Research Group Predicts 65 Percent Growth in Smart Grid Operations Management Software

The worldwide smart grid operations management software and services market will grow more than 65 percent during 2009-14, representing a compound annual growth rate of 11.1 percent, according to a new ARC Advisory Group report. It projects this substantial growth will result from a concurrent wave of new technology and worldwide infrastructure spending driven by sovereign investment programs. These sovereign investment programs are heavily focused on technology to improve grid reliability, efficiency and information management capabilities.

The United States, China and India are allocating the greatest amount of public capital to grid expansion and improvement initiatives.

“The concurrent deployment of the $8 billion in U.S. smart grid investment, $180 billion in Chinese grid investment and $10 billion for the Indian R-APDRP program is serving as the catalyst for exceptional growth in this technology-driven market,” said Clint Reiser, enterprise software analyst and principal author of ARC’s “Smart Grid Operations Management Software & Services Worldwide Outlook.”

The growth also is being supported by expansion projects in emerging markets such as the Middle East and Latin America.

U.S. Government Stimulus

Thanks in part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, smart grid management software vendors are experiencing increased interest in their solutions. Although these vendors anticipate growth in transmission and substation automation technology, they anticipate the greatest growth will be from spending on distribution technology to enhance network control, efficiency, reliability and power quality. In particular, vendors have noted that utilities have shown interest in new distribution management system and outage management system applications.

China’s Ongoing Grid Expansion, Modernization

China is in the midst of alarge-scale, nationwide, grid extension and modernization project. What began as an effort to supply electricity to most of the country’s population gradually has shifted focus toward grid modernization and efficiency. According to ARC, smart grid operations management software and other intelligent grid elements will account for an increasing percentage of total spending as this shift in focus toward grid modernization continues. Chinese Government and industry leaders have said that a unified strong and smart grid system will be built across the country by 2020. Larger scale smart grid construction is expected to be included in China’s five-year development plan beginning in 2011. Foreign technology and service providers already have established a presence in China in anticipation of the country’s smart grid growth opportunities.

More information on this study is available in the market research section at ARC Advisory Group’s website:

Worm Invades Siemens SCADA Systems Globally

By Kathleen Davis, Senior Editor

Viruses, worms and Trojans are an unfortunate part of the computerized present, Siemens found.

In June the company discovered it was the target of malware that uses a Microsoft Windows loophole dealing with shortcut files to latch on and download secure information from supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems using a leaked Siemens password. The worm is low-tech in its delivery. A computer must be physically connected to an infected USB stick (although it is possible it could spread via CDs and file sharing). If someone views an item from that infected stick, the worm sneaks into the system, searching for information to copy.

Named the Stuxnet worm, it is hitting Middle Eastern and Asian countries most. Symantec Corp. said that more than half the systems impacted were specifically in Iran, but Indonesia and India also have seen a large set of Stuxnet issues, according to an IDG News Service report.

The worm was discovered by an antivirus company in Belarus, VirusBlokAda, which has labeled the worm “very dangerous” and said on the company website that it could lead to a “virus epidemic.”

Threat-protection company ESET discovered a second variation of the Stuxnet worm in late July and issued a warning.

According to ESET Virus Lab, this second-generation worm is active in the U.S. and Iran.

Nearly 58 percent of all infections were reported in the United States, 30 percent in Iran and slightly more than 4 percent in Russia.

Juraj Malcho, head of the Virus Lab at ESET’s global headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia, said the worm is a case of targeted attack exploiting a zero-day vulnerability, or a vulnerability unknown to the public.

“This particular attack targets the industrial supervisory software SCADA,” Malcho said in a press release. “In short, this is an example of malware-aided industrial espionage. The question is why the chart of affected nations looks as it does.”

Most of the damage caused by the worm is limited to industrial targets, according to ESET.

Siemens representatives also stressed that the Stuxnet worm has not yet impacted any power generation SCADA system nor any transmission and distribution SCADA system (as of press time).

“To our knowledge, only two industrial systems were affected by this,” a Siemens representative said. That power-system SCADA networks weren’t impacted reveals the hearty backbone of those systems, said Scott Gosnell, chief marketing officer, with Tatsoft, a software tools, products and services developer.

“This particular attack shows the strengths of current security technologies and protocols; the worm didn’t come in through a network vulnerability,” he said.

Industry insiders warn, however, that utilities should not assume they are immune, even if the Stuxnet worm has avoided corrupting power systems this round.

It is still spreading, and it won’t be the last threat, Frank Madren, GarretCom president, said in a press release.

“This is not the time to stick your head in the sand and say “Ëœit can’t happen here,'” Madren said. “Cyberattacks on industrial control system are happening now and will probably increase.”

