Don’t Read this Blog: Beware of Addiction to Electronic Media. Now that’s Spooky!

Luisa Freeman

It’s Halloween and a good day to consider (potentially) scary things in our lives so we can do something about them.

For example, an article in this week’s Washington Post resurrected the specter of smartphones and other electronic media, those seemingly harmless appendages that we rely on so much, as actually having put us under their spell and enticing us to potentially addictive behaviors. Addictive behavior, like substance abuse, is defined as causing a high, leading to the need for more to get the same result, and withdrawal or feeling badly when you don’t get enough. (Gut check:  Is that how you feel about your need to check in? Be honest!) According to the article, “Do endless hours on a smartphone add up to a real addiction?” by Jill U. Adams, women in a 2014 study of 164 college students use smart phones an average of 10 hours a day, men over 7.  How many times have you watched people walking like zombies across the street—even in a crosswalk —while looking at their cellphones with ear buds plugged in? Continue reading

Will the power grid become “King” in the new paradigm shift?

Peter Vaessen

In my last blog I discussed the upcoming paradigm shift that will change our view of variable renewables (notably wind and solar) from being a nuisance—which must be made to conform to the existing market and grid operation rules—to becoming a power system supporter by unlocking new possibilities through their power electronic interfaces. The pressure is on EU leaders to realize this paradigm shift, as they recently committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40%, and increase energy efficiency and renewables by at least 27% by 2030. In China the newly installed RES generating capacity has already surpassed the new installed fossil and nuclear, but the challenge now is to get them used. One problem is China’s system for “dispatch;” that is, determining which power sources will supply electricity to the grid at any given time. Continue reading

Continued lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy

Hugo van Nispen

Reflecting on the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, it is tempting to dwell only on the immediate impact of the storm on the hardest hit areas.  The effected communities have shown tremendous strength in rebuilding the devastated infrastructure, and will continue to heal emotionally.  However, it would be short-sighted to remember Sandy only for the pain and suffering it inflicted.  Indeed, metaphorically the winds that drove Sandy’s destruction have reached far into many North American utilities’ emergency preparation psyche and have caused significant changes to the way in which assets and systems are built, protected and repaired.

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The importance of demographic segmentation to demand side management programs

Alexander Novie

As energy efficiency programs mature, implementation contractors and utilities must engage a wide variety of customers with historically low participation in demand side management (DSM) programs, and tailor program offers accordingly. This requires us to think beyond common industry questions such as, “What’s beyond lighting?” or “What’s beyond the low-hanging fruit?” for energy efficiency savings.

In certain segments, there may be some low-hanging fruit that has yet to be picked, hidden behind barriers to program delivery and participation. Simply put, utilities and DSM implementation contractors need to speak the language and understand the needs of specific groups in order to increase awareness of energy efficiency opportunities and achieve program savings. Continue reading

Dynamic Parameter Estimation: Bridging the gap between simulation and real world power system response

Mandhir Sahni

Regional transmission planning authorities including utilities and/or RTOs/ISOs currently rely on three different types of planning models to assess the short- and long-term transmission needs of the system from a reliability standpoint:

  • Steady State Models
  • Short Circuit Models
  • Stability Models

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Bright Ideas: Global trends in solar finance

Ray Hudson

Solar power has been an amazing success story of the ongoing new-energy transformation. Global installed solar capacity has grown by 95 GW in just 4 short years to 140 GW.

Due to advances in technology and manufacturing techniques, the cost of PV modules has dropped significantly. In 2008, the average cost of PV modules was approximately 4 USD per W—by 2014 it was just 70 US cents per W. The resultant drop in the cost of solar generated electricity has further added to demand for solar power plants. Continue reading

When predicting wind regimes in the blind, experience is our sixth sense

Jean-Francois Corbett

In a recent wind flow modelling blind test conducted by E.ON, it was announced that DNV GL’s results were the most accurate of any participant. Some may be surprised that even now, when we have grown to become a huge multinational organisation, we care so much about these sorts of results. But there is a very good reason for this.

One of the key qualities that DNV GL has based its global reputation on is its extensive experience and knowledge of the fields that it works in. For the most part, the advantages this experience offers our clients are clearly understood, but sometimes quantifying it in terms of real world benefits can be quite difficult—its impact on a project often being quite broad and non-specific. Continue reading

Disruptive forces at PJM: Three things all utilities should know about the proposed redesign of the PJM capacity market (even those without demand response programs)

Will Gifford

There have been a number of proposed changes to the design of the PJM capacity market recently, especially related to demand response (DR) participation. In this post, three of these significant changes and their impacts on utilities are discussed:

  1. DR and energy efficiency will now be accounted for on the demand side of the capacity equation.
  2. PJM’s proposed direction would transition toward phasing out seasonal capacity resources.
  3. Measurement and Verification (M&V) using smart meter data will become the new standard for all DR programs, including residential direct load control.

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Grouping BES Cyber Assets into BES Cyber Systems under CIP Version 5

David Carty

With CIP Version 5, a new term BES Cyber System has wormed its way into the NERC lexicon. CIP V5 explains this new concept and how it can be applied to simplify the organization of evidence needed for compliance. Countless articles to date have been written on the topic, many of which replay verbatim language from the Standards while lacking a fresh perspective. In today’s blog post, we purposely stay out of the weeds to make our points, but do include citations where additional detail may be found. This allows the reader to pause and dig further into unfamiliar terms, concepts, rules, and applications as needed before resuming with the main thread. Continue reading

Climate Change: Implications for Buildings – AR5 Summary

Erik Dyrr

The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the most comprehensive and relevant analysis of our changing climate. It provides the scientific fact base that will be used around the world to formulate climate policies in the coming years.  The report concludes that climate change is unequivocal, and that human activities, particularly emissions of carbon dioxide, are very likely to be the dominant cause. Changes are observed in all geographical regions: the atmosphere and oceans are warming, the extent and volume of snow and ice are diminishing, sea levels are rising and weather patterns are changing. Continue reading