Sunday, October 18, 2009

Smart Grid - Why utilities don't participate in Smart Grid initiative?

There are many utility experts that don’t see the benefits of Smart Grid initiative. As consequence, we might get into new high tech bubble situation. Without utilities’ participation the stimulus and other money might not be spent wisely.

Last week, I have heard one of local (Alberta) utilities’ VP saying that AMI investment can not be justified. Those smart meters (AMI) for residential market for example are going to be obsolete in 5-7 years, while financial calculations for those equipment amortisation through energy saving are based on 30 years.

On the other hand, US DOE consultants are saying that each percent of T&D system efficiency improvement means billions dollars in savings. The DOE claims that cost of outage is $500 per capita per year in the USA and probably in Canada as well. Now, it seems to me, that the utilities don’t see the situation the same way as the others.

Now, the question is “why?” Why the utilities are not motivated to participate in Smart Grid initiative? Is it because the cost of outage is much bigger for the end user of energy (mostly commercial and industrial), compared to utilities’ cost of “energy not delivered” during outage? Is it because the AMI is dominant focus in Smart Grid initiative, instead of focusing on substation automation and integration?


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Smart Grid (SG) – Substation Integration Benefits

By: Dalibor Kladar (

The intelligence of power system (PS) is concentrated in HW/SW products for substation automation and integration. Those products common name is - Intelligent Electronic Devices (IED). The IED is the ‘building block’ of SG*.

The IED data should be combined, transferred, analyzed, reported, stored and accessed in real time by many applications - ranging from individual IED applications to system-wide disturbance analysis applications. Those applications serve the following users:
· operators,
· maintenance crews,
· protection engineers,
· engineering groups,
· planners,
· business decision makers etc.

The IED data integration is done automatically. The reports of automated data analysis and system models are adjusted to serve those various users at the substation and control center levels.


The IED data integration provide following benefits:

· improves the quality of service and customer relationship by responding to the PS interruptions promptly;

· increases the operator’s ability to monitor and control the PS during normal, abnormal, and emergency conditions by providing reliable and appropriate real-time data;

· expands PS efficiency by helping to reduce losses;

· assists maintenance and protection crews by offering more reliable, meaningful, and timely records of the operating history;

· improves PS analysis and planning by providing increased access to past and current operations data and applications;

*Transmission Management System (TMS), Distribution Management System (DMS), Energy Management System (EMS), Outage Management System (OMS), Generation Management System (GMS), Distributed Renewable Generation (DRG).

The Smart Grid (SG)—Avoiding the High Tech Bubble

By Dalibor Kladar (

Recently, there’s been an increased ‘buzz’ surrounding the SG Infrastructure and what it means to the better management of energy. The rise in white papers from numerous sources, including the world’s largest professional organization -the IEEE (General Meeting, Calgary 2009)- has become more and more prevalent.

Very significant increased funding in SG projects is taking place. The U.S. Department of Energy, the Canadian and Alberta governments, and countries around the globe are providing financial support, seeing the benefits from SG technologies.

However, there are professionals who have concerns that the rush to get those funding will create another high tech bubble.

Firm Objectives, SMART Goals, Subject Matter Experts

The SG initiative sounds clear—to make energy generation, transmission, distribution and usage more efficient and reliable with a decreased impact on the environment. Everyone from operators, maintenance, protection & security personnel to engineers, planners, business decision makers and consumers all will use the SG.

To avoid high tech bubble the SG project should have firm objectives and SMART goals:
S-Specific- Obvious reference to the objectives.
M-Measurable- Measuring it means having the ability to control it.
A- Achievable- Project expectations need to be realistic.
R-Relevant- All objectives need to be referenced.
T- Times- Each goal should have a deadline.

Last but not least, a great attention has to be paid on structure of the project team. The well established subject matter experts related to project objectives must be included.