Utilities are gearing up for cyber security compliance. Will the standards prove worthy?
The NERC CIP standards represent an historic achievement. They include the first mandatory cyber security requirements of their kind to be imposed on a U.S. private-sector industry. Considering the scope and sensitivity of the grid-security issue, developing a set of enforceable standards inevitably would entail a complex and contentious process. From that perspective, NERC, FERC and the industry have made remarkable progress, and their efforts deserve accolades.
Recent electricity pricing argues for faster, more extensive deregulation.
Was restructuring a success? Prices provide a dispassionate analysis, showing that restructuring was poorly designed, badly executed, and focused on the wrong part of the grid. With those lessons learned, it’s time to explore ways to move forward.
Independent system operators and regional transmission organizations recognize the value in having a common IT architecture.
In today’s modern business environment, standards for products and services have become common—and expected—practice. The time is right for creating a common language among the critical software tools needed to deliver a reliable, competitively priced supply of electricity through today’s integrated power grids and wholesale market structures.
A decision-maker’s checklist provide a starting point—but not an end-point.
Alison Silverstein and Richard Schomberg
Recent predictions suggest that the U.S. electric industry will invest $300 billion in new transmission and distribution (T&D) facilities (including advanced meters) over the next decade, and $400 billion in new power plants over the next 25 years to meet forecasted demand growth. If we start now, we can build interoperability principles and capabilities into those investments and hasten the improvements in reliability, costs, innovation and value that interoperability can deliver.
The intelligent-grid vision is becoming clearer as utilities take incremental steps toward a brighter future.
Building the intelligent grid will require less technical innovation than it does strategic innovation—a characteristic not typically ascribed to U.S. regulated utilities. But the utility culture is changing—by necessity, if not by choice.
How reliability performance monitoring and standards compliance will be achieved in real time.
Carlos A. Martinez, Robert W. Cummings, Philip N. Overholt, and Joseph H. Eto
The North American electric power grid has suffered several significant outages in recent years. These events and other incidents around the world spotlight the need for enforceable grid-reliability standards, wide-area visibility of the health of the power system, and real-time monitoring of grid-reliability performance to prevent blackouts. Effective reliability management requires real-time tools and technologies that can detect standards violations so that timely corrective or preventive actions can be taken.
Part 1 of a 2-part article explores new technologies most likely to influence competitive success.
When fighter pilots list the advantages of one combat aircraft over another, they do not speak primarily of speed. Rather, they refer to the ability of one aircraft to “turn inside” another, to negate other aspects of performance with a superior turning radius. For the utility industry, fundamental changes in technology, markets, or regulatory requirements can “turn inside” the ability of companies to respond, as long-lived investments and choice of fuels lock them into their strategic choices for decades. This article proposes ways for utility leaders to understand strategic risk better and manage it more effectively.
Why the standard market design refuses to die.
Hold on to your hats. The vaunted and vilified “standard market design”, once thought dead and buried, has been resuscitated, with all attendant chaos and rhetoric, but this time in the guise of a new proposal under the code name “open dispatch.” This new construct, as remarkable in its way as Einstein’s theory of indeterminate space and time, declares that electric transmission, long seen as one of a triumvirate of unique and essential utility industry sectors (along with generation and distribution), is little more than a mirage.
Smart metering is coming of age. Is the utility world ready for it?
Some states, including Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas, have been considering smart-metering questions as part of rate cases and resource-planning discussions. Other states, such as Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, and Virginia, have initiated EPACT Section 1252 inquiries separately from other proceedings. The tenor of the discussion also varies from state to state, with high-cost power states generally more attracted to AMI than low-cost states are.
How online monitoring can prevent costly failures.
The march of technology, the urgent call for greater grid investment, and a painful recent past have caught up with the utilities industry. One key area of preventative maintenance for utilities is the transformer, many of which are decades old. Representing approximately $200 billion in investment, these units—which currently number approximately 100,000—can’t be replaced overnight.