Utility University Shows off Deeper Dive into Grid Challenges

NEW ORLEANS-DistribuTECH is billed as running Tuesday through Thursday, but for many in the industry it started Monday with deeper, sometimes day-long drill-downs on the ins and outs of the power utility and smart grid sectors.

Utility University kicked off with an array of four- and eight-hour sessions. Subjects ranged from overviews on what’s happening with IEC 61850-related datasets to deployment of AMI to support distribution operations and much more.

In the Future of Outage Management course, a team of experts from DataCapable, Seattle City Light and GridBright focused on advancements in how utilities communicate and respond to storm damage.

The group detailed the growing collaboration, not only with utilities but also vendors, customers and emergency responders. An Outage Data Initiative is a new industry-led effort to provide collaborative information, with Seattle City Light noted as the first utility to be certified in its ability to share outage data with the outside entities.

“It’s going to take a lot of work together, a lot of new entities coming together,” Zac Canders, co-founder of DataCapable, said during the session.

Scott Thomsen, communications director with Seattle City Light, talked about the utility using social media to track storms and be a conduit for new information in partnership with customers.

Other Utility University courses focused on the principles of asset management and why risk matters, planning for integration of distributed generation, energy storage and microgrids in smart grid systems.

DistribuTECH officially begins 9 a.m. Central time Tuesday with the keynote session featuring Entergy Chief Operating Officer Paul Hinnenkamp and ComEd COO Terry Donnelly. The content includes 11 summit tracks upstairs and four Knowledge Hubs on the exhibit floor of the Ernest N. Morial Conventional Center in downtown New Orleans.


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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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