Madren said best practices to prevent damage include a multipronged approach of good industry standards, technology and personal, targeted recommendations to fill holes in a utility’s security program.

Tatsoft’s Gosnell adds man to Madren’s best practices equation: Keep him tech-savvy and on top of things.

“This also demonstrates that operational risks are an inherent part of running these systems,” Gosnell said. “One of your biggest potential problems comes from poor processes and policies at the human level. Maintaining good security hygiene at the human and social level complements good technical hygiene.”

Madren said that North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC CIP) regulations help protect power utility substations from security issues, including worms like this one. They are comprehensive and offer a great defense.

“No system is completely immune from creative new incursions,” Madren said. “Constant vigilance is required.”

How Maryland Engaged Stakeholders in its Statewide Program

By Keith Kerzel, R. W. Beck

Throughout the country, local governments and utilities are deploying smart grid technologies.

Three years ago Maryland began its EmPOWER Maryland initiative, which set stringent goals to save taxpayers money, reduce stress on the state’s energy markets and improve the environment. To help implement these goals, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) looked to R. W. Beck, an SAIC company, Energetics Inc. and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) to determine the feasibility of designing a smart grid program. From the start, the project team realized the importance of stakeholder involvement and integrated tools to build communication and engagement.

Empower Maryland and Smart Grid Maryland

The EmPOWER Maryland initiative is one of the nation’s most ambitious energy conservation projects, aiming to reduce state energy consumption by 15 percent from 2007 levels by 2015. The initiative, spearheaded by Gov. Martin O’Malley and adopted by the Maryland General Assembly, outlines specific steps to help the state government reduce its power consumption.

Aligned with these steps, Maryland’s five utilities are offering several programs to save energy, including lighting and appliance rebates for homeowners, home energy audits, commercial lighting rebates and energy efficiency services for industrial facilities.

To help implement program goals, the MEA began considering a smart grid system to incorporate energy efficiency, demand response, renewable resources, distributed generation and transmission strategies and be the most beneficial for Maryland consumers. Out of this research, the Smart Grid Maryland project was born.

In 2009, the MEA received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop recommendations for a beneficial smart grid program. The project team, including R. W. Beck, Energetics and ACEEE, researched and analyzed to determine the feasibility of designing a state smart grid program that could help implement EmPOWER Maryland’s goals.

The team divided the project into four elements. First, the team reviewed technologies, programs and pilot projects. Second, the team conducted two educational outreach programs to Maryland stakeholders. Third, using R. W. Beck’s decision-making optimization model, Optimity, the team analyzed and prioritized energy conservation and efficiency, renewable resources, AMI and demand-response programs. They also reviewed costs and benefits of a smart grid deployment and other alternatives such as significant contributions from smart meters and home area network (HAN) controls.

Finally, the team reviewed smart grid filings submitted by BGE and Pepco Holdings Inc., Maryland’s two largest utilities, and provided expert testimony in the Maryland Public Service Commission hearings. Testimony provided by MEA and R. W. Beck focused on elements including AMI technology, system security and resiliency, deployment costs and benefits, rate design and cost recovery.

Stakeholder Engagement

In addition to the regulatory stakeholders who received the report and testimony, the project team understood that all Maryland consumers had a stake in the potential elements of a smarter electricity grid. Educating all stakeholders about these potential elements and the costs and benefits of such a grid was an important component of the project. MEA and its teammates created vehicles for outreach and communication. The Smart Grid Maryland team established a public website and hosted two stakeholder meetings to bring together regulators, utility company representatives, consumer advocates, nongovernmental organizations, state legislators and staff, and state energy, environmental and economic development agency representatives. At these public meetings, the team discussed background, project goals and objectives, including the scope of work and analytical processes used to prioritize elements. Attendees asked questions and shared their ideas about which resources the team should identify and analyze. Questions ranged from basic explanations of smart grid elements to specific details regarding concerns and potential obstacles. All questions and answers were posted on the project website.

To reach stakeholders who did not attend the two in-person meetings, the project team created This site provided an outlet for continuous engagement and served as a communications tool and repository for the project documents. Maryland residents and business owners were encouraged to visit the website often to learn about the project and access the posted reports, calendar of events and additional resources.

By combining stakeholder involvement with extensive research and analysis, the Smart Grid Maryland project team delivered a comprehensive, objective report that evaluated potential technologies, policies, regulatory issues, costs and benefits to meet the specific needs of the state.

Keith Kerzel is the vice president of smart grid infrastructure at R. W. Beck, an SAIC company. Reach him at


Case Study: KELAG Netz GmbH Smart Metering Field Trial

With the EU directive requiring smart metering technology by 2020, European utility providers are quickly assessing smart grid and metering options.

