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R E N E WA B L E E N E R G Y | AUTOMATION | OV E R H E A D T & D | SMART GRID

Summer 2018 Volume 31, No. 3

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SMART GRID ISSUE


BUILDING A
BETTER WORLD OF
SMART STRUCTURES
ON THE SMART GRID
PAGE 20

TRANSFORMING
POWER GRIDS FOR
AN EFFICIENT FUTURE
PAGE 22

GRIDS BECOME
HIGHLY VULNERABLE
PAGE 26

SIEMENS’ WHITE PAPER


OUTLINES DESIGN FOR
MINI-GRIDS TO
ENERGIZE PUERTO RICO
PAGE 27

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

SUMMER 2018 • VOL. 31 • NO. 3 FEATURES


PRESIDENT
Randolph W. Hurst
E-Mail: randy@electricity-today.com

MAGAZINE CIRCULATION/
SUBSCRIPTIONS
Colleen Flaherty
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Jason Praskey
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SALES
Tammy Williams
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tammy@electricity-today.com

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diane@electricity-today.com

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CANADA
218-1885 Clements Road,
Pickering, Ontario L1W 3V4
8 A SNAPSHOT OF THE US MARKET FOR
SMART SOLAR INVERTERS
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U.S.
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Geneva, NY, 14456
Barbara John
315-789-8323
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16 DISTRIBUTED ENERGY POISED
FOR ‘EXPLOSIVE GROWTH’ 20 BUILDING A BETTER WORLD
OF SMART STRUCTURES
ON THE US GRID ON THE SMART GRID

4 | SUMMER 2018 FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com


SUMMER 2018 • VOL. 31 • NO. 3

FEATURES CHANNELS
8 A SNAPSHOT OF THE US MARKET FOR
SMART SOLAR INVERTERS
12 4 BENEFITS OF DISTRIBUTION
AUTOMATION IN A DECENTRALIZED
ENERGY WORLD

16 DISTRIBUTED ENERGY POISED


FOR ‘EXPLOSIVE GROWTH’ 13 HIGH VOLTAGE, INC.
SUMMER NEWSLETTER
ON THE US GRID

22 TRANSFORMING POWER GRIDS


FOR AN EFFICIENT FUTURE
20 BUILDING A BETTER WORLD
OF SMART STRUCTURES
ON THE SMART GRID
26 GRIDS BECOME HIGHLY VULNERABLE

6 ADVERTISER INDEX
27 SIEMENS’ WHITE PAPER OUTLINES
DESIGN FOR MINI-GRIDS TO ENERGIZE
PUERTO RICO

FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com SUMMER 2018 | 5


ADVERTISER INDEX
ADVERTISER PAGE WEBSITE

ABSOPULSE Electronics Ltd. 5 www.absopulse.com

Aero Tec Laboratories (ATL) 6 www.atlinc.com

Brenco 11 www.brenco-inc.com

EasyPower LLC 2 www.easypower.com

Electricity Distributors Association 9 www.eda-connect.ca

High Voltage, Inc. 15 www.hvinc.com

Lineman’s Testing Laboratories (LTL) 1 www.ltlutilitysupply.com

P&R Technologies 13 www.pr-tech.com

Tallman Equipment Co. Inc 3 www.tallmanequipment.com

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FEATURE RENEWABLE ENERGY

A SNAPSHOT OF THE US MARKET FOR


SMART SOLAR INVERTERS

FROM INTERSOLAR, AN UPDATE ON THE MARCH OF ADVANCED INVERTERS


FROM PILOT PROJECT TO REAL-WORLD REQUIREMENTS By: Jeff St. John

A
dvanced solar inverters could be one of INCREASING HOSTING CAPACITY: A WIN-WIN FOR
the biggest distributed energy resource SOLAR AND UTILITIES
communications and control points out there Each of these phases aligns with a different value
someday. With California now requiring at least early- proposition for smart inverters. The first phase is largely
stage “smart” capabilities from all new solar projects — preventative, aimed at solving the kinds of problems that
and a standards road map for next-stage efforts like real- have forced costly upgrades to how inverters operate in
time communications and active controls — this future solar-heavy Germany and Hawaii. 
now has a template.  The key standard in question in the U.S. is IEEE 1547,
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how which sets the rules for what grid-connected DERs must do
smart inverters will be used. to stay safe, such as trip offline when the grid goes down, or
That was the consensus at Intersolar recently, where avoid overloading local transformers or circuits. 
experts discussed the latest developments on the U.S. The old version of the standard, however, had a lot of
smart solar inverter front. After years of pilot projects, multi- restrictive rules on tripping off during relatively common
stakeholder technical working groups, and slow and steady voltage excursions, which could cause real problems on
standards development, solar smart inverters are finally circuits with a lot of solar dropping off all at once. 
starting to hit the market en masse — even if it’s not yet clear Phase 1 implementation of IEEE 1547 is all about
just what will be done with them once they’re installed.  removing these barriers, Salas said. “They need to be stable,
“From the technical perspective, the standards are firm,” they need to be connected, they need to be able to support
Roger Salas, distribution engineering manager for Southern the grid.” 
California Edison, said. In September of last year, his utility This should increase hosting capacity on circuits
started requiring that all new solar installations come with that would have otherwise been constrained by these
“Phase 1” advanced inverter functionality, as defined under unwelcome behaviors, he said. 
the state’s Rule 21.
Later this month, it’s going to start requiring “reactive REACTIVE POWER: WHERE UTILITY AND SOLAR
power priority” for these inverters, and in February 2019, IMPERATIVES COLLIDE
it’s going to start requiring that inverters support the The old versions of IEEE 1547 also didn’t provide rules
communications capabilities described in “Phase 2,” as well for how inverters could use one of their more flexible
as some more advanced “Phase 3” capabilities. capabilities: the ability to inject or absorb reactive power
to mitigate voltage fluctuations, including those that may

