Intelligent Utility Magazine March/April 2009
In This Issue
  • TOP 10 KNOWLEDGE CENTERS PLOW AHEAD DESPITE ECONOMICS WOES
    AS WITH ANY NEW TECHNOLOGY, THE "EXPERTS" TEND TO BE THOSE WHO have any knowledge on the subject. But who are the true experts when it comes to smart grid and intelligent utility? I recently poured through the groups representing themselves as knowledge centers in this market to discover which ones might actually be of some real use. Here's what I found. Table 1 lists the top 10...
  • INTELLIGENT VIEWPOINTS WITH SAWS AND PG&E
    THIS REGULAR COLUMN FOR INTELLIGENT UTILITY PRESENTS THE INSIGHTS of utility leaders regarding the development of the emerging smart grid and intelligent utility. Last issue's column focused on smarter ways to manage risk. This issue's column discusses benefits to utilities from conservation. Good environmental decisions may be made for the sake of doing good, but utilities should...
  • NATIONAL GRID, BPA LOOK AT RENEWABLES Challenges From generation to the end user
    WHEN WIND FARM DEVELOPERS LINED UP AT A GRID OPERATOR'S OR utility's door a few years ago, plans to add a new project didn't cause undue concern. After all, 10 MW here, 50 MW there, weren't going to significantly change the scheduling of resource dispatch or burden interconnections throughout a region.Now that wind projects are measuring in the hundreds of MWs in recent years, they are not only...
  • OBAMA'S ROLE IN THE NEW ENERGY ECONOMY
    THE ENERGY SECTOR IS SET TO SPARK THE REJUVENATION OF America. It's all about the production of alternative energy and green jobs and it's all about to be spearheaded by the president of the United States.President Barack Obama and Congress are in the midst of pouring nearly $1 trillion dollars into the American economy in the form of spending and tax cuts to serve as the central...
  • REDUCING TSD LINE LOSSES TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS
    AS THE PRESSURE TO MINIMIZE CARBON EMISSIONS mounts, policymakers and electric utilities have been pursuing energy efficiency with a renewed sense of urgency as a means toward this end. While most of the attention in energy efficiency has focused on more efficient end-use of electricity, there is growing interest in expanding the scope of energy efficiency to include more efficient...
  • LIPA DISCUSSES SOLUTIONS
    "CUSTOMERS UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE NOW IN AN evolution," insisted Bruce Germano, vice president of retail service for Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). "When people are thinking green, they are thinking globally - in energy, water and everything they do. And people are thinking more about renewables to recognize the long-term value." And Germano would know. Previously serving as...
  • NIST AND GWAC ON TODAY AND TOMORROW
    FIRST OF ALL, BEFORE DISCUSSING THE EFFORTS OF THE NATIONAL Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the GridWise Architecture Council (GWAC), we need to get something out on the table. Interoperability for a smarter grid and a more intelligent utility involves more than just technical standards. It covers informational and organizational standards, too. For example, standards...
  • INTEROPERABILITY LESSONS FROM MANUFACTURING'S TURN
    THE SMART GRID/INTELLIGENT UTILITY CONCEPT IS exploding onto the scene, accompanied by promises of increased efficiency, cost savings, load-leveling through demand response schemes, and postponing the need to build additional power plants. As the utility industry begins to tackle the details on how all of this will work, we have the opportunity to leverage years of hard work and...
  • CONSUMERS ENERGY MOVES AHEAD
    THE SMART UTILITY IS ONE THAT DEPLOYS SYSTEMS intelligently. In today's climate of mergers and acquisitions, vendor failures, and technology advances, the intelligent deployment of technology typically means looking at standards-based solutions. "Within the next 30 years, we will see a shift to distributed energy solutions that will need to be communicated to and managed," said...
  • DR IS HERE, AGAIN
    THE CONCEPT OF DEMAND RESPONSE (DR) HAS BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME. IN the 1990s, it was called demand side management. In the mid-1990s, a number of what we now call smart homes and at least two fully automated subdivisions were built - one in Arkansas and another in Georgia. They were ahead of their time then. Their time may be about to arrive.DR is a means of reducing consumption of...