KELAG Netz GmbH (KELAG) is one of those providers. Founded in 2004, its distribution network supplies more than 235,000 electricity customers and some 10,000 gas customers.

KELAG instituted a smart metering, end-to-end field trial using Alcatel-Lucent’s technology, including its operational support system (OSS), meter data management (MDM) and end-customer access solutions for the platform side and Siemens AMIS system for the physical smart meters.

“With this trial we plan to investigate capabilities and functionalities out of smart metering meter data management and operation and how it maps to real-world processes,” said Gerald Obernosterer, head of operational IT, KELAG Netz GmbH. “Of particular interest is the ability to have an independent meter data management system running on top of different metering subsystems, as well as the possibility of allowing our end users to have access to their daily usage data via a simple Web portal. This latter possibility implies that we will be able to have intensive communication with end customers in order to help them understand the ins and outs of all the new service capabilities.”

KELAG also will assess how prepayment software capabilities will work within the smart metering context.

“If such a solution is possible,” Obernosterer said, “our customers will be able to front load their usage balance and monitor that balance via a Web interface, topping it off when required. It will give them a sort of a pay-as-you-go model. In this direction, our trial shall also enable a comparison between meter-based prepayment and software-based prepayment.”

Finally, the trial aims to include and investigate OSS capabilities and to combine the MDM system with business support systems already in place. OSS will allow for alarm management, inventory management and work flow management. Only a smooth interworking of MDM, OSS and BSS can guarantee an efficient and optimized operation of a smart metering network.

The trial went live in March and is being executed in two phases with completion planned for the end of 2010. In the first phase, KELAG will deploy the smart metering solution to some 550 homes.

Case Study: Danish Utility Draws New Sketch

DONG Energy is a large energy company headquartered in Denmark that specializes in the design and documentation of new electrical facilities, developing more than 6,000 sites annually. With any new design project, the project manager first must sketch cabling, electrical substations and transformers. Historically, time spent making that sketch was a challenge. Because a sketch can be changed during construction—or sometimes discarded because a project is cancelled—it is a waste of resources if too much time is devoted to the process.

For the past few years, DONG Energy used a tool developed in ArcView that made it possible to draw cables and substations. It’s not intelligent, however, so when the sketch was entered into the geographic information system (GIS) to give all the elements a correct geographic location, everything had to be redrawn. In addition, there was a lag before items on the sketch appeared in DONG Energy’s GIS. Once the sketch was approved, the plan was established, but at this point, only the project manager knew all the details. The timeline to disseminate the information to all involved usually took five to six weeks.

One solution was an intelligent drawing tool in which all the features selected in the design phase are automatically saved in the GIS immediately. In addition, the sketch is visible to everyone in the organization throughout the process, giving everyone an up-to-date status of the project.

“I have examined how long it takes the different employees to do each work task in a project process,” said Max Knudsen, DONG Energy GIS specialist. “How much of the day do they use to draw? How much time is spent on entering data? It was a very detailed mapping of all the work flows where I measured it minute by minute. First, we did it the old way. Then we did exactly the same thing.

“Then we compared the numbers.”

The analysis showed that using an intelligent drawing tool—Dong chose Designer Express—in the design phase established a yearly savings of 60 percent in the time it takes to draw in a project. That equals almost 2 million DKK a year (more than $350,000). With the technology, data is saved in the GIS as the project manager draws the first sketch. Furthermore, the day the plan is approved, established and ready to be put into operation, the project manager can transfer all features directly to the GIS with one click.

“All features are transferred directly and automatically,” Knudsen said. “What’s more, if I have drawn in a cable, the system knows that there should be an electrical splice closure in each end of the cable in order for it to be connected, so it finalizes it for me.”

The greatest savings are in the drawing phase. With other technologies, the process would have to start from scratch and take about a week to draw in a whole project. Now, a project can be drawn in 40 percent of the time it took before. Other benefits to intelligent drawing tools and technology include better data quality, better customer service and greater organizational knowledge about the projects.

“If anyone is digging in the ground, they contact us to hear if we have cables there,” Knudsen said. “Before, we could only show them the cables that were already in operation. Now, all projects are available to everyone in the organization because they are in the GIS database from the beginning, and that is a great advantage.”

Transmission Growth Rates, Market Value Revealed

Pike Research recently released “Electricity Transmission Infra-structure: Market Drivers and Barriers, Emerging Technologies, Key Industry Players, and Worldwide Growth Forecasts.”

In the report, analyst David Barry discusses the many forces influencing the worldwidetransmission market, including reliability and capacity enhancements, renewable portfolio standards, economic projects and replacement of infrastructure. The table and figure reveal world market growth rates and values, according to the report. The full report may be purchased by e-mailing

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