Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Smart Grid: It’s the IIoT of the Power Sector (Part 2)

SG IIoT Logo Powerpoint 10.12.15Part 2: The SG Is the First and the Largest Implementation of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Dom Geraghty

Excerpts from Part 2 of “The SG National Necessity Series

  • The IIoT refers to the integration of complex physical machinery with networked intelligent sensors and software -- it draws together fields such as machine learning, big data, machine-to-machine communication and cyber-physical systems to ingest data from machines, analyze it (often in real-time), and use it to adjust operations
  • The goals of the SG and the IIoT are the same -- to create automated, interconnected, intelligent networks
  • The SG is the first IIoT and unique within the IIoT because it spans an entire industrial sector – electric power generation, delivery, and end-use
  • We are in the midst of a transition from traditional Operating Technology (OT) to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology manifested by intelligent automation and control systems with real-time capabilities -- for several decades, industrial control and automation have increasingly consisted of project-specific systems that used such technology as wireless asset identification, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, intelligent sub-systems, advanced sensors, wireless communications and/or other IIoT elements -- examples of these systems in the context of SG applications are discussed
  • As we transition from an OT perspective to the IIoT, we need to think differently about how we manage the electric grid. Examples of new applications which the IIoT can support to address the emerging needs of the power sector include:
    • Delivery of highly granular situational awareness data simultaneously to multiple SG applications
    • Conversion from point-to-point, client/server, publish/subscribe, queuing architectures to data-centric architectures, e.g., DDS
    • Substitution of closed solution approaches by iteratively convergent methodologies leveraging high-performance computing
    • Development of advanced control algorithms with co-optimization functionality
    • Delivery of system-wide, nodal  synchronized measurements across all voltage levels
  • The SG is also the largest IIoT implementation, both physically (nation-wide) and financially (a $2.1 trillion investment) - this represents an immense business opportunity – the power sector is one of the most capital-intensive, highest operating leverage sectors of the economy
  • Creating the SG IIoT is an enormous technical challenge – it involves transitioning a huge, interconnected, pulsing, sentient synchronous network that must continuously remain in dynamic equilibrium – its reactions to stimuli obey the implacable laws of physics
  • Examples of this interconnectedness in action in the electric power grid include:
    • In November 2006, the European grid collapsed into three separate domains that were thousands of kilometers apart as phase angles sharply separated between the north, south and east due to insufficient inter-transmission service operator coordination and non-fulfilment of an N-1 contingency criterion
    • The proven ability of a simple 120-volt wall socket in a University of Austin building to sense disturbances in the ERCOT grid caused by the outage of a electricity generator over 350 miles away
  • It will take 25 - 30 years to achieve something close to the SG IIoT

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.

        -Alan Turing, 1912 - 1954

There is geometry in the humming of the strings; there is music in the spacing of the spheres.”

        -Pythagoras, 569 B.C. – 500 B.C.

As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.

The Smart Grid: A National Necessity (Part 1)


SG IIoT Logo Powerpoint 10.12.15Part 1: “Real-World” Situational Analysis for a Smart Grid (SG) Transition

Dom Geraghty

Excerpts from Part 1 of "The SG National Necessity Series"

  • New energy and regulatory policy initiatives, especially the mandate to increase the percentage of renewable generation, are creating unintended reliability and cost-of-service consequences for the power grid that must be addressed – a list of the most important initiatives is presented and their impacts discussed
  • Aging electricity infrastructure threatens service reliability – replacement cost estimated to be in the region of $1.7 trillion over the next two decades
  • Implementation of the SG is necessary to address these two challenges, at an estimated cost of $400 billion over the same period
  • SG infrastructure can substantially offset the total $2.1 trillion cost with operating and capital cost savings -- a broad-based regulatory incentive framework, coupled with the elimination of current regulatory disincentives, would be an important catalyst in achieving these savings -- it  is even conceivable that the operating and capital cost savings that the SG generates could pay for the replacement of aging infrastructure (see Part 5)
  • To address the unintended undesirable outcomes resulting from the new policy initiatives, we need to move from the current “nice to have” improvements created by selective use of SG applications to a “need to have” broadly-based, cyber-secure SG
  • More granular grid situational awareness is the first, prerequisite step in the transition to the SG -- especially awareness of the traditionally sparsely-monitored distribution system and behind-the-meter operations - we must move beyond static optimal power flow models
  • Today, SG applications are delivering sensing, monitoring, and diagnosis – collectively, situational awareness, and also some control functionality -- as we increase our understanding of operations of the newly-configured grid, and develop more sophisticated algorithms, we will progress to automation, and ultimately to optimization of the grid’s operations
  • Some of the required SG technology is already commercial, e.g., high accuracy sensing, wide-spectrum capture, very low noise floors, miniaturized high-performance processing, low-latency communications links; some technology needs to be developed and/or demonstrated in the field, e.g., advanced control and optimization algorithms
  • Still, lags in enabling regulatory incentive policies are inhibiting the transition to the SG
  • National power sector goals are proposed that provide meaningful metrics and motivation for the transition to the SG, including, for example, targeting SAIDI at 60 – 70 minutes (4 x 9s is equivalent to 53 minutes), and improving asset utilization percentage by five percentage points

"Human, All Too Human"

           -Friedrich Nietzsche, 1878

“It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the seed of his highest hope…What is great in man is that he is a bridge, and not an end; what can be loved in man is that he is an overture…

Look here my brothers! Do you not see it, the rainbow and the bridges of the Übermensch?”

            -“Thus Spake Zarathustra”, Friedrich Nietzsche, 1885

As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.