GE, Xtreme Power Team to Deliver Energy Storage for Grid

GE Energy Storage, a unit of GE Transportation, and Xtreme Power, a privately held Austin, Texas, company, have formalized a strategic alliance to provide energy storage solutions.

The alliance combines GE’s Durathon battery technology for grid energy storage systems and Xtreme Power’s experience as an integrated energy storage turn-key solutions provider. The new GE Durathon battery products can last up to 10 times longer than conventional lead acid batteries and can store more energy in half the space.

GE’s Durathon battery technology, when paired with Xtreme Power’s Xtreme Active Control Technology (XACT), should enable safer and highly efficient storage of massive quantities of electricity at low cost for grid applications. XACT is an innovative proprietary control system architecture that offers sophisticated control algorithms, real-time response, remote monitoring and optimized power management.

Together, GE and Xtreme Power expect to tap a global segment looking for effective and efficient energy storage on new and old electric grids worldwide.


Southern California Edison to Install Smart Meters in San Joaquin Valley


Southern California Edison (SCE) in late September began installing smart electric meters in the San Joaquin Valley as part of the Edison SmartConnect program.

The technology will enable SCE residential and small business customers to take advantage of new energy and cost-saving programs and services soon.

Edison SmartConnect meters are digital, secure, two-way communicating devices. They are replacing traditional mechanical meters and provide a key step in transforming the electric system to a smart grid.

By signing up to receive email, voicemail or text message alerts, customers may track usage against a monthly budget target of their choice and reduce bills.

Most meter installations will take place from October through December.

SCE began introducing these programs and services in 2011, and more than 3.7 million customers have access to them. When advanced features are fully activated, SCE’s smart meters will be able to communicate with next-generation smart thermostats, appliances and other devices.

AEP Picks Quanta Services for Transmission Reconductor


American Electric Power Co. Inc. (AEP) selected Quanta Services Inc. to rebuild 66 miles of its 345,000-volt power line near Corpus Christi, Texas.

Quanta will perform this work in an energized state using proprietary processes and equipment to avoid service outages to AEP’s customers during construction.

Projected for completion in March 2016, the project is the first of five phases of energized transmission upgrades AEP plans in the area.

This phase represents the longest span of transmission line in the U.S. to be rebuilt while remaining energized. Pre-construction activities are underway, and construction is expected to start in the fourth quarter and ramp up throughout 2013.

This work is part of a program to upgrade a total of 240 miles of line in South Texas spanning from Harlingen to Corpus Christi and ending in Edinburg. When in service, the transmission line upgrade is expected to increase the line’s power capacity more than 40 percent.


CPUC Report Outlines Energy Efficiency Success


In its 2010-2011 Energy Efficiency Annual Progress Evaluation Report, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) summarizes investor-owned utility implementation thus far of the CPUC’s $3.1 billion 2010-2012 energy efficiency program.

The report details progress toward meeting statewide energy and climate policy objectives including the Energy Action Plan, Assembly Bill 32, and the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan.

The CPUC reported that the groundbreaking energy efficiency programs approved by the CPUC resulted in savings of 5,900 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2010-2011 based on utility reported savings estimates–enough to power more than 600,000 households for a year and the equivalent of two major power plants. In addition, the estimated savings cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3.8 million tons–the equivalent of removing more than 700,000 cars from California roads.

As outlined in the report, 89 percent of estimated energy savings reported through 2011 occurred in the commercial (55 percent) and residential (34 percent) sectors, with the agricultural and industrial sectors combined making up the remaining 12 percent of electric savings.

Through 2011, most estimated electric savings were achieved through lighting (59 percent), followed by process improvements (13 percent) and HVAC (10 percent). Natural gas savings were achieved primarily in the industrial sector, where 47 percent of the estimated savings were generated through process improvements.




FERC Approves Clean Line HVDC Project for Grid

Clean Line Energy Partners (CLEP) won approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin negotiating rates and selling service for its 600-kV Plains & Eastern Clean Line high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission line that runs across Oklahoma and Arkansas and into Memphis, Tenn.

The company says the approval gives the authority to subscribe up to 75 percent of the line’s transmission capacity with anchor tenants. The remainder of the transmission capacity will be offered through an open season process under the same terms and conditions agreed to by anchor customers, according to the company.

