Remarkable Energy Careers: Jim Fama

We talked with Jim Fama, retiring and on his last day at EEI, about his remarkable career.

Jim Fama was the Edison Electric Institute’s vice president for energy delivery since 2002.

ComEd to Partner with AMSC on Superconductor-based Resilient Electric Grid System

AMSC, a global energy solutions provider, and ComEd agreed to develop a deployment plan for AMSC's high temperature superconductor technology to build a superconducting cable system that will strengthen Chicago's electric grid. The Resilient Electric Grid (REG) effort is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate's work to secure the nation's electric power grids and improve resiliency against extreme weather, acts of terrorism, or other catastrophic events.

In the Crosshairs

Protecting substations and transformers after the PG&E Metcalf attack.

The latest fallout from the April 2013 Metcalf incident: the unprecedented assault with high-powered rifles on PG&E’s Metcalf substation, in Silicon Valley, which disabled 17 of 20 large transformers.

Security and the States

The regulator’s role in promoting cybersecurity for the smart grid.

State commissions can select from a toolkit of regulatory approaches to promote desired utility cybersecurity behavior. One approach is to allow the industry to selfregulate, and another approach is to leave the job to the federal government. But sofar, neither the industry nor the federal government have developed and implemented adequate standards for securing the smart grid. States can play a constructive role—albeit perhaps not in the form of traditional regulation.

Sun Damage

Geomagnetic storms and the limits of human experience.

On April 30, FERC held a technical conference to review scientific claims and policy arguments about geomagnetic disturbances, known as GMD—how some say that a once-in-a-century solar storm could induce a power surge on the interstate grid so destructive as to cook and fry as many 300 extra-high-voltage transformers, plunging much of the nation into a blackout lasting months or even years. Some researchers even harbor fears that GMDs could end life as we know it.

Keeping Your Kilowatts Private

A survey of state policies on release of customer data.

The advent of smart grid technology has raised new and challenging issues concerning data privacy. Of course, data privacy isn’t a new concern for the energy industry, as utilities have always collected customer data, some of which is common to any business, such as contact and credit information, and some of which is unique to the energy industry, such as usage and demand data.

Cyber War!

The United States is the superpower of cyber warfare, but we aren’t alone in possessing these capabilities. Sophisticated attacks raise new concerns about utility vulnerabilities -- SCADA systems in particular.

The year 2011 may have forever changed the way we think about the security of networks and systems. Following a year many are calling the “year of the hack,” security professionals have fundamentally changed their outlook when it comes to the threat of a network breach. Whereas previously, many considered a breach unlikely and more of an “if” scenario, many have shifted to a mindset of “when.”

Gridlock in 2030?

Policy priorities for managing T&D evolution.

A pair of myths is driving many investments today—i.e., America’s T&D system is falling apart, but the smart grid will save the day. A new MIT study reveals a more nuanced truth about reliability, efficiency, and plans for new technologies. The most effective policies and investments will focus on solving real problems and delivering tangible benefits.

Securing Tomorrow's Grid (Part I)

Protecting smart systems against cyber threats.

Smart grid technologies bring a host of cyber security considerations that need to be addressed throughout the T&D domain—and even into the customer’s home. In this exclusive report, Department of Energy authors team up with industry experts to examine how to deal with the changes and challenges of securing the smart grid.

Tech Transition

Utility projects advance the state of the art.

Given this dynamic state of evolution, it’s not surprising that next-generation technologies are undergoing their own difficult transitions. This transition is exemplified by four high-tech projects being executed by four electric utilities: Duke Energy, American Electric Power, Consolidated Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. Their projects address different parts of the power-supply chain, and they’re taking different paths to secure financing and regulatory acceptance.