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.

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