The project, according to CLEP, is a nearly 750-mile overhead HVDC transmission line that will connect renewable energy generation from western Oklahoma, northern Texas and southwestern Kansas to utilities and customers in Tennessee, Arkansas and other markets in the Mid-south and Southeast.


Smart Meter Shipments to Surpass 130 Million by 2016


Global smart meter shipments grew 33.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012 compared with the previous quarter and were up nearly 51.3 percent year over year, according to IDC Energy Insights.

By the end of 2012, worldwide annual smart meter shipments will surpass 130 million units.

Smart metering continues to replace earlier generations of analog and automatic meter-reading technologies, but shipments show different growth patterns across geographies.

The U.S. market continues to recede from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 peak, and momentum in the smart metering market is shifting to Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

In Europe, utilities are testing advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technologies, and many EU member states have signaled their commitment to embrace smart metering in compliance with the European legislation that mandates smart meter deployment where economically feasible. These states are finalizing the regulatory framework for their respective national rollouts, which will be completed by 2020.

As large smart meter tenders are not expected in the EU before the second half of 2013, global meter vendors are exploring new market opportunities in other geographic regions. In light of their rapidly increasing energy consumption, outdated energy infrastructure and problems with energy loss and theft, Brazil, Russia, India and China hold potential for the AMI industry.

Facing stiff competition from local vendors that often enjoy long-standing relationships with domestic utilities, several global meter vendors have sought to build their positions in these markets through local partnerships and specific product offerings.




Alstom, Toshiba Partner on Smart Grid Business


Alstom Grid and Toshiba Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding under which they will discuss a complementary smart grid partnership.

The two companies will investigate cooperation and comprehensive collaboration, drawing on their respective capabilities in smart grid technologies and know-how. The goal is to realize wide-ranging electricity management solutions that can be applied in diverse regions and environments to achieve consistent outcomes and support secure energy supply.

Through this collaboration, Alstom Grid and Toshiba expect to develop systems that support wide-scale integration of renewable energy sources into the grid and help bring down the cost of power. They also will consider how best to promote the smart grid business globally.





BRIC nations to build up global protective relay market


Economic expansion and urbanization across Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) are expected to be the major drivers for growth in the global medium- and high-voltage (MVHV) protective relay market, according to a new report by power industry analysts GlobalData.

The company’s latest research covers the importance of developing countries in the global protective relay industry, which is expected to more than double in value before the end of the decade from $2.2 billion in 2011 to $5.2 billion by 2020.

The massive industrialization of countries such as China and India has led to increased electricity demand. Power grid improvements involving the widespread deployment of protective relay installments have been necessary and have sustained the global market.

China alone accounted for 27 percent of the worldwide MVHV protective relay industry in 2011, and GlobalData predicts this share will grow substantially.

The Chinese portion of the market will swell from $705 million in 2012 to $2.1 billion by 2020, according to industry experts, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.9 percent. In comparison, the U.S. protective relay industry is expected to display relatively modest growth from $566 million in 2012 to $777 million by 2020, a CAGR of 4 percent.

Cumulatively, power consumption in the BRIC nations increased at a CAGR of 7.9 percent from 2006 to 2011 and is forecast to continue at a CAGR of 6 percent from 2012 to 2020, outstripping the predicted global growth rate of 4 percent.

The GlobalData report explains that while market growth in the developing nations will be served by new protective relay installations, mature markets such as the U.S., Germany and the U.K. will be driven by the retrofit and replacement sectors. These countries have a higher share of aged equipment that will require upgrades to meet stricter emission regulations and support renewable power generation.


Guam Power Authority selects Landis+Gyr for AMI


Guam Power Authority (GPA), the electric power provider for Guam, has selected the Gridstream RF advanced metering solution for its smart grid project, Landis+Gyr announced.

GPA plans to deploy more than 52,000 advanced meters and Gridstream network components during the next two years. The Gridstream RF network will provide a backbone for possible communication with other grid devices and home-area network applications.

In addition to operational and engineering benefits, GPA is exploring consumer services such as prepay that use the advanced metering network. Gridstream’s ability to operate and monitor other meters and network devices remotely also could add value for the utility.


