California IOUs Embrace OpenADR 2.0


The OpenADR Alliance, a nonprofit corporation created to foster the development, adoption and compliance of the Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR) Smart Grid standard, announced that California investor-owned utilities plan to require the OpenADR 2.0 standard for new customers in their demand response (DR) enabling technology programs in 2013.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison will add OpenADR 2.0 certified products to support locational dispatch of emergency and price DR resources that allow them to manage peak demand better without the need for expensive new power plants.

OpenADR is an open global standard that enables electricity providers and system operators to automatically communicate DR signals with one another and their customers by using a common language over any existing Internet Protocol-based communications network. OpenADR standardizes DR price and reliability messages that automate and simplify customer DR participation and improve DR event results.

“The availability of products’ complying with the OpenADR 2.0 standard will allow us to reduce the cost and improve the performance of our AutoDR programs,” said Albert Chiu, PG&E product manager. “Using an OpenADR-based system, our customers can better manage their energy use during DR events, and the utility can minimize stranded assets at the same time. The automated system has provided PG&E and our customers a better way to manage DR resources.”

Other key benefits of OpenADR 2.0 implementation include:

  • The rapid delivery of price and event information through a secure network;
  • Improvement of the predictability of DR resources before and during an event;
  • Maximum incentives available from utilities to implement AutoDR-enabled control systems;
  • Support of fast DR, which will facilitate the integration of an increasing amount of renewable energy sources and the use of DR for ancillary services; and
  • Reduction in the cost of deploying AutoDR programs and technologies as OpenADR functionality is designed directly into third-party products.

FPL Marks End of 2012 Hurricane Season

2012 Hurricane Season

Nov. 30 marked the formal end of hurricane season that officially started June 1, and Florida experienced its seventh consecutive year without a direct hit from a hurricane.

Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) and its customers, however, were impacted by four major tropical systems in 2012 and provided significant support to those in the Northeast.

The 2012 storm season demonstrated that no electric company is storm proof and FPL ‘ s comprehensive storm plan focuses on readiness, restoration and recovery to respond safely and as quickly as possible if a major storm strikes its service territory.

“Though storm season might be done on the calendar, we prepare year-round for weather and other events that have the potential to disrupt service,” said Eric Silagy, FPL president. “Our goal is always to minimize the impact on our customers.”

2012 Storm Season

This storm season, which saw early tropical activity, brought four named systems-Tropical Storm Beryl in May, Tropical Storm Debby in June, Tropical Storm Isaac in August and Hurricane Sandy in October-that collectively disrupted electric service to nearly 900,000 of FPL’s 4.6 million customers across the state.

FPL line workers demonstrated their technical skills as they safely restored power to more than 80 percent of customers within eight hours of their service interruptions.

“Even when a hurricane does not make landfall in our territory, the associated tropical storm force winds, rain and flooding that often come with these massive systems can cause damage or interfere with restoration efforts,” Silagy said. “We are on a peninsula in Florida with hundreds of miles of coastline. As much as we prepare, storms can damage power lines and equipment, causing outages.”

FPL Received Mutual Assistance Twice During 2012

As part of mutual assistance agreements, FPL coordinates with other utilities to receive out-of-state support.

These preparations, along with ordering restoration equipment and supplies and securing staging sites throughout Florida prior to hurricane season, enable the company to deploy crews and equipment quickly to storm-damaged communities.

FPL received mutual assistance from partnering utilities twice during 2012:

  • Tropical Storm Isaac. FPL pre-staged nearly 2,500 additional line personnel and electrical contractors from partner utilities as far north as Pennsylvania and as far west as Ohio. The storm’s path did not impact Florida directly as many had predicted, but two days of heavy rain, flooding and high winds caused significant damage.
  • Hurricane Sandy. FPL secured more than 100 additional line workers from partner utilities in Florida who joined the company’s restoration effort along the entire east coast of Florida.

