Intelligent Utility Magazine January/February 2009
In This Issue
  • Great River Energy Discusses Coop Progress
    DESPITE CURRENT ECONOMIC WOES, THE FUTURE OF THE ELECTRIC industry is still filled with optimism. The intelligent utility will benefit the industry and society in many ways. Grid operations will be more efficient, capital investments will be deferred and informed customers will conserve more energy. A transformation of this magnitude will require significant time, funding and effort, which all...
  • The "Who" of Intelligent Initiatives
    HOW YOU ORGANIZE TO IMPLEMENT YOUR INELLIGENT UTILITY VISION is more important than the smart grid system you pick. In fact, neither the intelligent utility nor the smart grid are single systems. Rather, intelligent utility is a vision implemented by strategy, business process, and system change. Figure1 depicts options for moving from status quo to an intelligent utility. The left-hand side of...
  • Xcel Energy Involves Numerous Stakeholders to Move From Vision to Reality
    AS ROGER GRAY POINTED OUT IN THE LAST ARTICLE, TODAY, MANY UTILITIES struggle to figure out where smart grid/intelligent utility fits in their company - from what department owns these projects to how departments collaborate on a project. Michael Lamb, managing director of IT operations and strategy, Xcel Energy, discusses how building grid intelligence takes more than just a department or a...
  • Pepco Addresses Regulatory Concerns
    PEPCO HOLDINGS,INC. (PHI) IS IMPLEMENTING ITS BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUTURE, designed to pursue innovative technologies and initiatives that will provide PHI's customers with increased energy efficiency, demand response and pricing options. PHI's Blueprint includes implementing: Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) Meter data management (MDM) systemHome area networking (HAN)Demand response Outage...
  • An Online Outtake
    A CARDINAL RULE OF ANY CONTRACT FOR SERVICES OR PRODUCTS IS to ''know your vendor.'' Granted, the requisite knowledge will vary with the risk profile of the service or product, however, information technology and business process outsourcing contracts invariably require close vendor scrutiny. Examples for energy utilities include contracts involving automated meter reading (AMR) and advanced...
  • A Closer Look at PPL Electric Utilities
    Meet Bob Geneczko. He started his PPL career in 1974 as an engineer and is now vice president of customer services for PPL Electric Utilities. Geneczko took some time to discuss PPL initiatives to learn more about its grid, which included upgrading more than 1.4 million meters. For Geneczko and others at PPL Electric Utilities, the initiatives have not been so much ''smart grid'' as building more...
  • A quick look at smarter grids and more intelligent utilities
    PPL ELECTRIC UTILITIES IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF increasing intelligence about the grid through improved metering capabilities. Although smarter meters enabled data communication, PPL had to turn that data into intelligence and enable groups both inside and outside of the utility to acquire the knowledge they need to ensure reliable, affordable, efficient and sustainable energy. PPL is building a...
  • IT IS PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO NOT FEEL overwhelmed by information emerging from all corners of the utility industry touting the coming age of intelligence across utilities. This age, in effect, will bring an entirely different game to the utility industry. The possibilities in this bold, new, intelligent utility game range from more ways to leverage existing intelligent systems to entirely...
  • Amid Economic Crisis, Federal Support Remains Strong
    Despite an ailing economy, the federal government's interest in modernizing the electricity grid to be more reliable, use less energy, save money, increase the nation's security and lower greenhouse gas emissions, remains strong.Utilities, for instance, are set to benefit from a measure included in the $700-billion bailout package signed into law last year that would allow them to write off smart...
  • Public policy will inspire or necessitate it
    FEDERAL LAWMAKERS HAVE TAKEN A KEEN INTEREST in the concept, realizing that a modern grid is essential to improving reliability and bolstering economic output. A multitude of states, meanwhile, are either considering or enacting laws to promote digital technologies. Massachusetts, for example, recently adopted legislation to require utilities to perform time-of-use studies and adopt smart grid...
  • The utility of the future: Austin Energy's take
    THE QUESTION THAT MOST UTILITIES ASK IS HOW to get to ''the utility of the future.'' However, you must start with defining what the future is. I see the future as building a utility that is customer-driven, integrated, interactive, optimized, distributed, secure and self-healing. The utility of the future is: One that is capable of decoupling the physical delivery of the electrons from the...
