Utilities Employ Vegetation Management Programs to Keep Power Flowing

For U.S. utility companies, employing a carefully constructed vegetation management program keeps transmission lines and service areas free from potentially damaging natural obstructions such as falling trees and wildfires. But they must also account for issues such as compliance standards, public pressure and environmental concerns.

Paving the Way to the 21st Century Smart Grid at Seattle City Light

Seattle City Light (SCL), one of the nation’s largest municipal electric utilities, was established more than a century ago. Like many other utilities, SCL has been historically adverse to any significant technological changes. Today, many system components are simply obsolete and no longer supported. A municipal utility must walk the delicate path of educating the city council—and the customers who elect them—to the benefits of maintaining a strong utility infrastructure, as well as explaining the higher overall costs that can be accrued should the infrastructure be allowed to crumble.

Looking to the Sky for SmartGrid Intelligence

Critical to the level of intelligence that can be achieved in making the grid smarter is its backbone—the network and communications infrastructure. The requirements of the communications network are demanding, encompassing issues such as scalable bandwidths, robust security, high network reliability and availability, and cost–effectiveness. Many in the industry have concluded that the most cost-effective approach to meet these requirements is to leverage the range of transport technologies available, while relying on common open standards, such as IP, to integrate into a single overall network. This article presents the value that advanced, satellite-based networks can deliver as part of the smart grid communications infrastructure, across areas ranging from substation automation (SA) and distribution automation (DA) to AMI collectors.

New EEI Report Shows U.S. Transmission Investment Large, Growing

A new Edison Electric Institute (EEI) report, “Transmission Projects: At A Glance,” offers a closer look at transmission projects that EEI member companies are building or planning. The projects highlighted in the new EEI report total nearly $56 billion (nominal dollars) in expected transmission system investments from 2009 through 2020 and are a portion of total transmission investment anticipated through 2020 by EEI member companies.

The Smart Grid and Power: CIOs-Current and Former-and a Lone CTO Dish

Technologies to be most impacted by smart grid fall into two specific areas: information and operations. Those areas of a utility or power organization are most often overseen by a chief information officer or a chief technology officer. So, POWERGRID International magazine sought out a handful of those people to discuss intelligent grid developments. We didn’t expect to hear that smart grid developments are creating such a time crunch for power executives. Still, we were able to interview four executives about what’s going on in their worlds today: Andres Carvallo, former Austin Energy CIO, Wanyonyi Kendrick, Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) CIO, Richard Dewey, New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) CIO and David Mohler, Duke Energy CTO.

A Look Back 100 Years Could Provide Utility Marketing Strategy

You might have done a double-take when you saw this issue’s cover. PennWell Corp., the owner of PowerGrid International, is celebrating its 100 year anniversary this year, and we our commemorating that anniversary with a cover that reflects the electricity industry 100 years ago.

Eurelectric Workshop Examines Consumers, Meters, Regulatory Developments for Smart Grids

Eurelectric’s policy workshop “How Will Smart Grids Change the Face of Europe’s Electricity Distribution and Consumption?” occurred April 13 & 14, 2010 in Brussels. Tucked into a large ballroom at the Renaissance Hotel in the European Union part of the city, the workshop packed a lot of information into a small, compact two-day format.

Cooperatives Working Towards a Smart Grid: The Impacts of MultiSpeak, Interoperability and Cybersecurity

With passage of the Energy Information and Security Act (EISA) in 2007, Congress aimed to promote the transition to a smarter grid and, at the same time, set in motion a process for creating interoperability and cybersecurity standards necessary for the success of that effort. At this point, however, the accelerated push to smarten the grid, helped along by new federal money for investments and research, threatens to outpace the standards-setting process.

New Products

N-TRON Corp., a global leader in industrial networking, has introduced six new products designed for legacy serial communications in industrial environments. With this release, N-TRON has solved the growing problem of integrating legacy mission-critical components with newer network technology. These cost-effective products bridge the gap between older serial and contemporary Ethernet protocols, allowing organizations to preserve their investments in programming and equipment while moving forward with advancing technology. Connectivity options for 10/100BaseTX and multimode fiber applications are available in each series.N-TRON Corp.

Controlling Energy Spend-How Smart Meters Will Benefit Commercial Customers

We’ve all heard that the only guarantees in life are death and taxes. We in the power industry can add one more: Customers will resist smart meters without powerful and immediate cost benefits.