Home Tags POWERGRID_INTERNATIONAL Volume 15 Issue 3
POWERGRID_INTERNATIONAL Volume 15 Issue 3
The concept of storing electricity generated in a utility grid has been tried since the beginning of the power industry. In the U.S., large-scale storage projects flourished in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s as utilities added 18 GWs of pumped hydro facilities to support the rapid build out of the fleet of nuclear power plants across the nation. Nuclear plants run best at higher power ratings, so pumping water in these hydro plants presented ideal off-peak loads during nights and weekends when customer demands are lowest. This method of grid storage has been improved during the past two decades, and today these plants provide more than 2 percent of the total capacity of the national grid.
A few months ago, my letter from the editor was about social media. I mentioned that I’m not completely comfortable with using Facebook and Twitter and not convinced that I need to be. In the past few months, however, I’ve warmed to the idea a bit. I’ve seen many applications of social media that make a lot of sense. For example, in late February, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), launched a public forum to solicit comments on the nation’s evolving smart electric power grid—specifically the size, shape and requirements of a consumer interface with the smart grid.
In the 1970s, sharp increases in fuel prices accompanied by high inflation and interest rates drove up utilities’ costs of building, financing and operating their systems. Resulting price increases were met with customer protests, decreased kilowatt-hour sales and changes in energy use. Utilities suddenly were presented with significant uncertainty concerning two crucial elements of the planning process: cost projections and customer demand forecasts. As resource planning became more difficult, the consequences of inaccurate projections became immense.
G&W Electric Company has simplified the process of automated switching with a new SCADA-ready, three phase switch design. Part of their Trident solid dielectric switchgear line, the compact Trident-SR switch features integral, high speed magnetic actuator operation; load break or fault interrupter application; integral current and voltage sensing; and open platform circuitry for a wide selection of programmable automated controls.
Almost 10 years ago, I put together a list called Ten Things to Know about Reliability and presented it at an EEI customer operations executive workshop. Many of those same insights are still valid, such as my old push to protect the backbone. Here is an expanded list that reflects what is still true and what else we have learned since then:
Although energy utilities maintain their own, often vast, telecommunications networks, they are not like telecom operators. Their needs, customers and operational models and priorities are different. So why do network equipment vendors treat utilities like telecom operators when they want to help them build their telecom infrastructure?
When the United States allocated $3.4 billion of its 2009 Recovery Act to smart grid and renewable energy technology, it added substantial momentum for change. The successful launch of the smart grid, however, will require more than a commitment to new infrastructure and technology. Organizations must show people how to use these new smart grid systems and software effectively. Therefore, a 21st-century smart grid requires a 21st-century workforce learning strategy.
National Grid has proposed a comprehensive smart grid demonstration program that will serve as a test site for the energy grid of the future and provide a more holistic look at smart grid technology available today. That’s right. This pilot is about more than just smart meters.
Looking to redefine the way they interact with their customers, improve operations and leverage detailed service point information within their organizations, utilities across the United States are undertaking transformational projects around advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and meter data management systems (MDMS).
The electric utility sector is at an inflection point, being driven primarily by the build out of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). In the past year, a number of forces have been in play, including a convergence of political and economic events that has accelerated a national push to gain energy independence, conserve energy and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. At the core of these efforts is a drive by federal and local governments to build the foundation for a smart electricity grid infrastructure.
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