FPL Provided Mutual Assistance Twice During 2012

Through the Southeast Electric Exchange, FPL offers mutual assistance to other utilities once the company is assured customers in its service territory are no longer at risk of being impacted by a tropical system.

FPL provided mutual assistance twice to the Northeast in 2012:

  • Super Derecho, July 2012. FPL sent 135 workers to Maryland to help restore power following the Super Derecho storm that impacted several mid-Atlantic states.
  • Hurricane Sandy, October 2012. FPL deployed nearly 1,000 employees and contractors-including material handlers and operations and logistics professionals-along with bucket trucks, tankers, fuel pumper trucks and other equipment to assist 11 utilities from Virginia to New Jersey to restore power and rebuild their electric systems following Sandy.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to help fellow utilities and their customers in their time of need, and we are grateful to receive assistance when we need it,” Silagy said. “The concept of mutual assistance is very important to our industry.”

FPL Continues to Focus
on Storm Resiliency

In the 20 years since Hurricane Andrew, FPL has invested to make its systems more resilient to storms, used significant technological advances, improved how crews and resources are positioned, and made its emergency response organization more efficient to help restoration efforts. In addition, FPL uses many tools and technology that didn’t exist in the early ’90s, including improved weather information, GPS, restoration spatial view and infrared technology.

Technology advancements allow FPL to inform customers about restoration efforts faster after a storm. For example, hours after a storm, FPL creates a preliminary restoration estimate by using computer modeling based on historical data. The estimate will change as damage reports from the field are complete, but it’s intended to help customers and communities make initial plans.

In addition, at the start of the 2012 storm season, FPL opened the Category 5-rated FPL Command Center in Riviera Beach that is the brain center of the company’s restoration and logistics planning for its 35-county service territory.

FPL consistently outperforms national averages for service reliability, and its typical residential customer bills, based on data available in December 2011, are some 25 percent below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among U.S. utilities. It is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc.

AutoGrid Systems Secures $9M in Financing to Bring Big Data Analytics to Energy Industry


AutoGrid Systems, a big data analytics and software services company that empowers utilities and end users to control their power consumption and costs, announced it has raised $9 million in venture funding from leading Silicon Valley investors.

Foundation Capital, Voyager Capital and Stanford University participated in the funding, which occurred in two rounds.

In addition, AutoGrid also signed contracts worth more than $5 million with ARPA-E, the advanced projects research agency of the Department of Energy, and the California Energy Commission.

The company also publicly introduced the Energy Data Platform (EDP), a scalable and secure software platform for mining the wealth of data from smart meters and other networked assets connected to the grid.

In addition, the company unveiled the Demand Response Optimization and Management Systems (DROMS), a software-as-a-service demand response optimization and management platform that reduces the cost of implementing demand response by 90 percent while increasing the yield of these programs by 30 percent.

DROMS has been integrated and used in demand response programs for the city of Palo Alto Utilities and Sacramento Municipal Utilities District.

“AutoGrid transforms data into actionable intelligence for utilities and their customers,” said Steve Vassallo, a partner at Foundation Capital. “As an initial application, the technology will dramatically help expand how demand response programs are used by utilities and retail electricity providers in the nation and around the world. We are thrilled with how quickly the company has started gaining customer traction in what is considered to be a challenging market.”

AutoGrid applies big data technologies and predictive algorithms to help utilities, grid operators and end users harness the data generated by smart meters, grid sensors, building energy management systems and other devices.

Similar to recommendation engines for e-commerce sites or algorithms for predicting weather, EDP uses petabytes of structured and unstructured data to forecast consumption under normal and event conditions by examining ongoing trends, past consumption patterns and relationships among millions of interdependent variables.

The system learns continuously and becomes more accurate as more data becomes available and can optimize power distribution and consumption as it is used more.

Dan Ahn, a managing director at Voyager Capital, said AutoGrid is creating the brains of the smart grid.

“If you can analyze all of the data, you can predict what the electrical parameters of the grid will be under any situation and use that to remove inefficiencies from the electricity supply chain,” he said. “This is a huge, long-term opportunity to apply state-of-the-art big data analytics with a disruptive business model to transform a 100-year old industry.”

