Producing value with advanced distribution management systems.
Nicholas Abi-Samra is senior vice president, John Holt is vice president, John McDaniel is director, power system operation and control, and Mark Baustert is service line principal at DNV GL – Energy.
For the last century, the primary mission of U.S. utilities has been to electrify the nation in a way that's safe and affordable. In doing so, utilities have built what has been called the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century: the electric grid. However, in the late 20th century and early 21st century, the mission of utilities has been changing. New economic, environmental, and technological drivers have entered into the equation, and utilities are now focusing on sustainable strategies for modernizing what has been built in a safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly manner.
Some of this modernization has focused on optimizing existing assets. Understanding the real-time operation of assets has led to significant improvements. For example, utilities digitized many fossil-fired generation stations in the 1990s, to achieve detailed, near real-time insight into the operation of those facilities using enhanced control systems. Utilities are now moving beyond the central stations onto the grid, with optimization strategies utilizing digital technologies. All of these efforts aim to realize significant value and investment returns for the utility.