Smart Grid 2.0 Challenges Utilities

We’ve seen announcements in the past 18 months about smart meter project deployments. I call this Smart Grid 1.0. As we enter 2011, utilities are developing their Smart Grid 2.0 strategies.


G&W Electric Co. has extended its line of solid dielectric reclosers with a versatile, modular unit designed specifically for single-phase systems rated through 38kV, 800A, 12.5kA symmetrical interrupting. Trade named the Viper-SP, the recloser is available in a standard “L” configuration as well as a low-profile, horizontal insulator configuration ideal for congested overhead or substation applications to maintain electrical clearances. The modular construction of G&W’s Viper-SP permits bushing configurations providing ideal solutions for overhead, substation and dead-front padmount applications. The G&W recloser works directly with Schweitzer’s SEL-351RS Kestrel control. Dead tank construction with a mechanical block feature prohibits remote close, adding to operator safety. The Viper-SP is distribution automation–ready, permitting ease of automation now or for future requirements.

Advanced Smart Grid Will be Energy Internet

During any week this year, you could find a smart grid conference, and you wouldn’t have to look hard. There is no shortage of discussion on smart grid whether it’s online, at a conference or in the office. But for all the talk about fixing the grid, upgrading the grid and adding to the grid, when the discussion begins with the applications or tools that will define the solution (such as an AMI project), as it often does, that discussion jumps ahead of itself. A smart grid project must start with decisions on the network design or face the risk of the application decisions’ limiting the network options needed to meet future needs, plus raising the complexity, cost and overall risk of the smart grid project.

Smart Grid’s Application Layer Offers Opportunities for Evolving Energy Work Force

In 2009, smart grid investments topped $10 billion worldwide, and in coming years, the influx of capital into the next-generation electricity grid is expected to grow rapidly. Though still in its early stages, the next-generation grid presents innovations that are beginning to see significant traction in the marketplace. Those smart grid innovations are changing the way energy users interact with the electricity grid. As the network becomes more complex, so will the demands on energy industry employees. During the transition to a smarter, more decentralized grid, the industry will face challenges from turnover in an aging utility work force and an increased need for enhanced job training. Changes in energy distribution and management promise to expand employment opportunities for a new wave of energy industry workers.

The Transmission Imperative for Renewables

It’s an interesting time to be involved with electricity. The power industry is on the verge of the biggest changes since the days of Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. Recent breakthroughs around the world in power transmission systems have made it imperative for the U.S. to develop a more intelligent, flexible, long-haul transmission network that can carry renewable energy from remote locations to major population centers.

Increasing Transient Stability Through Optimal Reclosure on Permanent Faults

Minimizing permanent faults’ negative effects on power system stability can significantly increase the system’s power transfer capability. One way to minimize negative effects is to calculate the affected breakers’ optimal reclosing time. Following is a discussion on using optimal reclosure on permanent faults to increase transient stability. It begins by reviewing the swing equation to introduce the concept of the load angle limit. It then presents the transient energy function through a single machine illustration of these concepts. Finally, it discusses a multi-machine scenario.

Ensuring Reliable Communications, Data Protection for AMI Networks

Utilities moving forward with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and distribution automation (DA) deployments must secure the two-way communications network that reaches every customer site and monitoring point in the power distribution and metering infrastructure. Such security encompasses a broad network footprint with many elements requiring safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) of this critical utility infrastructure.

D-TECH Warms up San Diego

Running Feb. 1-3, 2011, at the San Diego Convention Center, DistribuTECH covers the smart grid from end to end, empowering each attendee to take hold of his (or her) energy future.

Building the Smart Meters Business Case

Electric utilities in 43 states are proceeding with plans to install smart meters. U.S. utilities have installed 16 million meters in pilot programs and full-scale rollouts. Research for the Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE) indicates that some 65 million new meters will be deployed nationwide by 2020—about half of U.S. homes.

Key Considerations for Grid Communications Technology

In recent years, “smart grid network” has become an overused phrase that has saturated the energy industry. Information has been pouring out about technologies, creating confusion about what the real options are and what each delivers.