The company’s executive team brings together deep domain experience and a successful execution track record in diverse areas such as engineering system design and optimization, large-scale transaction systems, behavior-driven software applications, communications, Internet advertising, revenue management and electric utilities business.

Founder and CEO Amit Narayan served as the director of smart grid research in modeling and simulation at Stanford University from 2010 to 2012 and has brought numerous technologies to market.

Narayan founded Berkeley Design Automation and served as vice president of products at Magma Design Automation, where he developed products that are used to design wireless communication and semiconductor systems.

More than one-third of the semiconductors inside consumer electronics and smart phones were designed with tools developed by Narayan’s team.

Other founding executives include Chief Software Architect Rajeev Singh, Chief Technology Officer Chris Knudsen and Vice President of Business Development and Strategy Andrew Tang.

Report: Utility Data Analytics Market to Hit $3.8B Annually by 2020

GRM Research forecasts cumulative global spending on power utility analytics to top $20 billion during the next nine years, with an annual spend of $3.8 billion globally by 2020.

“The Soft Grid 2013-2020: Big Data & Utility Analytics for Smart Grid” forecasts grid operations analytics will see the most significant investment, with consumer analytics as the second-largest area. Driving growth of the utility “soft grid” are data technologies ranging from open-source data management platforms such as Hadoop to massively parallel processing big data appliances to predictive analytics to the cost improvements and enhanced performance of underlying data storage and infrastructure layer. The biggest names in information technology are positioning themselves to be at the front, but several seminal companies will launched in this soft grid space. GTM Research analyzes more than 60 vendors in this report and identifies the following companies and their technologies as potential market leaders in each segment of the soft grid market:

  • Analytics and applications: Opower, SAS, Space-Time Insight;
  • Data infrastructure and storage: Cisco, IBM, VMware; and
  • Data management and movement: Accenture, IBM, SAS, Teradata.

Report site:

ABB Technology to Enable Future DC Grid

ABB Technology

Power and automation technology group ABB announced a breakthrough in the ability to interrupt direct current, solving a 100-year-old electrical engineering puzzle and paving the way for a more efficient and reliable electricity supply system.

After years of research, ABB has developed the world’s first circuit breaker for high-voltage direct current (HVDC). It combines fast mechanics with power electronics and will be capable of interrupting power flows equivalent to the output of a large power station within 5 milliseconds-30 times faster than the blink of a human eye.

The breakthrough removes a 100-year-old barrier to the development of DC transmission grids, which will enable the efficient integration and exchange of renewable energy. DC grids also will improve grid reliability and enhance the capability of existing alternating current (AC) networks. ABB is in discussions with power utilities to identify pilot projects for the new development.

“ABB has written a new chapter in the history of electrical engineering,” said Joe Hogan, ABB CEO. “This historical breakthrough will make it possible to build the grid of the future. Overlay DC grids will be able to interconnect countries and continents, balance loads and reinforce the existing AC transmission networks.”

The Hybrid HVDC breaker development has been a flagship research project for ABB, which invests more than $1 billion annually in research and development activities. The breadth of ABB’s portfolio and combination of in-house manufacturing capability for power semiconductors, converters and high-voltage cables-key components of HVDC systems-were distinct advantages in the new development.

HVDC technology is needed to facilitate the long-distance transfer of power from hydropower plants, the integration of offshore wind power, the development of visionary solar projects, and the interconnection of power networks. ABB pioneered HVDC nearly 60 years ago. With more than 70 HVDC projects, ABB accounts for about half the global installed base, representing an installed capacity of more than 60,000 MW.

Deployment of HVDC has led to an increasing number of point-to-point connections in different parts of the world. The logical next step is to connect the lines and optimize the network. ABB already is working on the construction of multiterminal systems, and the latest DC breaker innovation is a major step in the evolution of HVDC grids. In parallel to the new hybrid breaker development, ABB has an established HVDC grid simulation center that is developing solutions for future DC overlay grid operations.

