Sustaining Emergency Readiness

In Vince Lombardi’s famous quote, he states, “Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” This mantra holds true across a number of industries, including emergency preparedness for utility companies. Millions of customers across the U.S. are affected by power outages each year. While these power outages are caused by a number of factors, energy delivery companies must remain in a state of perpetual readiness for managing emergencies throughout the year.

Automated Callout A Linchpin for Efficient Outage Recovery

Outage recovery is black and white. If the power goes out, get the lights back on. It’s that simple. Or is it? Recovering from an outage takes structure, discipline and collaboration. Structure stems from good processes. Discipline entails holding all levels of the organization accountable, yet knowing when to empower each individual or group to take ownership. And effective collaboration means marshalling resources. Bringing these elements together in the right proportions affects outage recovery.

POWERGRID Europe Conference Shows off Amsterdam’s Smart City Initiative

POWERGRID Europe and its co-located events (POWER-GEN Europe, Nuclear Power Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe) were held in June in Amsterdam. The events were attended by 13,106 people.

Jobs Not Commissioners’ Concern

Earlier this year, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the recipients of $3.4 billion in stimulus funds for smart grid development. These recipients must match the DOE’s funding and in some cases must contribute even more to complete the projects. Some utilities want their state utility commissions to let them pass along some costs to ratepayers. State commissioners’ support has been mixed.

Potential PHEV, EV Issues

Although recent announcements have generated interest and validation that public charging infrastructure will be available to support plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs), there is less focus on how customers will adapt their infrastructure and usage at home to accommodate them. For customers, two major value tenets to owning a PHEV or EV—cost savings and convenience—are directly affected by customers’ ability to charge vehicles at home. Several components exist that directly impact the ability for customers to achieve this value.

New Products

The State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC), the largest electric power transmission and distribution company in China, has selected Moxa’s IEC 61850-3 Ethernet switches for use in substation automation and smart grid applications. Hundreds of Moxa’s PowerTrans series of IEC 61850-3 compliant industrial Ethernet switches will be installed in 500/220 kV high voltage substations. Moxa’s PowerTrans series of products are specifically designed to operate reliably in harsh electric utility substation environments. The entire product line has passed IEC 61850-3 and IEEE1613 certification testing conducted by KEMA, and features strong EMI immunity, -40 C to 85 C operating temperature range and redundancy functions for complex, high voltage substations.

The Knowledge Foundation of a Good Substation

Variables abound when building a substation. To create the perfect end product, a construction crew needs the perfect mix of hardware, software, know-how and luck. This month, POWERGRID International requested input from three vendors and a utility on what should be remembered—and what should be forgotten—during the hammer-and-nails construction process.

Flexible Generation for a Smart Grid World

A large nuclear power plant operates 24/7 along with more traditional fossil-fired facilities. As wind power comes online, there’s excess generation, so some of the baseload generation isn’t needed. However, baseload power generation facilities like that nuclear power plant cannot turn off and on with the wind. Many units take at least six to 24 hours to power down or up. The result is negative pricing—often in penalties of up to $40 per megawatt per instance—generators are forced to absorb.

Utilities Getting Ready for the Smart Meter Customer Experience

A growing supply of meter data is revolutionizing how people use and pay for the energy they consume. This wealth of information is already creating an increase in daily customer-utility interactions. According to a recent TELUS-sponsored white paper by IDC Energy Insights, “35 percent of utility respondents have seen an increase in customer call volume of between 10 and 30 percent. Companies that have not yet completed their smart metering deployment also expect an increase in customer interaction. A total of eight out of 10 companies expect increases in call volumes, especially at the onset of deployment.”

The Meter Data Manager: A Starting Point for an Information-driven Utility

In my local community, our school is turning green. In the corner of the school yard there is a wind turbine whirring away at high speed and there are solar panels arrayed across the roof. The advantage is not just energy independence, but, in the evenings and weekends, the school is able to sell the surplus electricity back to the grid. But, when I turn the corner, I am struck by a sense of disbelief when I see just how little control the local electricity company has over this operation: a manually operated switch at the top of a pole.