POWER [May 1, 2016]

Cover Stories

Evolving Roles for the Grid and Generation

It’s not being overly dramatic to say that the power industry is at its biggest inflection point to date. Even ignoring the effects of environmental regulations and (in North America, at least) cheap natural

How Are Distributed Energy Resources Affecting Transmission System Operators?

What are distributed energy resources (DERs)? For many people, rooftop solar is the first thing that comes to mind, but when you ask that question of an independent system operator (ISO)—the folks who

Practical Considerations for Siting Utility-Scale Battery Projects

Getting the most cost-effective use out of a battery storage system isn’t just a matter of plug-and-play. Where and how you site a battery can make a big difference in…

U.S. Microgrid Market Development

Microgrids have been around for decades, but today, more potential customers, owners, technologies, and vendors than ever are part of the market. Increased interest in this special grid resource means…


Are Open System Controls Coming to Power Plants?

In the information technology world, open-source platforms and software, as an alternative to proprietary ones, have long been commonly accepted. In process controls, not so much. That could be changing…

Digital Control System Upgrade Gives Hydropower Plant New Life

Upgrading automation systems can often extend the life of power generation facilities by decades while reducing downtime, improving operations, and reducing required maintenance. The Maggotty plant in Jamaica offers one…

Dominion Resources Broadens Its Reach

Dominion Resources, a large electric and gas utility holding company serving mostly Virginia and North Carolina, has big ambitions to spread its wings nationally and internationally in gas, while carefully…

The Importance of Including Balance-of-Plant Systems in Condenser Maintenance

Keeping a power plant’s surface condenser in proper working order requires paying attention to balance-of-plant systems as well. Failure to monitor and maintain cooling towers and vacuum pumps in particular…

Why Power Generators Can't Ignore the Ukraine Cyberattack

Although the December attack on Ukraine’s power infrastructure mostly affected the distribution grid, generators are just as vulnerable to cyberattack, in part because they tend to rely more on outside…



Thriving During the Energy System Transition

Today’s energy system is ripe for disruption. Whoever designs the next generation of energy systems will own the platforms that will enable tomorrow’s products and lock in the emerging consumer…

Legal & Regulatory

States Must Ensure DERs Are Not Caught in a Regulatory Web of Their Own Making

States across the U.S. have begun to commit themselves to expanding the reach of distributed energy resources (DERs), primarily rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV), throughout their communities. In particular

Focus on O&M

Battery-Monitoring System Improves Safety, Reliability, and Efficiency

When management decided to purchase and install a new, vented lead-acid battery system at the Dogwood power plant, decision-makers also investigated the benefits of adding a continuous battery-monitoring

Core Shroud Head Bolt Retainer Tool Saves BWRs Time and Money

A new tool that can be used to help ensure the proper positioning of core shroud head bolt assemblies in boiling water reactors (BWRs) was recently invented by Jason Cocke, engineering, tooling, and logistics

Global Monitor

A Breakthrough Carbon-Capturing Algae Project

A research photobioreactor designed to capture significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plant flue gas for high-density algae cultivation is showing promise. The bioreactor patented by California-based algal…

A Supercritical CO2–Cooled Small Modular Reactor

A small modular reactor (SMR) system that uses a supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) Brayton cycle instead of the steam Rankine cycle is under development at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and

German Companies Hope to Take Energiewende to Iran

Taking full advantage of the international political thaw with Iran, Germany has begun working closely with the fossil fuel–rich nation to develop renewable energy strategies based on the successes and…

Malaysia Commissions 1-GW Ultrasupercritical Coal Plant

Malaysia, a country that has historically depended on oil and natural gas for energy, put online a $1.67 billion ultrasupercritical coal-fired power plant this March. Malaysian firm Malakoff Corp.’s giant…

POWER Digest

WTO Rules Against India in Solar Power Dispute. A mandate that certain types of solar cells and modules used for India’s ambitious state-backed solar initiative must be domestically manufactured violate

South Africa Makes Strides in Securing Power System

South Africa’s power system is preparing to receive a critical capacity boost. In March, state-owned utility Eskom grid-synchronized the first of four units of the Ingula Pumped Storage project in

Spain's Power System Slashes Debt in 2015

Spain’s power sector, which has been shaken financially in recent years owing to plunging power demand, posted its first electricity tariff surplus in 14 years at the end of 2015. The National Markets and

World Sees Hydropower Boom Driven by International Agreements, Financing Shifts, Technological Advancements

The world added 33 GW of new hydropower capacity in 2015, including 2.5 GW of pumped storage, the International Hydropower Association (IHA) said in a recent brief. The new capacity made up only 3% of the

Speaking of Power

Doublespeak Is No Cure for Utility Ills

After a very busy March, I just wanted to run a collage of puppy photos in this editorial. After all, baby animals are proven to generate engagement on social media, so why not in print? Then I saw a Twitter

GBR Reports