EPRI: Utilities Know Little About Customers


The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has published a report, “Understanding Electric Utility Customers-Summary Report: What We Know and What We Need to Know.”

Understanding what electricity customers want and how they perceive and realize value from electric services has become a priority across the electric industry. A better understanding of customers could allow utilities and competitive retailers to offer services involving different forms of electricity pricing, meaningful information and user-friendly technologies, which could enable improved customer knowledge and control. This could help utilities lower supply costs, increase the value of electricity to customers, and boost customer satisfaction. These outcomes could result in a more productive electricity sector and foster overall economic prosperity.

This EPRI research involved conducting an extensive review of pilots and experiments conducted in the past 10 years. It revealed that surprisingly little of what we need to know about customers and alternative program offerings has been affirmatively and credibly established. For instance:

  • Credible estimates of price response to time-of-use rates, critical-peak pricing and peak-time rebates have been established for residential and larger customers that voluntarily subscribe. These results, however, extend only to the 3 to 20 percent of customers who participate. A critical research gap is the understanding of whom decides to participate in such programs and why. That knowledge is necessary to understand how large the total benefits from such programs might be.
  • Inclining block rates, rates that increase when a customer’s usage goes above a certain level, are thought by some to discourage consumption and increase conservation. While intuitively appealing, there is no credible evidence that this rate structure has this effect, perhaps because most customers have no way of knowing what their cumulative consumption is at any time.
  • There is mounting evidence that some forms of electricity consumption information, also known as feedback, induce small but important changes in usage and that those behaviors might be sustainable. Two critical research gaps exist in understanding what factors customers take into account in deciding whether to participate and whether the effects observed in the pilots will persist.

The report summarizes existing research and distills it down to readiness scores that might help utilities and others make a first assessment of the potential impact of service offerings on the customer. It saves utilities the effort of wading through dozens of technical reports to distill relevant information about customer acceptance and response to these programs. It also provides a means for engaging in constructive dialogue among regulators and utilities about their potential to alter electricity consumption.

Moody’s Affirms CFC’s Ratings, ‘Stable’ Outlook

Moody’s Investors Service has maintained its “stable” rating outlook and affirmed its debt ratings of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp (CFC).

“Moody’s outlook reflects the financial stability, even in uncertain economic times, of both CFC and the electric cooperative network it serves,” said Sheldon C. Petersen, CFC CEO.

The affirmation follows a stable rating outlook for CFC issued by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services in October.

In its assessment, the credit rating agency noted CFC’s electric cooperative-focused loan portfolio, its market position and its diversity of funding sources as strengths.

“The A2 senior unsecured debt rating of (CFC) reflects its consistently high-quality asset portfolio and its unique market position as the dominant lender to electric distribution cooperatives,” Moody’s said. “We view the electric distribution segment, (CFC’s) principal lending market, to be among the least volatile across the electric sector. “”

At the close of the first quarter of its fiscal year 2013 (Aug. 31, 2012), 97 percent of CFC’s $19.5 billion in gross loans to members were to rural electric systems with 73 percent to electric distribution cooperatives.

Tantalus: Public Power Utilities Declare Ratepayer Concerns No. 1 Issue


Smart grid communications provider Tantalus announced the results of its users conference survey, which asked North America’s top public power utilities to address concerns and investment priorities in 2013.

The company surveyed more than 40 of its utility customers at the fifth annual Tantalus Users Conference in November. The municipal and cooperative utilities surveyed cited consumer and ratepayer concerns (42 percent) as the No. 1 issue they need to address in 2013. These findings demonstrate the public power industry’s focus on adopting new technologies that keep rates low and minimally impact customers. Additional survey questions reflect this trend, as well:

  • Voltage reduction (46 percent) and direct load control (35 percent), both of which are advanced applications that decrease loads and rates, are the top two smart grid applications surveyed utilities will implement in 2013.
  • Customer education was the third most popular choice for utilities that were selecting their top investment priority of 2013, above security enhancements and billing solutions.