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Photo Credit: SolarEdge
The solar and utility industries move to the next phase of smart inverter deployment.

be caused by the PV itself. The new version opens up this THE FUTURE: COMMUNICATIONS, CONTROLS AND DER
capability, which could allow for an active application of INTEGRATION
reactive power to further increase hosting capacity, as well The next stage of smart inverter functionality is establishing
as solve other grid edge challenges for utilities. communications with the utility. After that, utilities will be
But where utilities see opportunity, the solar industry sees able use them to monitor key DER data, or issue disconnect
a threat. Every unit of reactive power comes at the cost of a and reconnect commands in emergencies, as well as
reduction in the real power output of solar inverters — and actively orchestrate other utility devices and systems. 
almost every solar installation out there is paid based on the This last area is where Salas sees the greatest opportunity
real power it produces.  to putting mass-market smart solar inverters to use. “If you
“If you’re tasked to do things that rob your energy sales, want to maximize the DERs and what they can do, the need
that will reduce compensation,” noted Ric O’Connell, information from the grid. And DERs provide operational
executive director of the Oakland, Calif.-based GridLab. “And and capability information to the utility.” 
a lot of systems have third-party owners — the Sunruns, Inverter makers have already been forced by California to
the Teslas —  that have contracts, performance guarantees, enable the latest IEEE 1547 capabilities into their existing
and they want to get those financed. It’s harder to do that if controls systems — but they are clearly embracing the role
there’s uncertainty in the future with curtailment.” that their devices can play on the grid as well. Microinverter
“That’s the bottleneck right now,” said Daniel Munoz- maker Enphase leveraged its work in Hawaii into a grid
Alvarez, a GTM Research grid edge analyst. “As we develop services business, seeking to provide data to utilities where
markets on the retail end for ...volt/VAR control to be they already had a significant number of installations. While
compensated on the grid edge and that is compensated Enphase has since scaled back dramatically, its main rival
back to the customer, then the customer will be more SolarEdge has taken up the same challenge, launching its
willing to allow the utility to control their smart inverters or own grid services arm earlier this summer.
to allow some automation.” Inverters have been technically capable of doing most
But first, he said, “We need some agreed-upon functions.”  of these things for a long time. But utilities and regulators

10 | SUMMER 2018 FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com


“Every unit of reactive power comes at the cost of a reduction in the real power
output of solar inverters — and almost every solar installation out there
is paid based on the real power it produces”

have been waiting for the completion of IEEE 1547 to California still out ahead of the pack. Arizona is the next
move forward decisively. Patrick Dalton, senior engineer most important state, with a high penetration of distributed
for Xcel Energy, said his company’s utilities in Colorado solar, a contentious policy climate surrounding its proper
and Minnesota are still several years away from mandating treatment in future years, and a big smart inverter pilot from
advanced inverter capabilities and are waiting for utility Arizona Public Service to inform stakeholders. 
California’s example in order to choose a path forward. All told, eight separate smart inverter pilots are underway
In the meantime, it’s possible that Xcel’s front-of-meter across eight states at present, according to GTM Research:
volt/VAR optimization investments in Colorado, including Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric in
grid edge devices from startup Varentec, could solve many California; APS and Salt River Project in Arizona; Hawaiian
of the issues that have been addressed by smart inverter Electric in Hawaii; Duke Energy in North Carolina; Con
efforts in Hawaii and California, he noted.  Edison in New York; and a three-state pilot funded by the
The broader landscape for rolling out smart inverters for Department of Energy’s SunShot program and led by the
solar installations hasn’t changed much, with Hawaii and Electric Power Research Institute.

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Brenco_UP_1801 1 1/3/18 9:03 AM


CHANNEL AUTOMATION

4 Benefits of

Distribution Automation
in a Decentralized Energy World

Distribution automation is becoming more important as


electricity systems get flooded with distributed resources
By: GTM Creative Strategies the industry. In the past two years alone, 25 gigawatts of
solar have been installed. Renewable portfolio standards
DISTRIBUTION AUTOMATION: THE BACKBONE OF A have intensified in many states, and are increasingly being
DIGITAL, DISTRIBUTED GRID. backed up by regulatory innovation that encourages
utilities to rethink their business models.

