Archive: Business

Digital technology spawns need for configuration management

Documenting changes to the distributed control system and other digital plant applications should be considered a critical element of managing risk—and of safe, efficient daily operations and maintenance. Coming up with a practical configuration management approach, though, isn’t easy.

Woods and power company CEOs agree: “The state of the industry is cautious”

It is rare indeed to witness, at an otherwise staid industry forum, the public rebuke of the country’s most prominent supplier to the electric power industry. But at the Keynote session and Power Industry CEO Roundtable of the 2008 ELECTRIC POWER Conference & Exhibition in Baltimore this May, Milton Lee, general manager and CEO of […]

Generation next: Strategies for recruiting younger workers

In our April 2008 issue, the article “The aging workforce: Panic is not a strategy” focused on how to reconfigure human resource practices in order to find enough well-trained new personnel to replace the large number of baby boomers who will be retiring in the next few years. This month we profile several utilities that are using innovative approaches to recruit younger technical staff and skilled craft labor to fill positions being vacated in growing numbers by retiring employees.

Assessing and addressing cyber threats to control systems

Control systems used by utilities and other operators of America’s industrial infrastructure increasingly rely on an Internet connection that makes them as vulnerable to hackers as any computer or network. One reason many utility control systems are vulnerable is that, unlike your ISP’s systems, they don’t record an audit trail that reveals the source of the attack.

Microgrids promise improved power quality and reliability

Last month, POWER explored the growing importance of the smart grid, which is envisioned as using digital technologies to enable integrated, real-time control of all the system’s elements, from generation to end use. This month we focus on the emerging technology of microgrids: controlled groupings of dispersed generation sources that are connected to the main electrical grid but that can function independent of it. We examine their benefits and their potential impact on 21st-century utilities and their customers.

The green trade-off

By Steven F. Greenwald and Jeffrey P. Gray These should be good times for environmentalists who focus on “green” energy policy. More than half the U.S. states have adopted renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that require utilities to meet specific renewable generation targets, and many are considering additional actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Such […]

Boulder to be first “Smart Grid City”

The next-generation power grid—enhanced by digital technologies throughout the network to give generators, distributors, and customers greater control—promises to improve efficiency and lower operating costs. This year, in the most full-scale effort yet, Xcel Energy begins introducing intelligent grid technologies that it hopes will make Boulder, Colo., the first Smart Grid City.

Why RPS programs may raise renewable energy prices

Until very recently, common wisdom held that the price of renewable energy would fall as legislative procurement mandates ensured its long-term demand. The resulting growth in supply and sales would spur investment in the field, create economies of scale, and accelerate progress down the technology learning curve. Something unexpected, however, happened along the way. Though […]

Global Monitor (May 2008)

National Grid divested of Ravenswood/ GE to sell Baglan Bay plant; From prairie grass to power/Renewables experience 40% growth/ The sustainable city/Solar recharger for developing countries/ Seeking CCS solutions/ Hoover Dam could stop generating/ Japan turns to fossil fuels/U.S. reactors produce record power/ POWER digest