Smart Grid Technology
A Global Approach to its Challenges
The term “smart grid” is one that has become ubiquitous, but its definition is flexible. Generically the following definition may apply as well as any: a smart grid is a digitally enabled electric grid that gathers, distributes, and acts on information about the behavior of all components in order to improve the efficiency, reliability, and sustainability of electricity services.
In this issue’s theme, a global outlook on smart grid technology, we have six feature articles representing a potpourri of thoughts and approaches to the myriad of opportunities and challenges that our industry and technology faces or may face as we move further into the development of the grid(s) of the future. The smart grid is global, and that is reflected in the origins of the articles you will be reading. A brief introduction to the articles, in the order of their appearance, follows.
In This Issue
The first article, “The Big Picture” by Mladen Kezunovic, Vijay Vittal, Sakis Meliopoulos, and Tim Mount, is an opinion piece derived from a white paper produced by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Power Systems Research Center (PSERC). This article describes the four tasks considered crucial to smart grid research and the flexibility that is required to alter course when necessary. It also stresses the need for demonstrations to be designed to provide critical inputs.
“Beyond the Crystal Ball” by Mandhir Sahni, Richard Jones, and Yunzhi Cheng is our second article. With the implementation of “nodal” or locational marginal pricing (LMP) in both ERCOT and California, decisions on this method will have to be made by others players in the U.S. electric grid. The article discusses the critical data and tools required to support predictive operations in an LMP-based market. It further points out that there are a range of solutions available and that appropriate choices are available for participants.
Our third article, “See It Fast to Keep Calm” by Mevludin Glavic, Damir Novosel, Eric Heredia, Dmitry Kosterev, Armando Salazar, Farrokh Habibi-Ashrafi, and Matt Donnelly, reviews the problems resulting from the deployment of renewables, energy storage, and electric vehicles that impact system performance and voltage management. The piece stresses the need for fast and accurate voltage stability coupled with real-time protection as the keys to comprehensive voltage management to prevent voltage problems.
“The Power to Deliver” by A.R. Khattak, S.A. Mahmud, and G.M. Khan, the fourth article, offers an all-encompassing overview of the smart grid. It is a very well-presented primer, originating from Pakistan, offering insights to areas such as demand response, wide area situational awareness, electric storage, electric vehicles, advanced metering, smart appliances and home controllers, and information security, among others.
The issue’s fifth article, “Strait Ahead” by H.B. Gooi, P.L. So, E.K. Chan, E. Toh, and H. Gan, presents a number of initiatives taking place in Singapore by the government, universities, and R&D centers to achieve a sustainable and secure electric system. Singapore is faced with increasing costs associated with conventional generating sources, a rising carbon footprint, and climate change. Given scarce natural resources, Singapore is pursuing growth in areas such as clean energy, microgrids, and smart grids and these efforts are reported.
“Look Before You Leap” by Devon Manz, Richard Piwko, and Nicholas Miller is the final article in the issue. The age-old adage “energy must be generated when demanded” is being challenged. In this piece, an in-depth look at energy storage applications is provided as is a discussion of new and more efficient methods of storage. The authors make the point that storage provides grid operators with a flexible resource that can relieve other generating resources to serve the grid in other ways, if and when the economics justify it. And though energy storage may find suitable applications, it is imperative that potential investors in these assets understand how to quantify the technical and economic suitability of energy storage on an application-by-application basis, in comparison with other approaches to achieve the same goals.
Division VII Director Candidates
In the “Society News” column we feature the nominated candidates contesting the position of IEEE Division VII director-elect in 2013. The winning candidate will then also assume the position of Division director for 2014–2015. The candidates Noel Schulz and Wanda Reder and are presented, and their candidate statements are offered for your consideration. The election will be conducted later this year, and I urge you to review the material presented and be certain to cast your ballot.
Also “Society News” recognizes two Power & Energy Society members honored by their selection for prestigious IEEE Field Awards. They are Manoj Shah, the Tesla Awardee, and Hugh Rudnick, who received the Haraden Pratt Award.
AC in the Berkshires
Once again we are pleased to welcome an old friend, Tom Blalock, to our pages as he offers a two-part article in “History” about William Stanley and his seminal demonstration of an ac system in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in 1886. The article has been edited and is introduced by Associate Editor Carl Sulzberger, who not only offers commentary about the accomplishments, but also provides a description of an area, the Berkshires of Massachusetts, that I personally believe is among the most charming in the United States in all seasons.
Closing with the Smart Grid
A most fitting closure to this issue is the “In My View” column by Rob Wilhite, “Smart Grid Adoption.” Rob, the global director/senior VP of management and operations consulting for DNV KEMA Energy and Sustainability, looks at business cases throughout the world that are driven by varying considerations. He also reviews the results of a recent KEMA survey of vendors, solution providers, and utilities to learn about the progress that has been made in the smart grid as well as to gain insight on those issues driving near-term business decisions. Also revealed was the requirement for globally accepted standards for equipment, software, and practices for an interconnected grid.