  • + debbie Kimberly, manager, energy efficiency & policy analysis+ dan dreiling, supervisor, product developmentWHY DEMAND RESPONSE?A key reason for SRP's demand response program comes down to three words: Phoenix in summer. on top of that, constructing new peaking power plants takes significant time and investment. "siting a new power plant is no simple task and with a greater push towards...
  • PRACTICAL OR A PIPE DREAM?
    WITH ALL THE RECENT DISCUSSION OF A NATIONAL OR "SUPER" GRID BY the Obama administration and federal politicians, it's easy to forget that the idea is not new. In fact, the concept of a wide-area transmission network enabling the trading of high volumes of electricity across vast distances dates back to the 1960s when Europe began unifying its grid. Over the ensuing years, the quest to...
  • A smarter grid will incorporate numerous technologies, including an array of intelligent sensors, software and communications devices integrated with power system control functions. these advanced transmission technologies will increase power flows and improve reliability to deliver significant economic, environmental and performance benefits. some examples include: Smart diagnostics...
  • THERE STILL IS A LONG WAY TO GO
    SUBSTATIONS ARE A FASCINATING AND UBIQUITOUS FEATURE OF THE American landscape. They are where most of the work gets done in the process of distributing electricity to the approximately 160 million homes and businesses in the country. It's impossible to know exactly how many substations there are - even the U.S. Energy Information Administration doesn't seem to know exactly - but everyone has...
  • A CLOSER LOOK AT TVA'S BRADLEY SUBSTATION
    IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME. AND LIKE THE FIELD OF DREAMS, interested parties from as far away as Saudi Arabia and Thailand have flocked to visit Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) state-of-the-art, highly automated substation in Bradley, Tenn. What's the draw? The Bradley substation is the first in North America to utilize the IEC 61850 communications standard. In an...
  • TVA, PG&E TALK SUBSTATION AUTOMATION STRATEGIES
    IMAGINE THE LOOK OF SURPRISE ON THE FACES OF THIEVES WHO BREAK into a substation facility in search of highly valuable copper to steal, only to find that the building contains hardly any copper at all. Although deterring theft is not the main driver behind the move to substation automation projects, it certainly relates to one of the many advantages - using less copper wiring and other...
  • COOP DISCUSSES CHANGES TO NMS
    MID-CAROLINA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC., A 40,000-MEMBER electric distribution utility in South Carolina, recently upgraded its network management svstem (NMS). Keith Starkie, vice president of information technology, and Lee Anyers, system engineer, took some time chat with Intelligent Utility about the upgrade. INTELLIGENT UTILITY What pushed you to upgrade your NMS? STARKIE A...
  • SEMPRA LOOKS AT NEAR REAL-TIME DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM PERFORMANCE
    WHEN IMPLEMENTING SMART GRID SYSTEMS, WHAT DO YOU TEND TO THINK of? Most frequently, people think about smart, or digital meter systems with their vast communication and data transfer capabilities. Many utilities are installing these systems primarily because they are concerned about meter reading, load control/demand response and service connect/disconnect. Many other characteristics...
  • HOW DID WE GET TO THIS PLACE CALLED DMS?
    NEARLY TWO DECADES AGO, A YOUNG MARKET ANALYST (WHO WILL remain anonymous, but we'll call him "Mike") was attending a utility conference and happened to get into a discussion with an executive from one of the largest energy management system (EMS)/supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) providers. As the conversation about the world of utility automation and IT rolled along...
  • PSEG AND OTHERS PAVE THE WAY FOR EVS
    AFTER HAVING BEEN BURNED BY HIGH GAS PRICES, AUTOMAKERS AND consumers are primed to go electric, and the U.S. government seems ready to support the initiative to reinvigorate our economy. "We are really excited about the ultimate electrification of transportation, because in our view it's the only way that the [United States] is going to get its greenhouse gas emissions under...
  • OHIO STATE LAUNCHES NEW RSD PROGRAM
    AS THE DEMAND FOR PLUG-IN HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLES (PHEVS) continues to grow, organizations such as the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) at Ohio State University (OSU) have expanded their programs to contribute to the research and development (R&D) of these vehicles. The Sustainable Mobility-Advanced Research Team at CAR (SMART@ CAR) is "a new [R&D] program focused on...
