No Free Lunch – The ARRA SGIG Reporting Challenge

The term “no free lunch” dates back to the late 1930s and since has been enshrined in economic theory. Early 20th century bartenders offered free lunches with the purchase of beverage alcohol. It was an effective way of luring patrons and emptying pockets. Today, economists use the term when referring to the opportunity cost of one choice vs. another. Every opportunity has a cost. Some costs are more indeterminate than others. Such is the case with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) reporting.

Green Data Walls Sustainability and Scalability in the Control Room

Whether designing a new network operation center or upgrading an existing control room, end users should evaluate technology based on its environmental impact and maximize capital expenditures while minimizing ownership cost.

New Products

Burndy introduces its new certified green idle tractor-trailer. This truck is one of the first in the U.S. to meet 2010 emissions standards. This tractor-trailer uses an auxiliary power system to generate power for cab heating, cab cooling and operating ancillary cab appliances. These units also may be used to heat the engine block in cold weather and recharge the vehicle’s battery. Because of the engine’s small size, operating an auxiliary power system uses only a fraction of the fuel that would be used by idling the vehicle’s primary engine.

Smart Planning for a Smart Grid

Piece by piece across the United States, the ingredients of a smart grid—a 21st century improvement to the power grid that uses real-time monitoring to improve efficiency, reliability and economy—are coming together. What technology is already in play? What must be developed, and how can national laboratories such as Argonne help put these pieces together?

Experts Discuss Switchgear Shopping

Switchgear is on your T&D shopping list, but how do you make the best choices for now and for your system’s future needs? Switchgear isn’t an impulse purchase like shoes and sport cars. POWERGRID International asked Matt Polk, manager of sales and marketing of medium-voltage switchgear at ABB, and Larry Arends, marketing manager at G&W Electric, to provide a few pointers about selecting the right switchgear for the job.

SCADA Innovation Begins Now

The massive 1965 outage that left tens of millions without power in Canada and the northeastern U.S. spurred myriad changes in the systems, processes and regulations undergirding electricity delivery. It can be said that the event was effectively the beginning of the smart grid—that electricity delivery has grown more intelligent in the years since.

Mobile Work Force Advances Get Work Done

Labor cost is typically the second-largest cost behind wholesale power for distribution utilities. Unlike wholesale power, however, labor is the most controllable cost. Thin margins common in many utilities mean that even a small improvement in work force costs can have a huge impact. Through work flow process improvements, a utility easily can cut labor costs while improving time management with its mobile work force.

Considering Communications for AMI

Utilities’ and customers’ expectations from advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) vary widely among markets around the globe, and they will rapidly evolve in many directions as smart grid rollout intensifies and system and process innovations emerge. As a result, AMI communications needs are a moving target.

Empowering 21st Century Workers

Today’s utilities leverage software applications to manage their mobile fieldwork forces, but few are happy with the results or costs associated with using different mobile work force applications for different purposes, such as scheduling meter readers or asset maintenance. Many are frustrated with an inability to locate skilled technicians during an emergency and worry that their existing applications will not make up for the knowledge they will lose when the aging work force retires.

The Convergence of Distribution Networks and Smart Grid Technologies

During the past decade, the electric power industry has seen unprecedented technological advancements and industry restructurings, creating innovation and automation in utility control systems where there was little throughout the 20th century.