W
hen dozens of utilities received stimulus funds The need for more flexible, resilient grids in the face
for distribution automation projects in 2009, of extreme weather and increasing distributed energy
solar was barely a gigawatt-scale market in the resources has made distribution automation all the more
U.S. Sandy was simply a lead character in Grease, not a critical. DA brings together digital sensors and switches
superstorm that would prompt cities and states to reassess with advanced communication and software to automate
the future-readiness of their electricity systems. activities on the distribution grid, thus providing increased
Much has changed in America’s power sector in the past visibility across the system.
decade. Powerful storms have made resiliency a focus for As utilities are increasingly faced with requirements for

12 | SUMMER 2018 FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com


hosting capacity analyses for distributed resources, DA providing measurable impacts to customers, particularly
has become a fundamental building block for the utility in regions that have been battered by severe storms in
of the future. recent years. Hours-long outages can be cut to minutes
“Getting the right information is key to generate the or eliminated entirely, delivering significant value to C&I
business case,” said Makary Tarnoff, senior director of customers looking for an even higher level of reliability.
strategic marketing at Aclara. SEEK OUT TRUE VISIBILITY
There are a multitude of lessons learned for utilities that Now that more than half the meters in the U.S. are
want to leverage DA to mitigate impacts of distributed digital, utilities have more visibility than ever down their
resources on their systems. “There isn’t a utility I talk to that distribution lines. But just seeing voltage at the end of the
doesn’t see that impact,” said Tarnoff. “Even the smallest line isn’t enough, especially as DERs such as solar proliferate
ones are seeing it.”

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Although DA applications have been
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onto the system in the future.
Some utilities have run into this
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future.”

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on distribution circuits. Now utilities need more granular LEVERAGE PINPOINT ACCURACY
information to feed into control systems like SCADA. With more distributed resources on the system, DA
“The meter only tells the direction of current flow through applications can allow for load control in new ways. For
the single meter,” said Tarnoff. “You need direction of flow example, if electric vehicles create localized capacity
at key locations on the electric grid. Tying that visibility into constraints, distribution automation can moderate that
SCADA is critical.” impact. Tarnoff said some utilities are using DA to trade
Along with visibility, communications with those devices on locational marginal pricing to reduce the need to buy
can help control the power flows. The ability to see and capacity when it is most expensive.
then control distribution circuits allows for more accurate One utility in the Southeast has more than 2 gigawatts
planning of DERs and surgical use of load control to manage of capacity under load control, said Tarnoff, and now it can
intermittency of DERs connected to the grid. manage that capacity in tailored ways, and far more often.
“It’s entirely different than how they were doing load control
before,” he noted. “And they can do it in less than 15 seconds.”

“Now that more than half


the meters in the U.S. are digital,
utilities have more visibility
than ever down their
distribution lines”

14 | SUMMER 2018 FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com


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FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com SUMMER 2018 | 15


Distributed Energy
FEATURE OVERHEAD T&D

Poised for
‘Explosive
Growth’
on the
US Grid

With distributed resources set to double by 2023, GTM Research lays out the
challenges facing U.S. utilities in managing integration. By: Jeff St. John

D
istributed energy resources are poised for “explosive rising share of EV charging. To put that into perspective,
growth” across the United States over the next five “just these five classes could equal together almost as much
years. U.S. utilities “need to change, and are slowly power as [Texas grid operator] ERCOT has registered for its
changing,” how they plan, operate and maintain their bulk generating system,” he said. 
distribution grids to adapt.  “These are not all resources that can be dispatched in
That’s how Ben Kellison, grid edge director at GTM a moment’s notice,” Kellison cautioned. “Many have to be
Research, described the key challenges facing the country’s used in a portfolio approach.” For example, distributed solar,
utilities at this week’s Grid Edge Innovation Summit. which makes up the majority of the DERs to be deployed,
GTM Research has been tracking the rapid growth of generates most of its energy at midday, while typical
rooftop solar, small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) summer peaks occur later in the afternoon. Small-scale CHP
systems, residential smart thermostats, electric vehicles and systems, defined as less than 50 megawatts of generation
behind-the-meter batteries across the U.S. capacity, will run according to the needs of their owners, not
As of 2017, five classes of behind-the-meter DERs necessarily those of the utility.  
— distributed solar, small-scale CHP, residential smart GTM Research also took a conservative approach to
thermostats, electric vehicles and energy storage — valuing individual DERs, depending on their relative
contributed 46.4 gigawatts of impact on the U.S. summer availability and match or mismatch with peak demand.
peak, according to Kellison. That’s not a huge number, For example, it derated the potential reduction capacity
compared to the 769-gigawatt summer peak load reached of the nearly 20 million two-way communicating smart
by the U.S. as a whole in 2016, according to U.S. Energy thermostats deployed in the country to about eight-tenths
Information Administration data. But it’s still a valuable of a kilowatt — less than the 1 to 2 kilowatts often cited as
source of flexibility, if it can be utilized.  the potential load reduction from a residential. 
By 2023, that figure is expected to more than double to GTM then reduced that figure by one-quarter, to
total 104 gigawatts of flexible capacity, Kellison said. That’s account for the need to allow some customers to keep
led by growth in distributed solar, along with a big increase cycling their air conditioners during the hottest days
in the capacity available from smart thermostats, and a of the summer. But even with these reductions, the

