Chilean Energy Oversight Agency Chooses Telvent

Chile’s Superintendence of Electricity and Fuels (SEC) will use Telvent’s ArcFM geographic information system (GIS), Telvent’s smart grid GIS solution, to help streamline its oversight duties of the country’s electric distribution networks.

By replacing paper maps and manual information management processes with the ArcFM geodatabase, SEC will save significant time and resources in its analysis and inspection duties. The accurate and up-to-date representation of electric networks will allow agency inspectors to focus efforts and resources on areas that might be critical to energy quality, safety, and security–and ultimately help support and protect the country’s electricity consumers. Further, the Telvent GIS solution will allow further functionality, such as analysis of electrical connectivity over distribution networks that would be impractical to perform manually.

With the electricity demand in Chile expected to increase by 5 percent per year during the next 20 years, this upgrade in network information management capabilities is welcomed by SEC.

“Thanks to Telvent technology, we are taking a big step in the evolution of oversight,” said Francisco Balcazar, head of SEC’s Electrical Systems Department. “Along with analyzing the global data for this country’s electric suppliers, we will easily identify the specific customers affected by the quality of service supplied by energy distribution companies.”

Chile’s SEC, under the Ministry of Economy, supervises compliance by privatized companies with regulations and technical standards controlling the generation, production, storage transportation and distribution of the country’s energy supplies. Specifically, the Electric Engineering Division at SEC controls and inspects the infrastructure owned and operated by the 34 electric distribution companies providing 100 percent of Chile’s electricity–and serving approximately 4.5 million customers nationwide.

GE Helps Bring Smart Grid to Korea

GE will work with Korea’s NURI Telecom Ltd. to build an advanced smart grid infrastructure in Korea.

“GE recognizes the importance of collaborating with technology and delivery partners to realize the promise of a smarter grid,” said Bob Gilligan, vice president of GE Energy’s transmission and distribution business. “NURI’s products and global expertise, especially in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), fit well with GE’s end-to-end smart grid capabilities.”

GE and NURI Telecom’s complementary technologies can help deliver reliability and performance gains throughout Korea’s energy infrastructure, said Song-Man Cho, president and CEO of NURI Telecom.

“As Korea continues to raise its global economic profile, the need for a complete set of smart grid solutions becomes more critical,” Cho said. “We are excited about working with GE so that Korea is currently embarking on several smart grid initiatives, including the development of a smart grid road map and a smart grid pilot project on Jeju Island.”


IEA Gives Report Card on Energy Efficiency in Europe:

The International Energy Agency (IEA) launched a new publication this fall: “Implementing Energy Efficiency Policies: Are IEA Member Countries on Track?” The report analyzes to what degree IEA member countries have implemented the agency’s 25 energy efficiency recommendations, which it believes could reduce worldwide carbon emissions by 8.2 gigatonnes per year by 2030.

Information in this report is current up to March 31, 2009. Conclusions are based on country completion of a detailed questionnaire measuring energy efficiency policy implementation and subsequent IEA review and analysis.

The IEA found many positive examples of energy efficiency policy implementation in IEA member countries. Governments are investing in well-known energy efficiency policies from national strategies to minimum energy performance standards for appliances and equipment. There also are signs of energy efficiency policy innovations. These include the widespread development of energy efficiency strategies and action plans, innovative financial instruments, active policies promoting energy efficiency in buildings, the extensive adoption of standby power policies and policies to phase out inefficient lighting and innovative policies to create incentives for utilities to promote energy efficiency.

But the current suite of energy efficiency policies are not enough and member countries are not on track to meet pressing economic, environmental and energy security challenges, according to the IEA.

Why is it that IEA member countries have not implemented the full suite of cost-effective energy efficiency policies or equivalent measures their leaders endorsed? Energy efficiency continues to face pervasive barriers including lack of access to capital for energy efficiency investments, insufficient information, principal-agent problems and externality costs that are not reflected in energy prices. Political commitment to maximizing implementation of energy efficiency policies also might have been challenged by the current economic crisis. Energy efficiency programs must compete for funding with other priorities such as employment, health and social security.

To address the action gap, IEA member countries must urgently extend their efforts in energy efficiency policy.

International Joint Venture Established:

Condux International Inc. of Mankato, Minn., has entered into a joint venture (JV) with Tesmec Spa, Italy. The ownership of the JV will be equally shared. The new JV company, Condux Tesmec, began June 1 in Mankato.

The company will take advantage of Condux’s North American market strength and knowledge and its ability to assemble and manufacturer certain products. In conjunction with Condux, Tesmec’s advanced proprietary equipment technology and manufacturing know-how and processes to design and produce will enable the JV to provide superior products and service to the high-voltage transmission and distribution market.

