Insights from our Editorial Team
University of California San Diego takes microgrids to the world
One proponent of microgrids offers a can-do assessment of how these systems can meet myriad challenges and complement a centralized power structure. The University of California San Diego is not only meeting challenges but taking its findings to market so that others may benefit as well. Today we feature the first of a two-part interview with Byron Washom, UCSD's director of strategic energy initiatives.
CEA sets guidelines for selection and use of smart grid standards
The Canadian Electricity Association recently released its "Guideline for the Selection and Use of Smart Grid Standards." In it, the association promotes the use of a consensus-based standards approach. Earlier this year, an EPRI cost-and-benefits report also indicated consensus-based standards deliver better results. And the industry is working on them. But will they come together quickly enough?
Microgrids are on the rise for reliability and cost-effectiveness
Microgrid announcements are coming fast and furious, largely because microgrids make sense for reliability and economics. The question is whether they will serve the centralized grid and vice-versa, when the going gets tough.
IDC reports progress, new urgency
IDC Energy Insights finds that security-related spending is up among electric utilities in late 2010 and early 2011, but a "security culture" lags behind. The good news: executive awareness of the threat landscape is up and there's new urgency in the wake of a year's worth of highly publicized incidents.
Are these systems the real Achilles heel?
Discussions of cyber security largely focus on information technology. But what about the industrial control systems (ICS) that run the grid's machinery? One man has a self-appointed mission to bring greater attention to the issue. After all, the Stuxnet program that hindered Iranian centrifuges targeted ICSs. Readers are invited to weigh in on the issue.
Outsider advises maintaining electro-mechanical isolation
Are personnel at today's electric utilities really equipped to deal with cyber security threats? Despite the rush to add sensors, controls and intelligence to the grid, wouldn't electro-mechanical isolation be more effective in achieving security? An information assurance expert from outside the industry, who works for a Department of Defense contractor, provides an atypical viewpoint.
Charm offensive or substantive conversation?
Listening to and talking with customers sounds simple. But what should utilities listen for and what should their messages be? One group today offered a uniform messaging platform that utilities can tweak for their own circumstances, proposed programs and particular stakeholders. The National Action Plan's "Communications Umbrella" was unveiled today in Washington, D.C. Read this column on how to engage your customers and persuade them to accept your programs.
Industry insiders share their thoughts
The electric utility of 2020 will be decidedly different than the electric utility of the past. The electric utility of today is evolving, and data and data analysis is becoming an increasingly important operational tool. Where is this heading? See what the experts have to say.
Pepco, Portland and Connecticut L & P offer insights
Engaging customers may be a linchpin to many utility challenges, from capital deferral to system efficiencies, including peak load reduction, to customer stickiness in deregulated markets. Three utilities share their philosophies and their programs, to illustrate lessons learned and best practices.
Colorado commission adopts smart policies
One silver lining to the SmartGridCity cloud: the Colorado Public Utility Commission has articulated its basic smart grid policy going forward, from its own basic tenets to a heads-up for regulated utilities and their responsibilities. Colorado's journey may well reflect an evolution in thinking among other commissions across the country.