National Grid, Statnett to link Norway, UK with submarine interconnector


Following three years of joint feasibility and development work, Norway’s national main grid owner and operator and National Grid International have signed an agreement to facilitate an investment decision to construct a submarine interconnector between Norway and the U.K.

Statnett and National Grid International are performing a joint seabed survey along the planned route and will focus on obtaining the necessary regulatory and environmental agreements and concessions, as well as preparing for the procurement of some 700 km of cable and two converter stations.

A key milestone will be the submittal of the Norwegian Trade Concession Application to the Norwegian Ministry in the first half of 2013. The interconnector will contribute to further integration of the northern European power markets and strengthen the northern European power grid, which will buoy the ambitions for increased renewable energy production in the whole region and support the EU’s 2020 goals.

The interconnector between the U.K. and Norway, with a planned capacity of up to 1,400 MW, is expected to be completed by 2020.




India to patrol transmission lines from choppers


To improve safety and security in the possibility of natural disasters or sabotages, Power Grid Corp. of India Limited (PGCIL) is planning to deploy helicopters for aerial patrolling of electricity transmission lines.

PGCIL, India’s principal electric power transmission company, runs five electricity grids in northern, eastern, northeastern, southern and western India. The plan has been under consideration but the failure of power grids during two days in July, which impacted more than half the country’s population, necessitated the measure.

The company was operating some 92,981 circuit km of interstate transmission lines as of March 31. One circuit kilometer refers to 1 km of electrical transmission line. PGCIL owns and operates most of India’s interstate and interregional electric power transmission systems with interregional power transfer capacity of some 20,800 MW and wheels nearly 45 percent of total power generated across India.


International experts to discuss German energy policy change


Experts from 17 countries will discuss the change in Germany’s energy policy and the transformation of the grid Dec. 4-6 in Berlin. In addition, they will compare it with scenarios in other countries. The organizer expects 300-500 participants.

The East Bavarian Technology-Transfer-Institute (OTTI) is organizing the Fifth International Conference on Grid Integration for Renewable Energies. For the first time, the event will take place in the country making a major change in its energy policy.

In addition to covering the basic political conditions, the conference will focus on the technological challenges of grid integration. In further plenary sessions, international experts will present pilot projects of intelligent power grids in model regions, future scenarios in which renewable energies take up to 80 percent of energy provision, as well as new standards and testing methods.


All Participants at One Table


“The German goals for climate change can only be attained when the energy supply itself is transformed,” said conference chairman Philipp Strauss of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy Systems Technology. “With this, the Fifth Integration Conference, we are thinking outside the box and have brought all the participants from the energy sector to the table for the first time.”

In addition to energy providers, attendees will include politicians and plant operators, representatives from energy agencies, the European Commission, as well as research and testing institutes from Europe, Asia, Australia and the U.S. With panel discussions, short presentations, workshops and accompanying exhibitions, the organizer has created additional platforms for participants to exchange experience across international borders.


International Energy Sector Decision-makers


The International Conference on the Integration of Renewable Energy Sources and Distributed Energy Resources is directed toward decision-makers from the energy sector. Since its 2004 inception in Brussels, it has taken place every two years in a different country. The patron of the Fifth International Integration Conference is the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservancy and Nuclear Safety. More information, registration forms and the detailed program are available at


GlobalData: China’s cyberattack fears to spark massive defense spending


China’s concerns about its power infrastructure safety will result in astronomical security spending during the next decade, according to international business analysts at GlobalData.

A recent GlobalData report states that China’s cybersecurity market will expand remarkably in coming years from $1.8 billion in 2011 to $50 billion by 2020, representing a dramatic compound annual growth rate (CAGR) increase of 44.7 percent.

The study describes the country’s cybersecurity market as an “anomaly” resulting from the scale of expenditure when compared with that of other regions. Europe and North America combined are predicted to spend a comparatively modest $16 billion during the same period.

The Asian giant has a strained relationship with other nations about cybersecurity. The U.S. often accuses Chinese hackers of attempting to breach U.S. power systems, although the Chinese government never has confirmed this. Such accusations might have fostered an environment of mistrust in which Chinese authorities expect retaliatory cyberattacks on their power infrastructure.