Equipment and accessories will be stocked and shipped from Mankato.

The JV will provide stringing equipment and accessories to the North American transmission and distribution market. The stringing equipment represents the latest and safest stringing equipment technology, providing utilities and contractors the ability to improve productivity and efficiency while limiting downtime and improving job site safety.

Assembly Approves ENTSO-E Consultation Process:

E.ON Mitte AG Standardizes on Intergraph:

E.ON Mitte AG, Kassel, a Germany-based electric utility, is the latest E.ON unit to standardize on Intergraph technology for more efficient infrastructure management.

E.ON is the world’s largest investor-owned energy service provider.

Intergraph geospatial software improves data quality and accuracy to enable utilities to more efficiently manage and track thousands of powerlines, poles, pipes and other assets while reducing costs. Utilities around the world rely on Intergraph for comprehensive utilities outage, asset and field force management to ensure efficient operation, unified monitoring and control and fast service restoration of distribution networks. E.ON Mitte is the fourth E.ON company in Germany following E.ON Ruhrgas, E.ON Bayern and E.ON Thüringer Energie to standardize on Intergraph technology for infrastructure management.

“E.ON Mitte has been keeping electronic network data in a geographic information system (GIS) for 30 years, making us a pioneer of online graphical network documentation in Germany,” said Wolf Hatje, technical and operations director at E.ON Mitte AG. “Due to its scalability, open architecture and mobile capabilities, Intergraph technology will allow us to take our use of GIS data to a new level and continue to innovate for future success, while at the same time saving on maintenance and operational costs.”

Assembly Approves ENTSO-E Consultation Process:

This fall, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity’s (ENTSO-E’s) fourth assembly meeting concluded with an official approval of the ENTSO-E consultation process. The document describes the principles for ENTSO-E consultation practices, which are intended to guide the consultation process with external stakeholders.

Under the third energy package, ENTSO-E is required to deliver certain outputs, including an annual work program, draft network codes and a 10-year network development plan, as well as contribute to creating reliable and efficient pan-European and regional markets.

In this context, the ENTSO-E Consultation Process document is destined to clearly determine the principles for consultation practices related to ENTSO-E outputs.

ABB Wins Mexican Contract

ABB has won an order from Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) to provide a static VAR compensator (SVC) solution to help strengthen the transmission grid in southern Mexico. The unit will be installed at the La Ventosa substation, close to the city of Ixtepec in the state of Oaxaca.

The technology will enable better voltage control and improve grid reliability in the area’s 400-kV transmission network. It also will help stabilize oscillations in active power caused mainly by an adjacent wind park with a capacity of 1,900 MW. It is the third such contract received by ABB from CFE this year, following SVC orders for substations at El Palmar and Escárcega.

CFE is Mexico’s largest power utility with a generation capacity of around 50,000 MW and a network comprising 49,000 kilometers of transmission and distribution lines. It supplies electricity to more than 80 million people.

ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies and operates in about 100 countries.

EPRI Unveils Initiative to Improve Transmission System Efficiency

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) disclosed plans for an industrywide transmission efficiency demonstration collaborative that will identify technologies leading to greater efficiency in the bulk power system, an increase in system utilization and a reduction in line and equipment losses.

The initiative’s goal is to improve efficiency and stem losses of electricity that would otherwise flow to end users. T&D losses account for about 300 billion kWh in the United States, and reducing such losses will allow utilities to generate less power and thereby lower the industry’s carbon footprint.

The collaborative is outgrowth of efforts by EPRI, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), independent system operators and leading utilities to identify and implement best practices in the United States and abroad to make transmission systems more efficient.

“Improving the technology and efficiency of the transmission system is a key component in developing a smarter national grid,” said Arshad Mansoor, vice president of EPRI’s Power Delivery and Utilization sector. “This collaborative will go hand-in-hand with on-going efforts to extract new efficiencies–from generation to end use–throughout the entire industry.”

The initiative comes on the heels of six meetings by key stakeholders in the United States and one in Poland that identified the best practices and technology improvements necessary to bolster bulk power efficiency. In August, an executive committee of those stakeholders approved the recommendations during a Washington meeting hosted by FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff.

“This is a timely initiative in that it comes as the government and industry work together to improve the efficiency of the transmission system,” Wellinghoff said. “Clearly, implementing new technologies on the bulk power system would benefit both the industry and consumers, while at the same time, reducing the sector’s carbon footprint.”