  • MAKING ELECTRIC VEHICLES WORK AT UTILITIES
    THE ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE ESTIMATES THAT THERE will be 10 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2020. This volume of EV adoption represents two valuable opportunities upon which utilities can capitalize. One, they can ease the integration of renewable energy onto the grid by providing a configurable load that can be rapidly deployed, thereby overcoming wind and...
  • UTILITIES EMPLOY A HOST OF HIGH- AND LOW-TECH INITIATIVES TO COMBAT ENERGY THEFT
    THE BATTLE AGAINST ENERGY THEFT IS PARTICULARLY TOUGH IN developing countries, where high poverty levels provide a strong motivation to obtain electricity for free. While technology is playing an increasing role in combating loss, utilities are employing a combination of both high-tech and low-tech solutions in conjunction with social awareness programs to protect their revenues....
  • OR HOW COMPETITION FINALLY COMES TO THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
    COMPETITION COMES NATURALLY TO AMERICANS, BECAUSE WE believe in winners and losers, the Super Bowl, "American Idol," and "Survivor." Competition empowers so much of what we do. Energy utilities spent most of the 1990s coping with a nationwide campaign to bring competition to the industry. The campaign failed and the fragmented regulatory environment that resulted has disappointed...
  • SCE REALIZES EDUCATING CONSUMERS IS KEY TO A SMARTER GRID
    WHEN IT COMES TO MARKETING SMART TECHNOLOGIES, SOUTHERN California Edison (SCE) realizes that it makes sense to take full advantage of the expertise available in its marketing and customer service departments to get the word out. DEMAND RESPONSE PROGRAM MARKETING After the 2001 energy crisis, and at the request of the California Public Utilities Commission, California utilities were...
  • KCPSL SEEKS TO BETTER LEVERAGE INFORMATION
    WITH THE GROWING PERVASIVENESS AND availability of smart technologies, utilities have the opportunity to share more and more information with customers about their energy usage patterns and to create more opportunities for conserving energy. In light of this information availability, what does the future hold for traditional energy efficiency programs? Will customers quickly see...
  • AEP DEPLOYS DESIGN TOOLS TO THE FIELD
    AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER (AEP) HAS THE NATION'S LARGEST ELECTRICITY transmission system, spanning 11 states. With such a far-flung network, AEP has long seen the need for tools to simplify and speed up the process of line design in the field. Prior to handheld devices, the process of line design often took a crew of two or more people using manual methods such as measuring wheels,...
  • BUILDING A LOCATION-AWARE ENTERPRISE
    "LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!" IS THE ANSWER REAL ESTATE executives give when asked the three most important aspects that determine the value of a property. Increasingly, it seems the same answer should be given by utility executives if they are asked how to improve the value of their existing portfolio of enterprise applications. Integration with other applications is nothing new...
  • IT'S CLEAR THAT THE WORD IS OUT: THE SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO THE next-generation utility will require enhanced information technologies. Hopefully, it is also clear that those technologies are dependent on the communications networks that host so-called smart grid applications. It may be that the focus on the intelligent utility will drive an industry-wide effort to win the...
  • PNM RESOURCES USES CELLULAR FOR MORE THAN VOICE
    UTILITIES THAT WANT TO FOCUS ON THEIR CORE BUSINESS-GENERATING and providing power - can outsource management of their internal metering communications networks to public cellular network providers. The savings can add up. "It has been suggested that this could amount to $10 million of capital costs alone," said Gary Kessler, a director of customer technologies at PNM Resources....
  • RFID IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY
    SOMETIMES, WE GET SO ENAMORED WITH A TECHNOLOGY THAT WE DON'T USE it. Seemingly everybody has heard about the U.S. Department of Defense and Wal-Mart demanding that suppliers have radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on their products or they will not be considered as a supplier. For the most part, RFID was seen as an "inventory thing." Great for retail, but we in the oil and...
  • MUANG SONGKHLA, SONGKHLA THAILAND
    ONGKHLA IS A TOWN OF ABOUT 75,000 PEOPLE NEAR THE MALAYSIA border - about 600 miles south of Bangkok. Due to its location along the Gulf of Thailand, Songkhla is an important fishing town and harbor. The strong Buddhist presence brought many colorful buildings and sculptures, which contrasted nicely here with some low-hanging power lines. Vegetation management in such a warm, tropical...