Newton-Evans Study: 43 Percent of Utilities Plan to Increase 2013 Capex on EMS/SCADA/OMS

The Newton-Evans Research Co. released preliminary findings from “Global CAPEX and O&M Expenditure Outlook for Electric Power T&D Investments: 2013-2014 Funding Outlook for Smart Grid Development,” its fifth study in the multiyear tracking research program that looks into electric power utility capital expenditure (Capex) budgets related to smart grid investments and infrastructure spending plans.

Early findings from utilities in 24 countries that participated in the study of electric power transmission and distribution investment indicate that 43 percent of utilities plan to increase Capex for 2013 on enegy management systems (EMS), SCADA and outage management systems (OMS). Half plan on increasing Capex in 2013 for protection and control, and 55 percent plan on increasing transmission infrastructure Capex. Automatic meter reading (AMR) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) seem to be leveling out; 63 percent of respondents so far said there will be no change from 2012 spending on this.

Operations and maintenance (O&M) budgets for 2013 reflect a somewhat different story. Most categories of O&M spending were less likely to see an increase from the budgets of 2012.

Comparison of 2013 Planned Capex Investment for Smart Grid Programs

More than half (58 percent) of the utilities that responded so far indicated that regulatory mandates are the reason for Capex increases in 2013. Only 13 percent cited government stimulus as a reason for increases in 2013 Capex.

Seventy-one percent of responding utilities said they plan to start a new smart grid project in the upcoming two years, and 59 percent of those projects will include some form of distribution automation.

The new 2013 edition will include information about relative market trends and market size estimates for major smart grid building blocks.

Navigant: 2013 Pivotal in Transition to More Diversified Energy Mix


The smart energy sector is evolving rapidly, expanding from a collection of niche markets into a standardized part of the global energy portfolio.

Small, distributed generation technologies such as solar panels, small wind turbines and residential combined heat and power systems enable people to produce and sell their power. As a result, new energy sources and advanced energy technologies have entered the market and are posting revenue. According to a new white paper from Navigant Research, part of Navigant’s energy practice, the transition to a more diversified and decentralized energy mix will be a key trend for the global energy industry in 2013.

The white paper identifies five emerging metatrends that will have an increasing impact in 2013 and beyond. These include:

  • Increasingly democratized energy.
  • Changing role of government innovation funds.
  • Converging technologies.
  • Transitioning of the Southern African Power Pool to the new Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC).
  • Changing role of utilities.

The white paper, “Smart Energy: Five Metatrends to Watch in 2013 and Beyond,” outlines key trends that affect the development of smart energy industries worldwide, the specific market impacts of these trends in 2013, and the longer-term impact of these emerging developments. The full white paper is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

EYE ON the world

Ofgem chief executive opens new Smarter Grid Solutions HQ in Glasgow


The chief executive of Ofgem, the regulatory body for the electricity and gas industry in Great Britain, recently opened a new head office in Corunna House, Cadogan Street in central Glasgow for smart grid technology company Smarter Grid Solutions.

The company has grown rapidly to become one of the U.K.’s leading dedicated smart grid technology companies since it was established in 2008. Today, it employs more than 35 people, has an office in London and will open another in New York in July.

“We’re honored that Alistair Buchanan has agreed to open our new head office,” said Chairman Robert Armour. “The company’s growth has been driven by Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund, which has given us the opportunity to work with four of the U.K.’s electricity distribution companies to find novel and affordable solutions to help them bring about a low-carbon electricity future for consumers.”

Smarter Grid Solutions creates and delivers real-time grid management software to help electricity distribution companies manage local, regional and national electricity grid congestion issues and cope with increasing volumes of low-carbon generation and demand. The technology frees up capacity in the existing electricity grid so electricity companies can avoid or defer building new grid infrastructure. The result is a faster and cheaper solution to connecting distributed generation, such as wind turbines or small hydro, so electricity companies can concentrate on building a low-carbon electricity system for their customers.

Network Mapping Pty to provide as-built engineering models to Powerlink, Brisbane

Sydney-based survey and engineering company Network Mapping will aerially survey more than 1,000 km of high-voltage transmission lines throughout Queensland, Australia, during the next six months.

The aerial surveys will be conducted from helicopters and will use LIDAR, which is designed to produce detailed 3-D PLS-CADD models.

The surveys are being undertaken for high-voltage electricity company Powerlink Queensland.

“The information provided through the 3-D models will be used to update Powerlink’s records and assist in planning to deliver a safe, efficient and reliable high-voltage transmission supply,” said Roland Vitelli, Powerlink’s executive manager for infrastructure delivery and technical services.

Network Mapping CEO Kevin Jacobs said the company looks forward to working with Powerlink.

The Demand to Grid Lab: Testing and Demonstrating Smart Grid and Customer Technologies in Berkeley Lab

At the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Guest House, guests who have business with Berkeley Lab can get a comfortable night’s sleep while experiencing a living example of some of the laboratory’s scientific research. The guest house is one of the demonstration sites and the testing site for the Demand to Grid (D2G) Lab in the Demand Response Research Center (DRRC).

Demand to Grid Lab

During the past year, the D2G Lab has tested and improved strategies and standards for demand-side interoperability, wired and wireless communications, communication architectures, devices, and monitoring and controls technologies. These strategies and standards are part of research that will improve the efficiency of the nation’s electric grid and how it responds to fluctuations in electricity demand or supply.