16 | SUMMER 2018 FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com


“Utilities aren’t as threatened by the growth of DERs
as they’ve been in the past, at least according to a GTM
survey of utility executives conducted this year”

FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com SUMMER 2018 | 17


country’s smart thermostat fleet still adds up to about 8 waste in the process as well,” Kellison said.
gigawatts, Kellison noted.  As more and more customers invest in DERs, utilities need
Electric vehicles, while fewer in number, contributed to integrate that data into their grid planning, he said. “If
about 2 kilowatts apiece in peak load flexibility, or about you know several customers are going to adopt storage, you
1.6 gigawatts of peak load reduction — if they can be might avert the need for an upgrade by incentivizing those
controlled to stop charging during times of peak demand. customers to upgrade early.”
And behind-the-meter batteries and other forms of energy That’s the fundamental idea behind non-wires
storage added up to only 160 megawatts of capacity, 90 alternatives, or NWAs — a term coined by New York state
percent of it in California, a testament to its early stage of to describe projects that allow utilities to earn some form
adoption and reliance on state incentives.  of return on investing in DERs, many of them behind
Utilities aren’t as threatened by the growth of DERs as the meter, in lieu of infrastructure upgrades. As of the
they’ve been in the past, at least according to a GTM survey fourth quarter of 2017, 19 states had some form of NWA-
of utility executives conducted this year. Only 3 percent type policy either in planning mode or in some stage of
viewed them purely as a threat, while 44 percent labeled completion, accounting for more than 1.7 gigawatts spread
them an opportunity — although, to be fair, 55 percent of across 141 projects. 
respondents chose “both a threat and an opportunity” as Still, New York accounts for nearly half of all projects, and
their answer.  Oregon, Vermont and California account for all but 8 percent
Utilities are also engaging their customers on the of the rest of them, he noted. “Most of the states involved
DER front, at least in some form, Kellison said. are in pilot mode, and it will be several years
More than 100 U.S. utilities have set up before any of these are fully integrated” into
at least a “basic DER marketplace,” he utility planning processes, he said. 
said — some kind of online portal “The biggest GTM Research has a “DER life-cycle
allowing customers to shop for process” to explain how utilities can
energy-efficient appliances and impact of DER will s integrate their legacy customer,
services, and connecting them be in how utilities plan, analytics, operational and asset
with utility rebates and third-party
offers. These programs, offered
invest, operate and management software systems
into those centered on DER
via internally developed utility maintain their integration. “This allows utilities to
portals or by vendors such as EFI, distribution grids “ connect lots of different processes,”
Enervee, PlanetEcosystems or Simple he said. “Customer systems have to
Energy, now cover more than 60 million feed into planning. Planning systems
customers, or about 40 percent of the have to feed into operations. And
country, he said. operations eventually has to feed into O&M,
The biggest impact of DERs will be in how utilities which largely involves utilities doing maintenance
plan, invest, operate and maintain their distribution grids, on their own equipment, but may in the future involve them
Kellison said. According to data GTM Research compiled working more directly with customers.” 
from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Finally, “we’re talking about a lot more data than we’re
country’s largest distribution utilities have continued to used to,” said Kellison. “To get to a point where we can
increase investment in distribution infrastructure, primarily identify and target these resources, we’re going to need
in traditional structures, station equipment, power lines and new platforms,” such as distributed energy resource
transformers.  management systems, which can integrate data from
But these investment plans are largely focused on multiple systems and sources and convert it into actionable
traditional measures of what’s needed to keep the grid intelligence for utilities. 
running, designed to meet worst-case scenarios, and “In some ways, that portion of this evolution is something
predicated on the fact that utilities have until recently had like what we saw in...the late 2000s, when utilities spent
very little data on what’s actually happening on their low- billions to upgrade their GIS technology,” he said. “That same
voltage networks. “That also leads to common oversizing of transformation has to happen in distribution planning and
equipment, by as much as 50 percent, and leads to a lot of operations over the next five to 10 years.”

18 | SUMMER 2018 FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com


“As more and more customers invest
in DERs, utilities need to integrate that
data into their grid planning”

FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com SUMMER 2018 | 19


FEATURE SMART GRID

Building a better world of smart structures


on the smart grid
By: Hussain Kazmi, PhD

I
t is a truth universally acknowledged that billions of can exacerbate the issue.
people around the world live in poverty. But does it have Imagine a grid that is offline for a few hours a day – an
to be that way? Today’s technological progress means that issue that is rather common in villages around the world.
tomorrow we will be able to produce more, more efficiently When such a system goes down, people use their batteries
– lifting people above the breadline with accelerated instead. So far, so good. But unfortunately, as soon as the
economic growth all around the world. grid comes back on, these batteries all start charging.
Key to these efforts are smart buildings. A world of And when there are lots of batteries in a small area,
connected structures, making use of the whole range of this can have a real impact on the network. Grids are
technologies and data to enable efficient energy use, could rarely designed to handle such loads and repeatedly
ease the delivery of healthcare, education and industrial overloading transformers in this way dramatically
production across the developing world. And by leveraging reduces their lifespan – meaning expensive infrastructure
abundant renewable energy sources such as solar, this can costs just to maintain the grid. And for governments with
all be achieved in a sustainable way – without incurring limited budgets this makes it very difficult to invest in
large carbon costs. building something better.
But we are not there yet. The story of smart buildings
in the developing world is still in its first few chapters. To TAKING CHARGE
make sure the tale is a happy one, smart buildings ought to It is apparent therefore that developing nations need
operate on a smart grid. Yet in many developing countries, to take control of their grids. To help flatten out energy
the grid itself is under tremendous pressure. These nations consumption – reducing loads and preventing the spikes in
need to take charge. demand that are holding local power sectors back.
This should start on an individual building level – making
THE BURDEN OF BATTERIES buildings smarter to support the smart grid upon which
A major obstacle standing between developing countries, they will depend. By integrating sensors into these buildings
such as India and Pakistan, and smart grids is intermittent and the appliances within them, both power suppliers
energy supply through the network. And batteries, the and consumers will be able to track and manage energy
traditional solution to such a problem (and indeed a consumption and start matching supply to aggregate
technology that is crucial to building flexible smart grids), demand across the grid throughout the day.

20 | SUMMER 2018 FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com


“Perhaps the biggest difficulty that developing countries
face is in getting the legal framework right to enable a
flexible smart grid and smart buildings.”

This would seem like a complicated calculation. But biggest difficulty that developing countries face is in getting
with machine learning, we can program algorithms to the legal framework right to enable a flexible smart grid and
decipher consumption patterns and predictively allocate smart buildings.
power wherever and whenever it is needed; allowing This is no mean feat. It has taken European governments
governments to focus on developing the infrastructure, years to develop frameworks that take into account the
rather than merely maintaining it. need for secure and flexible power supplies, for privacy and
Indeed, this is the focus of my work at Enervalis with for energy to come at a fair price. And the continent is still
the InnoEnergy PhD School. Working with support from developing its legislation to get it right. It is an ongoing
Enervalis and InnoEnergy’s huge network of contacts, I have process even for the most advanced economies and one
been developing smart controllers that respond to sensor that the developing world cannot expect to rush.
data and optimise the allocation of energy in real-time. And The other element is commercialisation. As with any
things are looking promising; in large scale pilots in the technology, it needs to be commercially viable to catch on.
Netherlands, we have already seen that these algorithms The benefits of smart buildings are clear. So governments
can reduce energy consumption without affecting the should be looking at ways to incentivise the private sector
comfort of building occupants. to start adopting the technology they are made up of.
In fact, the benefits to occupants in developing And they should. Developing nations have a tremendous
economies can be even greater, saving hundreds of opportunity to jump ahead in the energy infrastructure
thousands of households in South Asia up to €50 per year stakes without the encumbrance of existing antiquated
– a huge amount for people in villages where the annual infrastructure to hold them back. Just as Africa’s mobile
household income can be as little as €1,000. internet has emerged free from landline connections.
We are now in the midst of a year-long test of our Smart buildings on the smart grid can have a similarly
technology in Lahore to investigate its potential for transformative effect on people’s lives around the world.
replication, with a view to undertaking a full pilot next year. All that is needed is for governments to make it easy for
companies to implement the latest technological solutions.
INCENTIVES FOR CHANGE Then, perhaps poverty need not be a truth universally
But just having the technology is not enough. It needs to acknowledged.
be implemented. And implemented properly. Perhaps the

FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com SUMMER 2018 | 21


CHANNEL SMART GRID

By: Azeez Mohammed, president & CEO at GE’s Power Conversion business

W
ith a fast-growing global population and LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS
increasing levels of industrialization, demand Creating a future-proof power grid means fusing time-
for electricity is expected to soar 60 percent honored knowledge with forward-thinking technology. For
between now and 2040. That means power grids will be over 100 years, GE electrical engineers have recognized that
called on to transmit more power, more efficiently. And to DC electricity transmission is more efficient than AC. Now,
do so, they’ll have to adapt to an evolving energy landscape. DC is becoming more prominent—both at the beginning
Today’s grid is still structured around transmitting and end of the grid. It’s produced by wind turbines and solar
electricity from a handful of large, centralized power plants PV and used by everything from smartphones, laptops and
running on coal, oil, gas and nuclear. While these will electric cars to the data centers that keep our digital world
continue to dominate the mix for years to come, renewables up and running. However, having to convert back and forth
are increasingly making their presence felt—and are between AC and DC along the way leads to wasted energy
expected to supply a third of global power by 2040. through resistance and heat.
With renewables growth comes an increasingly diverse AC may have won the “War of the Currents”—that raged
distribution network—from remote and offshore generation between the Edison Electric Company (which favored DC
sites to microgrids. All must be brought together to ensure and would become General Electric) and Westinghouse
we continue to have a reliable, resilient power supply. The (which favored AC) in the 1890s—which was due to its
challenge now is that the majority of power grids are made ability to easily step up voltages to the higher levels
up of decades-old infrastructure that’s simply not—yet—up needed to transmit it over long distances and back down
to the task. again for safe usage. But today, new power conversion

