DistribuTECH/TransTECH 2008: Building the Smart Grid

As marketing buzz terms go, “smart grid” and “intelligent grid” are pretty good ones. After all, who would want our power grid to operate at anything less than a genius level? When DistribuTECH and its new companion show, TransTECH, come to Tampa, Fla., Jan. 22-24, class will officially be in session. Call it Smart Grid 101. The goal of all attendees should be to gather enough knowledge in Tampa so they can go back to their home offices and “tutor” their T&D systems up a letter grade or two.

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The learning session starts even before the main conference kicks off. Pre-conference Utility University full- and half-day courses take place on Monday, Jan. 21. Refer back to the November issue of Utility Automation & Engineering T&D, or to the show website at www.distributech.com, for details on UU courses.

Bright and early Tuesday morning, Jan. 22, class shifts into high gear with an 8:30 a.m. Keynote Session focused on “Building the Smart Grid of Tomorrow Today.” The opening session for DistribuTECH and TransTECH 2008 will feature three speakers with a firm grasp on what it will take to get today’s grid closer to the genius level: Don Cortez, division vice president, regulated operations technology, at CenterPoint Energy will kick things off. CenterPoint is in the midst of an “intelligent grid” project that’s been getting a lot of press attention, both in the trade and general media. Cortez will fill us in on CenterPoint’s efforts and provide motivation for other utilities to champion their own smart grid efforts. (Editor’s note: Don Cortez replaces the originally scheduled speaker from CenterPoint, Georgianna Nichols.) Jeff Sterba, chairman, president and CEO of PNM Resources, will also speak in the keynote session. Sterba is a proponent of smart electrical devices, open architecture communication systems to interconnect those devices, and innovative regulation and rates to foster the grid’s development. Headlining the keynote will be former U.S. secretary of energy Spencer Abraham.

Smart Sessions

In a manner of speaking, most all the conference sessions at DistribuTECH deal with the “smart grid,” and they always have. Technologies like advanced metering, demand response, distribution automation and outage management have always been at the core of DistribuTECH’s conference content. That remains true for this 18th meeting of the annual conference and exhibition.

But a few of the conference sessions this year focus very specifically on the more modern concept of a “smart,” self-healing grid. The sessions include representatives from the utilities that are leading the way in smart grid implementation. If you’re looking for the true scoop on smart grid technology, listed here are a few can’t-miss conference sessions you’ll want to check out.

Pulling Together Multiple Technologies to Become the “Utility of the Future”

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 1:00 p.m.

Kansas City Power & Light received the 2007 Edison Electric Institute Award for a “Comprehensive Energy Plan” that includes six distribution automation initiatives: 1) Underground Network Automation; 2) Integrated Circuit of the Future; 3) Substation Reclosing Relay Automation; 4) Dynamic Voltage Control; 5) 34-kV automated reclosers; and 6) Rural Power Quality. The panelists from KCP&L in this session in the “Distribution Automation” track will give a first-hand account of how all these projects work together to enable KCP&L’s “Utility of the Future.” The panel will be made up of engineers in distribution automation, power quality and reliability, and substation automation.

Evolving to the Intelligent Grid

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 3:00 p.m.

In this session from the “Advanced Metering and AMR” track, industry experts and the utilities themselves will describe the key benefits of the smart grid build-out. Representatives from CenterPoint Energy and Exelon will discuss how they’re leveraging such technologies as AMI, broadband over powerline and distribution automation to add intelligence to their respective grid operations.

Intelligent People Building the Smart Grid in Power Distribution

Wednesday, January 23, 9:30 a.m.

Demand response, smart grid, AMI, distributed energy resources and microgrids are not just buzz words. Major advancements are now happening in the utility industry. This session in the “Distribution Automation” track begins by discussing new development work that utilizes feeder modeling, integration of distribution automation and AMI to bring about more comprehensive solutions in demand response. The second topic presented is a follow-up to the huge smart grid deployment in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex by CURRENT Technologies and Oncor Electric Delivery (formerly TXU Electric Delivery), which encompasses applications like smart metering, URD fault location, outage and restoration detection, capacitor control and distribution automation. The third topic presented discusses efforts at San Diego Gas & Electric to develop the self-healing grid that includes microgrid designs with distributed energy resources. Come early to get a seat as we expect another standing room only session.

Smart Grids: Fact or Fiction?

Wednesday, January 23, 2:30 p.m.

Who would want a “dumb” grid? No one. Everyone strives to have a smart grid, but what does that really mean? This panel session in the “Integration, Performance and Asset Management” track will present several utility experiences in planning and implementing smart grid technologies, and, in the process, dispel the myth that the smart grid is all hype. The panelists from BC Hydro, Sempra, CenterPoint Energy and Duke Energy will describe how they are planning for and implementing smart grid applications. It is an achievable vision, not a pipe dream.

Those are just a few of the smart grid-focused sessions running Jan. 22-24 at DistribuTECH 2008. For a full listing of conference sessions, see the conference grid on pages 44-45 of this issue, or check out www.distributech.com for even more details on all the 2008 sessions.

Smart Grid—and Smart Prizes, Too

Everyone who attends DistribuTECH/TransTECH 2008 should go home with a lot more knowledge about the smart grid than they had prior to attendance. But two lucky attendees will go home with even more than that.

Wednesday evening (Jan. 23) attendees at DistribuTECH’s Gasparilla Pirate Parrrty networking reception will want to be sure to pick up a “booty” bag of coins as they enter the party and get a pirate’s chest key to participate in the treasure hunt. One lucky attendee will have the key that opens a treasure chest that contains a Caribbean cruise. Be sure to register for the Gasparilla Pirate Parrrty when you register for the conference.

If you’re not lucky enough to win the Caribbean cruise at DistribuTECH’s networking party, you may still go home a winner. Conference organizers are giving away a new Ford Mustang, and you’ll never have better odds of winning a prize of this value. All an attendee has to do to enter the prize drawing is visit the booths of sponsoring companies in the DistribuTECH exhibit hall and get a stamp on the official entry form. Once the entry form is filled with stamps, return it to the PennWell booth to have it entered in the drawing. The Mustang drawing will take place on DistribuTECH’s final day, Jan. 24, and entrants must be present to win.

To learn more about DistribuTECH and TransTECH 2008, or to register for the event, please visit www.distributech.com.

Win a Ford Mustang at DistribuTECH

The new generation Mustang is a blend of the best of both worlds, the ever-popular “˜60s model Mustang with the contemporary performance coupe that is necessary today. The new model is faster, more agile, roomier, quieter and more sporty than any generation of Mustang before. Don’t miss your chance to stand in the winner’s circle at DistribuTECH with your very own Mustang!

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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 Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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