Last month the entire island of Puerto Rico experienced a multi-day electrical blackout. Experts say a blackout of this type of magnitude has been brewing for a long time and is the result of an unstable electrical grid and a utility in financial crisis. A fire at a power plant, which led to multiple generator…Read More
California’s Utility Collaboration Will Gather Information to Test Grid Security, Details Remain Unclear
The three largest California investor-owned utility companies: PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E have joined together with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to address cybersecurity and grid integration in a project called, California Energy Systems for the 21st Century (CES-21). It plans to use the most advanced analytic tools to create a new methodology for cybersecurity…Read More
In April, Commissioner Florio of the California Public Utilities Commission introduced a draft regulatory incentive proposal that seeks to keep the shareholder value steady for investor-owned utilities (IOUs), all while investing in distributed energy resources (DERs). This is revolutionary in that most California regulators know that IOUs currently stand to lose money when they choose…Read More
Microgrids are a small and focused energy system that provides stable service within a certain area when the primary source of power is unavailable. Universities, hospitals, military bases, are all part of communities that have historically relied on microgrids. SolarCity, a company that has primarily focused on solar panels, is exploring utilizing Telsa Motor batteries…Read More
Over at the Lexington Institute, a new report focuses on the need for laws and policies governing electricity must keep pace with new technology and markets. The analysis includes case studies in energy storage, microgrids and cybersecurity. From the introduction: “As our daily functions increasingly integrate technology (or are immersed in them entirely), Americans have…Read More
Almost everyone from across the political spectrum can agree on at least this one thing: the nation’s electric power grid must be made more resilient. The grid has so many vulnerabilities and problems that there is something for almost anyone to latch onto, regardless of area of interest or political perspective. National security experts point…Read More
Wind energy and other renewable energy sources are continuing to expand and make developmental improvements as written about previously. But along with these advancements, there are formidable challenges standing in the way of utility companies embracing renewable power. One of the biggest of these is the intermittency of renewable power and absence of cost-effective ways to store excess generated electricity.
Case in point – the Kingdom Community Wind farm on Lowell Mountain in Vermont. The recently opened farm boasts 21 turbines and has a generating capacity of 63 MW. However, on several instances it has been held at as low as one-third of its capacity by the grid system operators simply because the current grid cannot handle the amount of electricity being produced. This process of holding off excess power, called curtailment,Read More
With the 2013 hurricane season in its second month, the impacted areas of New York and New Jersey have continued to make remarkable progress in their rebuilding and recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy. Now a number of initiatives are underway that are hoped to improve the power grid’s resilience, and also limit the damage from power loss for any future major weather events. But the costs utilities are asking customers to shoulder for the modernizations and upgrades have become a significant issue in approval proceedings.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a new series of collaborations, including between local authorities and utilities to address more resilient electric transmission systems. Utility ConEdison has a program underway in Westchester County that includes installing hundreds of “smart switches” and thousands of isolation devices to limit power loss, burying some 30 miles of overhead power lines underground, and installing hundreds of new network transformers.
Flooding of substations during Sandy was a major reason for the extended power outagesRead More
A new mathematical model for synchronizing elements of the nation’s electric power grid would increase its ability to withstand and recover from major power interruptions, according to an article by a team of Northwestern University researchers published in the March 2013 issue of the journal Nature Physics.
When implemented, the authors argue that the model would allow the power grid to restore and synchronize automatically, avoiding or shortening outages and in doing so ultimately save billions of dollars. Currently, interventions to synchronize power generators across the grid’s different elements, and restore electric service, require activating control devices reactively.Read More