Obama Administration Gives $38 Million for Energy Efficiency, Conservation Projects

In November, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that more than $38 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is being awarded to support energy efficiency and conservation activities. Under DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, Alaska, Kansas, Utah and West Virginia will implement programs that lower energy use, reduce carbon pollution and create green jobs locally.

“This funding will allow states across the country to make major investments in energy solutions that will strengthen America’s economy and create jobs at the local level,” Chu said. “It will also promote some of the cheapest, cleanest and most reliable energy technologies we have–energy efficiency and conservation–which can be deployed immediately. Local communities can now make strategic investments to help meet the nation’s long-term clean energy and climate goals.”

Projects eligible for support include the development of an energy efficiency and conservation strategy, energy efficiency audits and retrofits, transportation programs, the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections and installation of renewable energy technologies on municipal buildings.

President Obama Announces $3.4 Billion Investment for Smart Grid

Speaking at Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in late October, President Barack Obama announced the largest, single energy grid modernization investment in U.S. history, funding technologies that will spur the nation’s transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system.

The $3.4 billion in grant awards are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

One hundred private companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and other partners received the smart grid investment grant awards, including FPL, which will use its $200 million in funding to install more than 2.5 million smart meters and other technologies that will cut energy costs for its customers.

Award announcements include:


  • Empowering Consumers to Save Energy and Cut Utility Bills: $1 billion. These investments will create the infrastructure and expand access to smart meters and customer systems so consumers will be able to access dynamic pricing information and save money by programming smart appliances and equipment to run when rates are the lowest.


  • Making Electricity T&D More Efficient: $400 million. The administration is funding several grid modernization projects across the country that will reduce significantly the amount of power wasted from the time it is produced at a power plant to the time it gets to consumers. By deploying digital monitoring devices and increasing grid automation, these awards will increase the efficiency, reliability and security of the system and will help link renewable energy resources with the electric grid.


  • Integrating and Crosscutting Across Smart Components of a Smart Grid: $2 billion. The smart grid is not the sum total of its components but how those components work together. The administration is funding projects that will incorporate these components into one system or cut across various project areas including smart meters, smart thermostats and appliances, syncrophasors, automated substations, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and renewable energy sources.


  • Building a Smart Grid Manufacturing Industry: $25 million. These investments will help expand our manufacturing base of companies that can produce smart meters, smart appliances, synchrophasors, smart transformers and other components for smart grid systems in the United States and around the world.


    EPRI and U-SNAP Alliance Work for Standardized Smart Appliance Interface

    The U-SNAP Alliance and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) agreed to share EPRI research and U-SNAP specifications in an effort to identify a standard communication interface for smart appliances.

    Both organizations have said that it is in the public’s best interest to have a standard physical interface that allows smart appliances and consumer products to accept a variety of user-installable communication devices.

    Such an interface should provide manufacturers a way to avoid obsolescence from new communication technologies and utilities with multiple options for communicating with customer devices.

    EPRI is conducting a study to identify the uses and requirements for an appliance interface. The U-SNAP Alliance has defined a low-cost physical interface used in consumer products such as thermostats that is suitable for use in smart appliances, as well.

    “Achieving the full potential of a smart grid requires the ability to communicate with many household appliances,” said Brian Seal, senior project manager in EPRI’s Power Delivery and Utilization sector. “This will enable consumers to manage their utility bills by operating their appliances when the price of energy is low. The U-SNAP specification will be an interesting consideration of our study and any outcome will need vibrant user organizations like U-SNAP to carry the work forward.”

    The agreement will enable EPRI to evaluate the U-SNAP specification during the course of the study and will allow the U-SNAP Alliance access to the project discussion and findings.

    “As an active proponent of standards, EPRI facilitated development of the initial National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Smart Grid Roadmap report,” said Jon Rappaport, chairman of the U-SNAP Alliance. “Collaborating with EPRI will give us another means through which to identify industry needs as we continue to refine the U-SNAP interface for demand response and energy management applications.”

    U-SNAP is an acronym for Utility Smart Network Access Port, a solution that enables any home area network (HAN) standard, present and future, to use any vendor’s smart meter as a gateway into the home, without adding additional hardware in the meter. The U-SNAP Alliance is an open industry association developing an industry specification for connecting energy-aware consumer products with smart meters. Alliance membership consists of utilities, manufacturers, consultants and other parties interested in developing or deploying the standard. The U-SNAP Alliance fosters collaboration and education among utilities, smart meter suppliers, HAN venders, industry consultants, academics and regulators who seek interoperable, secure and cost-effective solutions for extending the smart grid to energy-aware consumer products.


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