dispose of some portion of their office space in the next 12 to 18 months.

That dovetails with recent trends. Technology was one of the two top sectors to contribute sublease space to the Los Angeles market, which has increased by 20% in recent months, according to JLL.  The sector has been responsible for 26% of the approximately 80 new or expanded subleases that were available as of last month, the

7 Big Tech Stocks to Buy For Blockchain And Crypto Exposure

Following the creation of the first cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) in 2009, other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP), followed suit to bring further attention to blockchain technology.

But there’s a lot of potential for the blockchain. According to recent research led by Vida J. Morkunas of Lulea University of Technology, Sweden and published by the Kelly School of Business, Indiana University:

“Emerging technologies regularly serve as enabling forces for economic, social, and business transformation.. [B]lockchain placed among the top five technology trends in 2018… Therefore, blockchain is predicted to challenge existing business models and offer opportunities for new value creation.”

As you probably know, the blockchain is a public digital ledger and a record-keeping technology. All transactions that have written in blocks are immutable, and information can never be erased. Furthermore, they are transparent to all parties in question.

And while blockchain-based decentralized cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, draw much attention, analysts concur there are significant opportunities for many industries in this disruptive technology. At present, the global blockchain market is valued at $3 billion, but is expected to reach $40 billion by 2025.

Here are 7 big tech stocks to buy for blockchain and crypto exposure:

  • Alibaba (NYSE:BABA)
  • Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)
  • Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE)
  • Reality Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy ETF (NASDAQ:BLCN)
  • Silvergate Capital (NYSE:SI)
  • Square (NYSE:SQ)

Regular readers are likely familiar with a wide range of the companies responsible for the blockchain technology these cryptocurrencies are based on. There’s a big runway for potential growth here.

Big Tech Stocks to Buy for Blockchain and Crypto: Alibaba (BABA)

Alibaba Group (BABA) headquarters sign located in Hangzhou China

Source: Kevin Chen Photography /

52-week range: $163.42 $302.61

As the leading e-commerce platform and enterprise cloud services provider in China, Alibaba