  • Build a roadmap with both short- and long-term vision
    THE HEADLONG RUSH INTO AN ''INTELLIGENT infrastructure'' has created an interesting dilemma as expectations far outpace today's reality and bump up against the coincident need for massive infrastructure investments in transmission, distribution and customer technologies. These expectations, promises and desires are driven by regulators, vendors and those in the industry who recognize the...
  • Seattle City Light's on the move toward tomorrow
    EACH UTILITY HAS ITS OWN VERSION OF WHAT IT MEANS to build a smarter grid and ultimately a more intelligent utility, Seattle City Light included. But this utility offers some important lessons. Seattle City Light is thinking big, but realizes that it can't have everything it wants today. Let's take a closer look at where this utility wants to be tomorrow and the prudent steps it is taking today...
  • Transmission is the Brawn for the Brain
    TRANSMISSION WIRES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE TRANSPORTATION workhorses of the electric grid. Directing electrical current from generation to substation, these aging electricity highways have traditionally lacked intelligence. But, faced with the daunting task of increasing power delivery across the grid in a reliable and secure fashion - not one wrought with congestion and inefficiency - today's...
  • Utilities Worldwide Learn from one Another
    A SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE IS THAT THE CREATION OF THE SMART grid - and, consequently, the evolution of the intelligent utility - is that it is not a development that utilities can start from scratch. This is where lifespan plays a major role. In the telecommunications, computer and Internet industries, technology has an average lifespan of about three years, which allows for relatively smooth...
  • UTILITIES WORLDWIDE LEARN FROM ONE ANOTHER
    A SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE IS THAT THE CREATION OF THE SMART grid - and, consequently, the evolution of the intelligent utility - is that it is not a development that utilities can start from scratch. This is where lifespan plays a major role. In the telecommunications, computer and Internet industries, technology has an average lifespan of about three years, which allows for relatively...
  • SMEPC and others dive into a new energy era
    Electric utilities are often stereotyped as stodgy, bureaucratic organizations that are perpetually behind the technological and political curve. Narrow that stereotype to Chinese electric utilities, and the image changes to one of aging, smog-belching coal plants and poorly planned distribution grids - the vestige of an inefficient, centrally planned economy. However, these...
  • ENERGINET.DK FINDS COLORADO PARTNERS TO HELP MANAGE DISTRIBUTED GENERATION
    Nothing says the future of a globalized, more intellige nt grid than the collaboration between Colorado State University (CSU), the Danish power grid operator Energinet.dk and Spirae, Inc., a Colorado-based team of experts on power grid modeling, simulation, control system engineering, wind power and distributed energy. Together they have gone beyond smart grid modeling and...
  • Electric vehicles are not included in the current test, but Energinet's smart technology is designed to be extended to these and other generation and storage sources - controls can be plugged in as new technologies become available. That may be soon. Early this year, the Danish government announced a pilot program with Project Better Place to set up an electric car program aimed at...
  • CONSUMERS WANT TO BUY MORE OF IT. STATES ARE DEMANDING utilities buy or supply ever-increasing amounts. Policymakers see it as the best hope of reducing carbon emissions. And the power industry is trying to adjust to all these pressures. Renewable energy is hot, for all these reasons and more. While demand for power from all sources increases, overlaid on this issue are more worries about...
  • SYSTEMS EXPAND TO SUPPORT NEW CHALLENGES AND NEEDS
    In two recent 2008 surve ys conducted by research firm Newton-Evans, utility officials acknowledged the importance of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), energy management systems (EMS) and related control systems in the development of a smarter grid. Among American officials, the role of the control center and related budgeting for control systems upgrades and new...
  • ComED AVOIDS 70,000 CUSTOMER OUTAGES
    WE HEAR ABOUT THE SMART GRID EVERYWHERE nowadays. Recently, I even saw the new White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel lecture a Wall Street Journal forum of Fortune 500 CEOs about it. The promise of smart grid technology is obviously great, but as we await its full flowering, utilities can use innovative technologies right now to get smarter and more reliable. Within ComEd's...
  • KURT YEAGER DISCUSSES MICROGRID POSSIBILITIES
    IMPROVING SUBSTATION INTELLIGENCE, OPTIMIZING NETWORK management systems and introducing more automation can help build grid intelligence. The Galvin Electric Initiative, however, argues that current efforts to optimize power systems are limited if utilities only design and create solutions bounded by central generation on one end and the meter at the other. The Galvin Electric...
