Presenters at the inaugural GridWise Global Forum in Washington, D.C., September 21 to 23 had a lot to say about the prospects for smarter grids. This synopsis of facts and opinions shared at the event, which attracted several smart grid A-listers, looks at the major challenges ahead, especially for the U.S.
The University of California, San Diego has been accumulating awards for its savvy use of a constellation of power generation and energy-saving technologies. The campus already controls a fully functioning microgrid—including a cogeneration plant—and, as befits a research institution, is constantly looking for new ways to make its energy system smarter. This “living laboratory,” as campus leaders like to call it, demonstrates what it takes to build a smarter grid and why the effort is worth it.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has finalized its initial set of smart grid cyber security guidelines. NIST’s Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security (NISTIR 7628) includes high-level security requirements, a framework for assessing risks, an evaluation of privacy issues in personal residences, and other information for organizations to use as they craft strategies to protect the modernizing power grid from attacks, malicious code, cascading errors, and other threats, according to NIST’s press release.
This summary of results from a recent Platts/Capgemini survey of North American utility executives looks at what respondents had to say about all things related to the smart grid. Nearly half of respondents’ utilities have a smart grid strategy in place, while the other half said their utility has one in development.
The National Security Agency is launching a program to protect the grid from cyber attack, along with other civilian and military critical infrastructure, while a new Department of Energy report highlights grid vulnerabilities.
As state regulators examine whether the smart grid benefits consumers, a federal agency is looking at what information consumers need to take advantage of the technology.
Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last week denied a request by Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) to extend pilot testing for its advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project to 5,000 more smart meter because of cost concerns. The move poses a major hurdle for the utility’s overall smart grid initiative.
Now that U.S. utilities have taken federal stimulus funds and seamlessly built out two-way advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) connecting utility control centers and end users (ok, not completely, but let’s assume that the “stall-ulus” becomes a true stimulus), the question becomes, what’s next? At the moment, this new “comm layer” or “platform” has utilities planning in two directions: upstream and downstream from the smart meters.
There is no doubt that the year-plus since passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) has borne witness to a great deal of activity among the diverse groups of smart grid stakeholders.
How much will a smart grid cost? It’s a question that has gained importance in light of massive cost overruns for one highly touted U.S. project.