For a country with rapid urbanization that is undertaking smart grid construction on a vast geographical scale, the cost of protecting all available access points will be huge, according to the report. The smart grid building phase is expected to be complete by 2015, at which point tens of thousands of homes will be securely connected at an approximate cost of $1,000 per household.


Supergrids, Indian blackout, more from CIGRE Session 44


by Teresa Hansen, editor in chief

Electricity grids worldwide are strained, experts repeated Aug. 26-31 during CIGRE Session 44 in Paris. Electricity demand and renewable energy use are increasing. Urbanization is occurring in emerging markets. And much of the world’s grids are old. Nevertheless, consumers want more efficient, reliable power.

“Supergrids” connected to smart grids will help utilities meet these challenges, said Gregoire Poux-Guillaume, Alstom Grid president, during a press conference. This new industry term describes an ultrahigh-voltage, long-distance transmission grid with smart grid interconnections that will make transmission grids superefficient. Much of these supergrids will be DC, but they will include AC transmission, as well, Poux-Guillaume said.

State Power Grid of China President Liu Zenhya spoke during CIGRE’s opening ceremony. Zenhya said he envisions intercontinental electricity exchange in which electricity generated in China will be transported via extrahigh-voltage (EHV) DC links across Russia into Europe. He also said it is possible to replace shutdown nuclear generation in Germany with African solar power using transmission lines from Africa to Europe.

CIGRE President André Merlin was asked about Zenhya’s vision during an Aug. 27 press conference.

Technical and political challenges, Merlin said, must be addressed for such a vision to become reality. He explained that DC transmission technology allows only point-to-point connection, and mesh network, which is required for successful EHV DC, isn’t yet available. In addition, high-level government officials and politicians must be convinced such a transmission system is required; then, Merlin said, they must convince the public.

Approvals and permits for such a transmission line would require many years of regulatory and political negotiating. The technology likely would be available long before the approvals, Merlin said.

As for CIGRE, Merlin said is the nonprofit is “very well-involved” in European energy markets and is “working a little” on the Medgrid Project, which promotes interconnection among Europe and countries south of the Mediterranean so wind and solar power can move into power-hungry Europe.

“Utilities must reinforce transmission systems in Europe or Europe will experience blackouts,” Merlin said. “The region needs to transport electricity from south to north. CIGRE is working on this a little and working more on the progress of merging a DC grid.”

Although Merlin and many other industry experts said CD mesh networking technology required for successful supergrid deployment is unavailable on a commercial scale, some companies disagree, said Klaus Fröhlich, CIGRÉ technical committee secretary.

“Two companies claim it is now available,” he said. “When is difficult to answer.”

The technology, Fröhlich said, will be available when the market wants it–and the market doesn’t seem too anxious for it now.

A CIGRE panel discussion on large disturbances also drew a large crowd. There Power Grid of India Executive Director Y.K. Sehgal talked about India’s massive July 30 blackout and the country’s growth that is straining transmission grids.

“India has a vibrant electricity market,” Sehgal said. “India’s grid is experiencing double-digit growth. It is projected to grow to 240 gigawatts in the next 10 years, which is double today’s size. Twenty-five gigawatts, or about 10 percent of that growth, is expected to be renewable energy.”

India has five grid regions, Sehgal said. He attributed the blackout to many unscheduled load flows. Despite power loss to millions, system restoration was quick, Sehgal said.

“System restoration took two hours in the northeast, five hours in the north and eight hours on the east side,” he said.

Teruo Ohno, a system protection engineer at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), spoke during the same workshop about challenges TEPCO dealt with after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Electricity supply in Japan before the disaster was about 52,000 MW, Ohno said; it dropped to 31,000 MW immediately after the earthquake.Not all power disruption occurred in TEPCO territory, Ohno said. More than 9,000 MW was in TEPCO’s service area, some 7,900 MW was in Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s territory, and the rest was covered by smaller companies. Despite the devastation, TEPCO restored 7,300 MW of supply within the first 24 hours. Ohno said TEPCO learned much from the experience: The company needed better rolling blackout procedures and training for system operators; and good communication with customers is most important.

CIGRE, the Council on Large Electric Systems, is the world’s largest power systems nonprofit with some 12,000 members. More than 3,200 participants attended sessions this year in Paris and some 3,600 attended the exhibition.

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