22 | SUMMER 2018 FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com


and transmission technology means it’s becoming more efficiently. GE’s MVDC technology is providing a critical
cost-effective to use DC to transmit at higher voltages, with project asset, as it allows for the creation of a more-secure,
less energy losses. It’s the same attractive cost story when higher-capacity grid without the need to overhaul existing
it comes to integrating new, often remote, DC-producing infrastructure or install new power distribution assets.
renewables into the wider grid network. Instead, GE will install MVDC power modules at the two
At GE’s Power Conversion business, we’re developing the existing substations in Bangor and Llanfair PG, where the
use of DC to enable more efficient power transmission to AC to DC conversion will be performed. GE’s MV7000 power
and from remote areas—both onshore and offshore. electronic inverters will transmit the power via the existing
  33-kilovolt AC overhead line and cable circuit, increasing
STRENGTHENING ANGLESEY’S POWER SUPPLY Anglesey’s available power by 23 percent to meet its future
 At GE’s Power Conversion business, we are delivering needs without additional environmental impact. What’s
Europe’s very first medium-voltage direct current (MVDC) more, the DC equipment will assist in the provision of
link as part of Scottish Power Energy Network’s Angle DC further grid support, as the inverters are able to support the
project in Anglesey and surrounding North Wales area. A AC voltage at each substation.
growing demand for electricity in the region, combined This MVDC technology works in much the same way as our
with increasing volumes of renewable generation, is high-voltage direct current (HVDC) projects, but on a smaller
putting the existing 33-kilovolt AC links between the isle of and simpler scale. For example, a comparable HVDC system
Anglesey and the Welsh mainland under strain. would operate at 320-400 kilovolts DC, whereas the Angle DC
Converting the existing AC connection to MVDC could project will operate at 27 kilovolts DC—demonstrating how
help it to carry more than twice the power and do so more this technology can be scaled to fit a variety of customer needs.

FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com SUMMER 2018 | 23


LOWERING THE COST OF OFFSHORE POWER GREATER GRID CONTROL THROUGH DATA-DRIVEN
From wind turbines stationed far out at sea to solar farms INSIGHTS
in inhospitable deserts, renewable generation networks To drive further efficiency across the power grid, GE can also
are often found in hard-to-reach places. Getting the power offer VISOR 2.0*, an asset management tool that provides
generated to a centralized grid via AC can waste energy and remote connectivity to key assets. This not only enables
keep renewable electricity costs higher than they need to be. an improved service response time, but also access to real-
Now, similar technology behind the MV7000 converters time support and advice in the event of a fault or problem.
used for Angle DC has also been successfully trialed for use By pairing this tool with Data Historian, which collects,
in remote power networks. Our PassiveBoost* solution will processes and stores data, customers can more easily
enable DC power transmission, opening up the potential to review the capabilities of their MVDC system. Its ability to
boost electrical output from these remote sites while also capture and analyze data about asset performance means
reducing power costs. customers can then develop optimum control algorithms
PassiveBoost is an MVDC converter which provides a for the distribution system, helping to ensure the grid is
straight replacement, with the same footprint and volume, always functioning as effectively as possible.
for the AC transformer inside every wind turbine. This helps As electrification within all industries gathers pace and
to facilitate a direct connection to an efficient MVDC power the burden on existing energy distribution networks
collection grid, resulting in a lower cable cost and no need increases, we’re ready to put our expertise into
for an expensive and complex DC breaker. A 6 megavolt- action where it’s most needed.
ampere converter was designed and tested at GE’s power
test facility in the U.K. There, it successfully demonstrated *indicates a trademark of
the General Electric
the capability of generation, distribution and protection Company and/or its
at MVDC, highlighting efficiency levels that could bring subsidiaries.
a 15 percent cost saving for offshore wind electricity by
significant reductions in component count, cabling costs
and removal of need for offshore platforms.
 