Responding to Demand

Demand response can be manual, semiautomated or fully automated, depending on the market and customer choice. As the grid has become more complex and diverse, studies and testing on automated demand response programs have increased. Fully automated demand response does not involve human intervention but is initiated at a home, building or facility when an external communications signal triggers pre-programmed load-shedding strategies.

In 2004, the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program initially funded the DRRC, managed by Berkeley Lab. The DRRC’s research, development and demonstration has led to a communications technology called Open Automated Demand Response Communication Standards (OpenADR), which standardizes how demand response technologies work and interoperate within a smart grid.

“OpenADR helps manufacturers of building automation equipment design products for smart grid implementation and power aggregators incorporate demand response into their work,” said Mary Ann Piette, research director for DRRC. “OpenADR builds on more than 10 years of research.”

The initial goal of the OpenADR research was to explore the possibility of developing a low-cost communications infrastructure to improve the reliability, repeatability, robustness and cost-effectiveness of automated demand response. After the formal release of OpenADR 1.0 specifications in 2009 and implementation, the OpenADR standards are taking hold in the U.S. and around the world:

  • Hundreds of sites use OpenADR with more than 250 MW of electricity load automated in California.
  • OpenADR is in full-scale commercial deployment and advanced OpenADR pilots are underway.
  • More than 10 countries are reviewing and conducting pilot tests to use OpenADR for automated demand response.
  • The OpenADR Alliance, established in 2010 to foster the adoption of the OpenADR standard, is growing with more than 100 members.

Residential Research

Early in 2011, Berkeley Lab’s Grid Integration Group took the work further-from commercial-industrial applications to residential demonstration through the D2G Lab at the Guest House, said Rish Ghatikar, deputy leader for the Grid Integration Group.

“Our team has been doing other research on commercial and industrial facility grid integration and demand response and its market transformation,” Ghatikar said. “We decided to use the guest house as a residential appliance research lab since the infrastructure we needed for the set up was there.”

d2g lab

Demonstrations include communication between many end-use devices such as smart appliances, revenue-grade smart meters and a home-area network (HAN) gateway to receive demand response reliability pricing signals using OpenADR. Within the demonstration test bed, wireless and wired Internet and in-home protocols and standards such as ZigBee Smart Energy Profile 1.0 and other proprietary protocols are used to interoperate with OpenADR and respond with a change in energy use.

The guest house features appliances-heat pump water heater, refrigerator, washer and dryer, loaned by General Electric-an electric vehicle charger, programmable communicating thermostats, smart plugs and dimmable LED lighting fixtures. All are controlled by the HAN using demand response signals and with Web-based energy visualization tools to provide information on energy choices’ made during demand response events.

The guest house’s heat pump water heater is part of the demonstration. It has two modes of heating: resistive heating where a heating coil heats the water for everyday operation, and a heat exchanger that is used during demand response events. The heater uses 4,500 W of electricity during standard electric mode and powers down to 550 W using the heat exchanger during demand response events.

Like the water heater, General Electric’s other appliances-a washer and dryer and a staff refrigerator-are smart appliances that communicate and switch to low-power operations in response to demand response signals.

The guest house also features an electric vehicle charger by Coulomb Technologies, which switches to lower charge levels during demand response events. Before and during a demand response event, a message is displayed on the charger’s screen that lets consumers know what is happening and if they have to take any action. All appliances are pre-programmed to operate in a low-power-using mode when they receive test signals that emulate a demand response event.

Communication and Monitoring

Smart appliances are one piece of the puzzle, but the way information moves between consumers and the grid-and the way it can be viewed and monitored-is the foundation for demand response success. The D2G Lab is demonstrating and testing communication architectures including the Energy Service Interface, a generic interface between the service provider and the customer that can be a smart meter, a gateway or devices in residential settings, building management systems for commercial buildings, and energy management and control systems for industrial facilities.

OpenADR signals are used at the D2G Lab and can be sent over networks and transports (including the Internet) from the utility and other entities. Once the demand response event signal is sent, the appliances and equipment respond by changing the power use for a short time. Customers can override the changes if desired.

These signals are monitored and energy usage information for each end-use device is collected. The performance information is stored locally or in the cloud and is available from any Web browser via computer or smart phone.

Integration With Flexlab

First-year D2G Lab operations have demonstrated the goal research areas, identified new research and development areas and validated findings and conclusions that benefit the wider demand response community. In addition to continuing existing demonstrations, the second-year goals include conducting new demonstrations that provide a suitable grid integration research and demonstration framework for Berkeley Lab’s new Flexlab-a research facility opening later in 2013 to study energy efficiency technologies in buildings.

Projects of the Year Awards Nominations Open

POWERGRID International magazine is accepting nominations for the 2014 Projects of the Year awards! Nominations may be submitted for notable projects in four categories: smart grid, renewable grid integration, demand response/energy efficiency and customer engagement. Two finalists will be selected in each category and the winner will be announced, at the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference Awards Dinner on Jan. 27, 2014, in San Antonio. Award winners also will be recognized during DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition’s opening keynote on Tuesday, Jan. 28. Additional information and nomination forms are available at

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