The Green Grid

Spring never comes too early for me. I am always ready for longer, warmer days, even though they mean I must get started on a long list of labor-intensive outside jobs. In Oklahoma, longer, warmer days are perfect for growing weeds, especially in areas where they’re not welcomed, like flower beds and gardens. Also, shrubs and trees begin to wake up and start growing again. I’ve learned that early spring is the best time to tackle my outside jobs. If I wait too long, the vegetation gets entirely out of hand, and I spend the entire summer trying to get a handle on it. So during the first warm days of spring, you can find me outside working in my yard, trying to stay ahead of Mother Nature.

Of course, controlling vegetation in my yard is nothing compared with managing the vegetation on utility rights-of-way. Timing, as well as proper vegetation management products, methods and tools are critical to ensuring that Mother Nature doesn’t get the upper hand and take over your rights-of-way. In this issue, you’ll find an article on best practices for managing vegetation with herbicides, as well as another on using rugged mobile-computing technology in utility vegetation management programs. Both articles provide valuable information about managing and maintaining vegetation in power line rights-of-way. It is, after all, the time of year when most power-delivery utilities begin to tackle the “greening grid.”

As you’ll see in this issue, greening the grid is also important. Beginning on page 32, contributing writer Lawrence Jones writes about integrating wind and solar energy into utility operations. With more than half of the states requiring utilities to meet renewable portfolio standards, the barriers to integrating intermittent and often remote power into the grid must be addressed. Jones’ article discusses the challenges large utility-scale variable generation presents and the tools being developed to make it possible for utilities to integrate variable resources while maintaining grid reliability.

Also this month, Senior Editor Kathleen Davis continues her one-on-one interviews with industry experts by visiting with Tom King, president of National Grid in the United States. King talks about smart grids, technology and the economy from a large utility’s perspective. Among other things, King reveals that National Grid plans to invest nearly $4.5 billion each year in its network to ensure system reliability and customer satisfaction. You’ll want to be sure and read Davis’ interview with King, which begins on page 24.

So whether you’re interested in the greening grid, greening the grid or other things grid-related, this issue is sure to have something for you.

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