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CHANNEL SMART GRID

GRIDS BECOME
HIGHLY VULNERABLE
By: IDTechEx

I
ncreasingly violent weather, probably caused by 2016. ISSC linked it to a winter hack and blackout in 2015.
global warming, is increasingly taking down electricity President Poroshenko says Russia is waging a cyber-war
distribution lines and poles and cyberattacks are against Ukraine: criminal groups work together testing
increasingly taking out electricity, apparently just as trials techniques for sabotage wordwide. “The investigation of
for major terrorism of this sort. Little wonder that the price a number of incidents indicated the complicity directly or
of grid electricity is so often rising, further aggravated by indirectly of Russian security services.”
the chronic intermittency of solar and wind power being U.S. officials note Russian hackers targeting the U.S.
added to save the planet. In countries such as the USA, the energy grid as part of penetrating the economy. “Since
trillions of dollars needed to maintain and upgrade the at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors …
national grid do not seem to be forthcoming but help is at targeted government entities and multiple U.S. critical
hand from micro and minigrids. These tend to be attached infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, com-
to grids but capable of working independently. As a next mercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufactur-
stage most of them will not even be attached to grids. ing sectors,” announced the Department of Homeland
We are starting to purchase self-powered cars, boats Security and the FBI.
and aircraft and solar windows and there are 110 solar Energy Secretary Rick Perry warns, “Cyberattacks are
road projects. Some cities already have water turbines literally happening hundreds of thousands of times a day.”
making electricity in their water supply pipes. That is all Bloomberg reports the group responsible breaches systems
zero emission and the change is extending to replacing to facilitate a more advanced wave of attacks targeting
cooking, air conditioning and heating by fossil fuels industrial control systems that, if disabled, leave millions
with locally generated solar, wind and water power. See without power or water.
the IDTechEx Research reports, “Distributed Generation: Lloyd’s and the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Risk
Minigrid Microgrid Zero Emission 2018-2038”, “Self- Studies calculate that a major attack on the US grid could
Powering Smart Cities 2018-2028” and “Structural cost the economy up to $1 trillion, equivalent to 40 to 50
Electronics 2018-2028: Applications, Technologies, major hurricanes.
Forecasts”. A new and welcome development is tidal and Nathan Sproul, Lincoln Strategy Group, warns, “At the
wave power now on sale without infrastructure like dams same time, the electrical grid is becoming less reliable
and tidal barriers, the tidal form even being suitable for and less prudent—and not just because of vulnerability
rivers. Often these compact units are mobile. See the to hacking. As innovation spurs the development of
IDTechEx Research report, “Wave, Tidal and Hydro Power renewable energy in America, consumers have more choice
1W-10MW 2018-2038”. In all cases you can make electricity in how they power their lives than ever before. The rise of
where you use it without the vulnerability of long power distributed energy sources like solar panels, home batteries
lines over the horizon or internet or grid connection.  and electric vehicles has some questioning whether we
A cyberattack took down power in Kiev, December ought to reimagine the grid all together”.

26 | SUMMER 2018 FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com


CHANNEL SMART GRID

Siemens’ White Paper Outlines Design for Mini-Grids


to Energize Puerto Rico By: Kara Evanko

S
iemens proposes 10 mini-grids that will cover most reliance on one central power source, and, shorten the
of Puerto Rico and will be designed to enhance duration of any outages and minimize emergency power
resiliency to withstand or recover quickly from future restoration costs brought about by natural disasters.”
natural disasters. Following Hurricane Sandy, Siemens developed mobile
Design enhances reliance on renewables and exceeds the resilience transformers in collaboration with ConEdison
established renewables penetration goal by 15 percent.   to provide maximum grid resiliency. In Chicago, Siemens
Today, Siemens released its white paper, “Resilient by works with Commonwealth Edison where it will manage its
Design: Enhanced Reliability and Resiliency for Puerto Rico’s Bronzeville micro-grid. The solution will enable the Chicago
Electric Grid,” which outlines a new energy infrastructure Police Department to maintain operations during any
framework in the wake of last year’s Hurricane Maria. The emergency situations that impacts power-grid operations.
storm devastated the island, leaving 1.2 million households  
or 75 percent of those on the island without power for more ABOUT SIEMENS
than a month. Now, nearly a year after the hurricane, the Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a
island is redesigning its power infrastructure with the vision global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification,
of providing a more resilient, cleaner system that will provide automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest
reliable power to residents and businesses.   producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies,
The white paper outlines an innovative approach to a Siemens is a leading supplier of systems for power
distributed energy system (DES). A series of 10 mini-grids generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis.
throughout the island will incorporate and enhance existing With approximately 372,000 employees in 190 countries,
energy infrastructure. The mini-grid solution incorporates Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $92.0 billion in
energy storage, renewables, and existing conventional fiscal 2017. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $23.3
infrastructure that will operate both connected to the grid billion, including $5.0 billion in exports, and employs
as well as in island-mode in case of natural disasters. approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and
“The proposed mini-grids leverage existing infrastructure Puerto Rico.
and act as “islands”-within-the-island – to improve resilience  
during natural disasters – or can be interconnected to ABOUT SIEMENS GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGIES
sustain the full Puerto Rico island community during normal Siemens Government Technologies is the integrator of
operations. One mini-grid could encompass the entire San Siemens’ innovative products, technologies and services
Juan region, for example,” stated Alan Bloodgood, Senior for programs and requirements led by federal government
Vice President of Energy and Infrastructure of Siemens agencies and departments in the areas of energy generation,
Government Technologies, Inc. “This approach is tailored to transmission, distribution and efficiency, infrastructure
meet Puerto Rico’s specific needs and would optimize a wide modernization, industrial applications and integrated electric
array of resilient energy infrastructure options by lessening power solutions for the air, land and sea domains.

