A Potpourri of Eight
Articles Cover Grids, Reliability, Improvements
As most of our readers know, most IEEE Power & Energy Magazine issues are devoted to a single preselected theme. However, we also welcome submissions related to the technology we represent. Those submissions are subjected to a rigorous peer review process, and, although many do not survive, those that do are well worth sharing with you. This issue is quite eclectic and features eight accepted articles covering a potpourri of subjects. I am pleased to offer them with apologies to a number of the authors for the delay they have experienced prior to publication.
In This Issue
Here is a brief introduction to the articles in the order that they are presented.
Our first article, “The Grid of the Future,” presents trends and their potential impact on shaping the grid of the future. These include coal plant retirements, solar and wind and gas generation, electric vehicles, electric storage, distributed generation, dynamic reactive power, and demand management. These factors together with new technologies, changing market conditions, and new regulations and policies all shape the future of the grid both in emerging and developed economies.
“Form Follows Function” offers a view of smart grid issues as seen by a communications expert. It presents a communications-oriented framework
as an introduction to the design of a communications system to govern actions within the system. Three design entities, business networks, consumer networks, and interentity communication systems, are identified as the keys to implementing the design of the communications system.
The criticality of power plant models as planning and operating tools is a long-established practice. However, the values that are used to establish these models may change as conditions in the plant change. “Improving Reliability Through Better Models” applies the use of phasor measurement units (PMUs) and synchrophasor data to analyze machine responses that open the doors to validation models using PMUs to supplement and potentially defer certain staged tests. These validation techniques could ultimately reduce outages, increase reliability, and reduce costs associated with power plant model validation testing.
“A Road Map to Integration” is an overview of the application of smart meters and an indictment of the practice as we know it today. After a detailed analysis, the article concludes that the metering aspect must be linked directly to the substation and prices pegged to that substation, i.e., the advanced metering infrastructure must be the communication gateway between the substation and its termination points.
“Powering Through the Storm” is a primer covering the definition and global applications of microgrids. The article then focuses on natural disasters, citing detailed descriptions of these events and then offering commentary on how microgrids may have mitigated the extent of the event. The conclusion reached by the authors is that the planning process for the future grid should take into account the coordinated operation of microgrids during disasters as one of their many potential benefits.
“Forewarned Is Forearmed” presents BC Hydro’s approach of mitigating long-term disturbances by using an overall remedial action scheme (RAS) that involves multiple RASs and a system-wide RAS arming system. The BC Hydro system has been modeled for the presentation of the tests and results obtained. With testing completed, the proposed system is being implemented by the utility.
Given the recent price reduction in costs associated with photovoltaic (PV) energy, “A Grid-Friendly Plant” addresses the impact of this medium on the stability and integrity to the electric grid. This article covers the design of a PV plant that includes a plant controller contributing to the reliability and stability of the grid, as well as having the ability to ride through extreme variations in voltage and frequency.
“Decisions, Decisions” is the presentation of a distribution system capable of accepting and implementing asset management concepts. The implementation begins by recognizing stakeholders and their needs. Only then is the distribution system determined, leading the distribution system framework to be developed by asset management tools. Finally, the framework is discussed in both long- and short-term asset management.
IEEE Award Winners
Be sure to look at “Society News,” where we report on the accomplishments of four IEEE Power & Energy Society members Tom Lipo, Hamid Toliyat, Willem Boone, and Wanda Reder who, respectively, were the recipients of the IEEE Medal in Power Engineering, the IEEE Nikola Tesla Award, the IEEE Herman Halperin Electric Transmission and Distribution Award, and the 2014 Richard M. Emberson Award. A hearty congratulations to all!
The brief but poignant “History” column is by old friend and contributor Tom Blalock and was originally published in The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, last year. The piece invokes Tom’s memories of the building that had been General Electric’s high-voltage laboratory and was demolished last year. On a personal note, I also have memories of the facility where I was introduced to transformer impulse testing as a fledging engineer and offer my thanks to Tom for the flashback.
The Eye of the Storm
This issue’s “In My View” column by Gerald B. Sheblé takes a provocative look at U.S. utilities. In “Utilities in the Eye: Caught in the Perfect Financial,” Gerry offers in-depth reviews of the multitude of parameters that can have adverse effects on these utilities individually and collectively. He concludes that each and every utility must closely examine the economic process if it is to survive. Strong words that call for reader commentary, so let’s hear it!