  • EVERY WHITE PAPER AND PRESENTATION ABOUT THE SMART GRID SEEMS to include some explanation of what the smart grid is: ''Smart grid must include advanced metering and distribution automation and'' … blah de blah. It sounds so easy. Need a smart grid? Start with a network, add smart meters and meter data management, interfaces to the back office, two-way digital network paths, sensors...
  • TECHNOLOGIES TO BETTER CONNECT CUSTOMERS WITH UTILITIES
    Just as some of us rely on our car navigation systems to help us reach a destination, so too should a smarter grid provide customers with an always-on, but efficient electricity supply. Most electricity consumers are not aware of smart grid and its implications for them. In-home technologies that help customers plus utility technologies together will form the basis for making the...
  • HOME ENERGY DISPLAYS CAN BEGIN A REAL-TIME CONVERSATION
    UTILITIES PROVIDE THEIR CUSTOMERS WITH METERS, BILLS AND CUSTOMER service. But the meters don't talk to the customers. The bills don't help much in figuring out how to use energy more wisely. Many utility customer service representatives lack the tools to tell customers much about household and appliance energy uses. Is there an easy way for utilities to begin a real-time...
  • PSE KEEPS FOCUSING ON STRONG ''REAL-WORLD'' CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
    THE ENERGY BUSINESS HAS NEVER BEEN MORE CHALLENGING. UTILITIES must upgrade transmission and distribution infrastructure, produce green energy, drive energy efficiency and remain in compliance with evolving federal and state standards - all while controlling costs and maintaining reliability. That's a tall order under any circumstance and even more daunting in a turbulent economy....
  • AMI AND SMART GRID CAN SUPPORT MANY CRITICAL INTELLIGENT UTILITY INITIATIVES
    Webster tells us that the definition of intelligence is an ability to learn or understand from experience and to acquire and retain knowledge in order to respond quickly and successfully to a new situation. This definition pretty much characterizes the direction that utilities are taking today as they respond to increasing regulatory pressures by upgrading or adding new systems capable of...
  • THERE IS A LOT OF EMPHASIS BEING PLACED ON THE ROLL-OUT ANDinstallation of smart meters for utilities and their customers. However, with all of the focus on the initial issues, it's important not to lose sight of issues that can and will arise further down the road - specifically the maintenance, repair and eventual replacement strategies for the meters. While full-scale...
  • INTELLIGENT VIEWPOINTS
    WE ARE INTRODUCING A REG ULAR COLUMN FOCUSED ON THE INSIGHTS of utility leaders regarding the development of technology to serve the emerging intelligent utility. In this issue, Louis Rana discusses the adoption of incremental technology innovations that are helping Con Edison minimize risk to the grid as well as to its customers. Don Cortez reflects on CenterPoint Energy's recent...
  • COLLABORATION AND STANDARDIZATION KEY FOR CYBERSECURITY
    So ''change '' is the new buzzword, eh? Maybe the electric power industry will emerge from the back of the room after all. Our industry is coming closer to the forefront of many current social issues, infrastructure investment is getting more talk time and we have been working hard on the whole change thing for a couple of years now. Before we get too full of ourselves, however, we...
  • Regulatory transformation. Much has been said in the past year about our new federally mandated electric reliability operator, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC ), especially in regard to cybersecurity and the protection of critical infrastructure. While it is easy to stand on the sidelines and throw criticism, even a casual glance inside reveals a...
  • MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS PARALLEL UTILITY INDUSTRY NEEDS
    UTILITIES HAVE MADE CONSIDERABLE INVESTMENTS in geospatial technology over the past 30 years, but are rarely early adopters, instead waiting for proven solutions. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have spurred massive military spending on geospatial technology research and development, which have opened up new frontiers for gathering intelligence and aiding decision makers. The...
  • ALTHOUGH MANY PEOPLE THINK OF RIO DE JANEIRO WHEN THEY THINK OF Brazil, Sao Paulo, about 275 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro, is actually Brazil's largest city. As far as the cityscape, Sao Paulo features many modern, stunning skyscrapers. I thought this photo juxtaposed well one of those skyscrapers with the ''backbone'' or the power lines that make these structures practical to...