Commentary

When we compiled our 2011 editorial calendar almost a year ago, I thought “preparing the grid for small scale renewables, electric vehicles (EVs) and distributed generation” would be a good topic. At the time, however, I didn’t realize how much attention would be focused on EVs. Maybe it’s a result of President Barack Obama’s goal of putting 1 million EVs on U.S. roads by 2015, the price of gasoline, the notion of energy independence or, most likely, a combination of these things. Whatever the reason, EVs are getting a lot of attention, and the number being plugged into garage outlets throughout the country is increasing. The three articles featured in the Renewables section discuss EVs and how they will impact electric utilities and grid operations.

No one understands this better than Terry Boston, PJM Interconnection’s CEO and president, who is pictured on the cover with his Chevrolet Volt. I think it’s important to point out that the car belongs to Boston. He bought one of the first Volts available late last year. On Page 32, you’ll see another familiar industry executive. Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn is sitting in a Volt in front of the U.S. Capitol. The photos are indicative of support for EV adoption among the highest ranks of the electric utility industry.

Boston spoke in January on a panel during the 2011 Electric Light & Power Executive Conference in San Diego. As the leader of North America’s largest grid operator, Boston spoke about integrating EVs and distributed generation into the grid. He said as EVs become more abundant, grid operation and regulations must evolve. He said accommodating large numbers of EVs and various forms of distributed generation will be challenging for grid operators, but with new technologies and the right regulation, it will be possible. Ravi Mandalika, author of “Renewables on Smart Grid” on Page 30, Leo McCloskey, author of “What Makes a Grid Smart?”on Page 32, and Shahid Malik, author of “EVs Are Coming–Are Utilities EV-Ready?” on Page 36, also write that grid operators can integrate EVs, small-scale renewables and distributed generation. I urge you to read their articles.

In addition, you’ll probably notice the change to the magazine’s back page. This new feature, “ELP’s Cover-to-Cover Crossword,” will allow you to test your industry knowledge. I must admit, I struggled on a few of the clues. You can check your answers on the magazine’s website, http://elp.com. Look under Current Issue. I hope you enjoy this new feature. Let me know.

Teresa Hansen, editor in chief  

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