The results illustrate a key decision driver in the public power market: Munis and co-ops answer to their local governments and communities, unlike investor-owned-utilities (IOUs), which cater to regulators and investors that seek quick returns on investments. Consequently, munis and co-ops are dedicated to working closely with their constituents while adopting applications that promote cost-effective and efficient service with minimal impact on customers.

Other key survey findings include:

  • Most respondents (44 percent) said completing their existing smart grid deployments is their No. 1 investment in 2013. The second largest group of respondents (34 percent) named add-on applications as the focus of their investment.
  • Only 8 percent of respondents said they think future strain (e.g., electric vehicles and solar) on the grid will be a top concern for utilities in 2013.
  • Of the utilities that indicated they are planning to hire in 2013, most are seeking to fill positions in meter support to sustain deployment completions.

“This survey demonstrates what we already know from our experience working with public power utilities for more than a decade-that they are dedicated first and foremost to serving their customers with reliable, cost-effective power,” said Eric Murray, Tantalus president and CEO. “By adopting energy-saving applications that keep rates down, utilities not only show their commitment to their customers, but they also invest in a cleaner, smarter grid.”

Team Led by Argonne National Lab Selected as DOE’s Batteries, Energy Storage Hub

Argonne National Lab

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Nov. 30 that a multipartner team led by Argonne National Laboratory has been selected for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub.

The Hub, to be known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), will combine the research and development firepower of five Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories, five universities and four private firms in an effort to achieve advances in battery performance.

“This is a partnership between world-leading scientists and world-leading companies committed to ensuring that the advanced battery technologies the world needs will be invented and built right here in America,” Chu said. “Based on the tremendous advances that have been made in the past few years, there are very good reasons to believe that advanced battery technologies can and will play an increasingly valuable role in strengthening America’s energy and economic security by reducing our oil dependence, upgrading our aging power grid, and allowing us to take greater advantage of intermittent energy sources like wind and solar.”

The governor is providing $5 million through his Illinois Jobs Now capital construction plan to help build the JCESR facility, which will be on the Argonne National Laboratory campus in suburban Chicago. In addition, Quinn has committed to working with the General Assembly to provide an additional $30 million in future capital funding for the building, which will serve as a nationwide center for energy storage research and is a key part of the governor’s plan to create jobs and grow Illinois’ economy through innovation.

“Illinois is the birthplace of innovations that have changed the world, including the Web browser, the cell phone and the ultrasound,” Quinn said. “As I said during my State of the State address, this innovative center will attract the best minds from across our state and country to turn cutting-edge scientific research into new companies that will create more American jobs and revolutionize our energy economy.”

The new Hub will integrate efforts at several successful independent research programs into a larger, coordinated effort designed to push the limits on battery advances. Improved storage will be vital to fully integrating intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar into the electrical grid. It also will be critical to transitioning the transportation sector to more flexible grid power.

National labs partners are Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. University partners are Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and University of Michigan. And the four industrial partners are Dow Chemical Co., Applied Materials Inc., Johnson Controls Inc. and Clean Energy Trust.

JCESR will be directed by George W. Crabtree, Argonne senior scientist, Distinguished Fellow and associate division director; Distinguished Professor of Physics, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago; and an internationally recognized leader in energy research.

Newton Evans: EMS, SCADA, DMS, OMS Likely to See Much Growth Through 2015

Newton Evans

The Newton-Evans Research Co. has released findings from its study of emergency management systems (EMS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), distribution management systems (DMS) and outage management systems (OMS) usage patterns in North American electric utilities, one of four components of the company’s global market assessment series on operational control systems. Among observations from interviews and surveys with 50 initial participants from U.S. and Canadian electric utilities are the following:

  • EMS, SCADA, DMS and OMS are likely to show very good growth over 2013-2015.