FREE Subscription: www.electricity-today.com SUMMER 2018 | 27


FALL 2018 Electricity Forum
Training Institute

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MV/HV ELECTRICAL
CABLE TESTING AND
SPLICING COMMISSIONING
This electrical testing and
Our 1-day Hands-On commissioning training
cable splicing training course covers practices
course teaches students and procedures that are
the basics of proper essential to the safe start-
splices and terminations in up of any electrical system
medium voltage cable. for the first time, regardless
There are two things of its size type or industry.
you should remember Electrical Testing and Commissioning is a very special
when it comes to cable splicing and terminating: Proper occurrence and poses some unique challenges to electrical
splices and terminations are an integral part of any cable personnel. Inexperience and poor planning will inevitably
system, and 2. Cable splices and terminations become result in prolonged delays in the start-up which can lead to
more susceptible to failure at higher voltages. costly productivity losses. This course provides invaluable
Therefore, whether splicing or terminating is done by information to anyone who wishes to know and understand
the use of hand-applied tapes, a filled or molded device, the role of Electrical testing, troubleshooting and
heat-shrinkable tubing, or a prefabricated device, care commissioning of electric power systems.
should be exercised during the application. Learn how.
November 1-2, 2018 | Mississauga, ON
November 2, 2018 | Winnipeg, MB November 19-20,2018 | Ottawa, ON
November 7, 2018 | Edmonton, AB November 26-27, 2018 | Winnipeg, MB
November 16, 2018 | Mississauga, ON November 28-29, 2018 | Edmonton, AB
December 3-4, 2018 | Richmond, BC
Students receive Students receive
• Our latest Digital Electric Motor and VFD Handbook • Our latest Digital Electrical Maintenance Handbook
• $100 Coupon Towards any Future Electricity Forum • $100 Coupon Towards any Future Electricity Forum
Event (Restrictions Apply) Event (Restrictions Apply)
• 1.4 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Credits • 1.4 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Credits
• FREE Magazine Subscription • FREE Magazine Subscription
• Course Materials in Paper Format • Forum Presentation Materials in Paper Format

www.electricityforum.com/electrical-training/medium-voltage-cable-splicing www.electricityforum.com/electrical-training/electrical-testing-and-commissioning

$499 $799
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Electricity Forum
Training Institute 2018 ELECTRICAL TRAINING
COURSE SCHEDULE
Register and prepay 14 days before forum date and receive an early bird discount
of $50.00 off the full 1-Day course price, $100 off the full 2-Day course price. WAYS TO REGISTER
SPECIAL PROMOTION: Register 3 delegates at full price, and get a 4th
registration FREE!
* Note: The Electricity Forum is an independent provider of electrical safety training
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Electricity Forum reserves the right to cancel any conference it deems necessary and electrical-training/courses
will, in such event, make a full refund of the registration fees.

ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION
GROUNDING SYSTEM
AND BONDING PROTECTION
This 2-day Grounding and
Bonding Training course is
ENGINEERING
founded on the latest changes Refresh your knowledge of
to the 2018 CE Code and is the industrial and utility system
designed to give you the correct protection techniques including
information you need to design, fault analysis and overvoltage
install and maintain effective assessment. Develop your own
electrical grounding systems in industrial, commercial and institutional relay settings and thoroughly understand the philosophy of protective
power systems. One of the most important AND least understood systems. Study actual cases illustrating various techniques in present
sections of the CE Code is the section on Electrical Grounding. use and highlighting particular approaches used by experienced system
It has been determined that more than 70 per cent of all electrical designers. Enhance your experience with power system protection
problems in industrial power systems are due to poor grounding, problems generally faced, and solutions successfully adopted, by industry.
and bonding errors. Without proper electrical grounding, sensitive Understand how to apply microprocessor-based multifunction relays for
electronic equipment is subjected to catastrophic damage. the protection of various power system equipment and apparatus.
September 26-27 , 2018 | Richmond, BC
October 1-2 , 2018 | Edmonton, AB November 27-28 , 2018 | Toronto, ON
October 9-10 , 2018 | Saskatoon, SK November 29-30 , 2018 | Winnipeg, MB
October 11-12 , 2018 | Winnipeg, MB December 11-12 , 2018 | Richmond, BC
October 15-16 , 2018 | Toronto, ON December 13-14 , 2018 | Calgary, AB
Students receive Students receive
• Our latest Digital PQ/Grounding Digital Handbook • Our latest Electrical Protection Digital Handbook
• $100 Coupon Towards any Future Electricity Forum Event • $100 Coupon Towards Any Future Electricity Forum Event
(Restrictions Apply) (Restrictions Apply)
• 1.4 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Credits • 1.4 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Credits
• FREE Magazine Subscription • FREE Magazine Subscription
• Forum Presentation Materials in Paper Format • Course Materials In Paper Format

www.electricityforum.com/electrical-training/grounding-and-bonding-training www.electricityforum.com/electrical-training/distribution-protection

$799 $799
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EMERGENCY GENERATORS will learn what you can do, and should do with standby electrical generators

AND STANDBY POWER SYSTEMS and emergency power generation systems, to make sure your facility will keep
running even if the electricity to your plant doesn’t.
This 2-day emergency generator/standby power system
October 15-16, 2018 | Richmond, BC
training course is designed to assist organizations to identify

$799
the many savings to be gained from proper UPS system design. October 17-18, 2018 | Edmonton, AB
From portable electrical generators to standby power December 10-11, 2018 | Mississauga, ON 2-DAY
cogeneration units - from the facility manager to the December 12-13, 2018 | Winnipeg, MB COURSE
maintenance technician - this backup power generation course
is designed for anyone involved with electrical generation
equipment in their plant or facility. During this course, you www.electricityforum.com/electrical-training/emergency-generator-standby-power