– Plans call for upgrades or retrofits to SCADA systems among a large percentage of these utilities.

– Plans for procurements of new DMS and OMS are significant, with more than one-quarter planning to purchase a new or replacement DMS and nearly 1 in 5 planning OMS procurements.

  • There is interest among one-third of early respondents to combining DMS and OMS on a common platform, but cybersecurity concerns have been voiced by several operations officials who are looking into such system combinations.
  • Third-party services are being used and relied upon to assist with North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) critical infrastructure protection (CIP) compliance issues and for vulnerability assessments.
  • DNP 3 is the most prevalent operational data communications protocol throughout North American electric utilities. Plans call for continuing use of DNP 3 among most utilities.
  • More topics are surveyed in this new study, including the impact of NERC CIP compliance on budgets and workloads; distribution network model maintenance; hardware maintenance responsibilities; and preferences for new applications procurement methods.

The North American report is one of four volumes being produced for the company’s 14th biennial series of EMS, SCADA and DMS studies published by Newton-Evans Research since 1984. Work on the other three volumes is underway. The entire series will be published in January 2013.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Possible Through Building Efficiency


The California Council of Science and Technology has released the next in its series of studies that documents the technology required to meet radical greenhouse gas (GHG) emission cuts by 2050-80 percent below 1990 levels.

This report focuses on strategies for reducing energy use and GHG emissions through energy-efficient technologies and retrofits of the residential and industrial sectors. The report’s authors are Jeffery Greenblatt, Max Wei and James McMahon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“We found that although we couldn’t solve the entire GHG problem through efficiency alone, we expected that outcome,” said Greenblatt, a staff scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) and the study’s lead author. “On the positive side, we were able to conclude that although it will be very challenging, substantial levels of additional efficiency and electrification in buildings and industry are possible, with large GHG benefits.”

Because population and economic growth are projected to roughly double the total demand for energy services by 2050, achieving 80 percent GHG reduction from 1990 levels requires a 90 percent reduction from 2050 emissions if nothing is done-the business-as-usual case. For the residential and commercial buildings sector, the research team examined the savings achievable through four categories of efficiency improvements: reduced capacity (downsizing, such as smaller refrigerators, or space conditioning one room rather than a whole building), increased efficiency (often through new technology), reduced usage (a combination of technology-facilitated control and behavior change), and system integration (combining elements of several service categories).

They found that although it was possible to reduce energy use technically to meet California’s 80 percent GHG reduction goal in the residential and commercial buildings sector, the potential is limited by economic feasibility and finite rates of implementation. The report’s analysis, however, provides guidance to the policy community on which energy efficiency strategies, combined with other GHG reduction policies in transportation, renewable energy and electrification, might move the state more rapidly toward its goal.

By looking at the rate of new construction, retrofit and demolition and estimating the energy efficiency improvements that are typical of existing homes, the report concludes that a 40 percent efficiency savings is possible in the 2050 California building stock relative to 2010 for both the residential and commercial sectors.

In industrial energy efficiency, the research team estimated that the potential for a 48 percent overall reduction in energy use relative to BAU was possible by 2050. The analysis included a detailed examination of the oil and gas refining (60 percent of industrial energy use) and food industries (17 percent of energy use), for which extensive data are available. They assumed that oil demand will decrease substantially by 2050 to be replaced by large-scale vehicle and building electrification and the increased use of biofuels.

For other industrial sectors, the research team looked at similar processes (e.g., boiler systems, process heating, motor systems) for savings potential based on commercially available technologies and then estimated the fraction of total industrial activity involving that process by industry sector.

The study does not examine policies that can realize these reductions in emissions. That is the subject of another study in progress called “California’s Energy Future Policy.”

Smart Grid Execs: Strong Growth Potential for Energy Storage, DG, Microgrids

Smart Grid Execs

IEEE announced a new report it commissioned that details how energy storage, distributed generation and microgrid technologies stand to evolve given the rapid deployment of the smart grid across the globe in the next five years.

Based on a survey of 460 global smart grid executives in September, Zpryme Research & Consulting created the report “Power Systems of the Future: The Case for Energy Storage, Distributed Generation, and Microgrids,” which is available for free download at

“The smart grid is the premier technological and economic platform to build the 21st century, and this report details how energy storage, distributed generation and microgrid technologies are both fueling and feeding off of the smart grid engine,” said Andres Carvallo, a member of the Zpryme smart grid advisory board and executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Proximetry.

IEEE Smart Grid Chair Wanda Reder called the smart grid a journey.

“The methods and technologies that undergird electricity delivery around the world have grown steadily more intelligent over decades, and now, with the smart grid, we’re challenging traditional norms that utilities and their suppliers have known,” she said.

The report defines three overall conclusions:

  • Private- and public-sector funding for microgrid, distributed generation and grid-level storage research and development and projects and pilots would contribute to more cost-effective solutions, inform better business cases and help reveal best practices around installation, application and optimization for the technologies.
  • Europe is the global leader in adopting and using distributed generation and microgrids, but North America is prominent in storage technology. The report says these regions stand to “take the lead when it comes to developing and deploying next-generation distributed energy systems.”
  • Energy management systems, distributed management systems and communications technologies are the critical enabling technologies for energy storage, distributed generation and microgrids, as well as advanced grid services such as net metering, load aggregation and real-time energy monitoring that in many cases will be delivered in the cloud.

Carvallo said that interrelated themes came from the research behind the report, including the necessity of customer demand to drive the market for the three technologies and the need for customer feedback for research and development strategies.

“In this way, the report illuminates how storage, distributed generation and microgrid technologies can support important new revenue streams for manufacturers, utilities, end users and third-party providers alike, spurring new global markets for software and systems that integrate these technologies into modern and future energy systems,” Carvallo said.

Survey respondents prioritized the benefits of each technology area.

Energy storage’s “first-best benefit” was identified as the ability to provide supplemental power to meet peak demands.

Distributed generation’s top benefit was identified as targeted addition of supply.

And ability to meet local demand was listed as the top benefit of microgrids.

The Zpryme report shows the importance of all three technology areas is rising along with global interest in more efficiently managing energy consumption, growing electricity demand and increasing awareness of the cost of service interruptions.


GBI Research: Emerging countries power up as world invests in electrification

GBI Research

The power transmission market will see growth, thanks to the ambitions of the emerging Asia-Pacific region and the maintenance and upgrade of existing infrastructure in the developed world, states a new GBI Research report.

The report, “Power Transmission and Distribution Market to 2020-Expansion of T&D Base to Meet Renewable Energy Targets and Replacement of Aging Infrastructure Will Present Growth Opportunities,” states that the market for transmission and distribution (T&D) equipment has matured with few technological or product innovations now taking place, but renewed demand from emerging economies has helped the market continue to achieve substantial revenue growth. Global demand for electricity is expected to increase exponentially, predicted to double between 2000 and 2030, and soaring demand levels in India and China are expected to spur government efforts to increase national installed capacity.

The Asia-Pacific region is expected to invest in T&D developments to connect a greater part of the population to a reliable power supply as growth in industry, economy and population demand greater electrification. Some developing nations hold mandates, especially for rural areas, and this is predicted to drive T&D investments across India, China and the Philippines.

In contrast, developed nations such as the U.S. and Germany have introduced legislation to support continuous investment in power infrastructure and are investing in technologies that will upgrade their existing power infrastructure and improve power distribution services for consumers.

Energy efficiency is vital for ambitious countries that are attempting to reach their power capacities. The demand for energy-efficient transformers is expected to increase as aging T&D equipment provides opportunities for the replacement market and infrastructure upgrades are necessary to cope with increased electricity generation and consumption.

The global T&D market is intensely competitive and involves many highly experienced regional and multinational corporations and a high compound annual growth rate of 11.3 percent, with the market’s growing from a value of $127 billion in 2012 to $301 billion in 2020.

Power Grid of India wants every substation automated by 2013


All substations of state-owned transmission company Power Grid of India will be unmanned and remotely managed by 2013, said Chairman R.N. Nayak.

In place of personnel, Nayak said, “There will be cameras watching the functioning of devices and equipment, and the stations will be totally managed remotely by the National Transmission Asset Management Center at Manesar.”

Addressing an international conference on high-voltage surge arresters technology, Nayak said having eight people per substation is a waste of human resources.

Surge arresters are critical in transmission in limiting switching and lightning surges on main equipment such as transformers, reactors and circuit breakers.

Nayak also called for domestic manufacturing of line arresters and metal oxide varistor circuit protection devices.

“Line arresters are the future,” he said. “We are ready to give our full support to the industry, but they should focus on manufacturing line arresters as these are urgently needed in the transmission lines in north Bengal, evacuating power from the Northeastern States.”

According to Power Grid of India, surge arresters required for the 1,200-kV National Test Station at Bina, Madhya Pradesh, have been developed indigenously and are in operation since February.

Power Grid of India has a presence in India of about 95,329 circuit-kilometers of transmission network.

Utility infrastructure investments to power Brazil transformer market


The declaration of Brazil as the venue for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics has given a boost to the country’s high-voltage power transformers market.

Despite the global downturn and low gross domestic product (GDP) growth, a positive investment wave has sustained this high-potential market, presenting it with short-term growth opportunities.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, “Analysis of the Brazilian High-voltage Power Transformers Market,” finds that the market earned revenues of more than $1.06 billion in 2011 and estimates this to reach $1.17 billion in 2016.

Sustainable demand for organic energy and the consequent expansion of generation capacity for wind and hydropower have made the high-voltage power transformers market more investment-friendly.

“Major transmission and distribution grid reinforcements will further improve the market’s prospects over the next five years, although at a slow pace,” said Juliana Passadore, Frost & Sullivan business unit leader. “The requirement from industrial and power distribution segments will rise marginally in line with the country’s GDP.”

Although the demand for high-voltage power equipment is expected to increase, international firms will find it difficult to penetrate the market. The need for high economies of scale, different technical specifications for products, fluctuating currencies and varied equipment stipulations in the auctioning process likely will hamper their prospects.

As they operate in an intensely competitive and concentrated market, manufacturers must create a specific demand plan, increase production efficiency and broaden their product portfolio. Consolidating partnerships with engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) enterprises while sustaining local production also will help in winning strategic accounts.

In addition, companies must focus on post-sales services to clients. Offering economical solutions that comply with the highest technical standards is a surefire way to gain competitive advantage.

“To rapidly secure market share, suppliers must aggressively promote the efficiency and lower costs associated with the production and logistics of high-voltage power transformers,” Passadore said. “Finding the right combination of technical standards, procurement planning and pricing will provide value to clients and lead to strong revenue growth.”

MidAmerican Transmission opens joint venture in Canada

MidAmerican Transmission

A Canadian unit of MidAmerican Transmission entered into a joint venture with Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. in Ontario to sponsor a competitive proposal for the province’s East-West Tie Line project.

MidAmerican Transmission plans to compete actively in the competitive process for established projects and those in development.

Future projects will build upon MidAmerican Transmission’s experience in the existing joint ventures of Prairie Wind Transmission and Electric Transmission Texas.

MidAmerican Transmission, a unit of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. based in Des Moines, Iowa, is engaged in the development of electric transmission facilities. MidAmerican Transmission has invested in transmission in several regions in the U.S. and is evaluating opportunities to develop further electric transmission facilities in organized and traditional markets in the U.S. and Canada.

MidAmerican Transmission and the Canadian unit are wholly owned by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. Through its units, MidAmerican provides electric and natural gas service to more than 6.9 million customers worldwide, operates an 18,000-mile electric transmission system, a natural gas local distribution system, and extensive pipeline systems that total nearly 17,000 miles.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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