Monday, February 4, 2013

US Electricity blackouts skyrocketing -
By Thom Patterson, CNN
October 15, 2010 7:26pm EDT | Filled under: Innovation

(CNN) -- New York's Staten Island was broiling under a life-threatening heat wave and borough President James Molinaro was seriously concerned about the area's Little League baseball players.

It was last July's Eastern heat wave and Consolidated Edison was responding to scattered power outages as electricity usage neared record highs.

So, authorities followed Molinaro's suggestion to cancel that night's Little League games, which were to be played under electricity-sucking stadium lights.

"Number one, it was a danger to the children that were playing out there in that heat, and secondly it would save electricity that people would need for air conditioning in their homes," said Molinaro, who'd been forced to sleep at his office that night because of a blackout in his own neighborhood.

Throughout New York City, about 52,000 of ConEd's 3.2 million customers lost power during the heat wave. Triple-digit temperatures forced residents like 77 year-old Rui Zhi Chen, to seek shelter at one of the city's 400 emergency cooling centers. "It felt like an oven in my home and on the street," Chen said.

Should Americans view these kinds of scenarios as extraordinary circumstances -- or a warning sign of a darker future?

Experts on the nation's electricity system point to a frighteningly steep increase in non-disaster-related outages affecting at least 50,000 consumers.

During the past two decades, such blackouts have increased 124 percent -- up from 41 blackouts between 1991 and 1995, to 92 between 2001 and 2005, according to research at the University of Minnesota.

In the most recently analyzed data available, utilities reported 36 such outages in 2006 alone.

"It's hard to imagine how anyone could believe that -- in the United States -- we should learn to cope with blackouts," said University of Minnesota Professor Massoud Amin, a leading expert on the U.S. electricity grid.

Amin supports construction of a nationwide "smart grid" that would avert blackouts and save billions of dollars in wasted electricity.

In a nutshell, a smart grid is an automated electricity system that improves the reliability, security and efficiency of electric power. It more easily connects with new energy sources, such as wind and solar, and is designed to charge electric vehicles and control home appliances via a so-called "smart" devices.

Summer of '77

You might say Amin's connection with electricity began in New York City with a bolt of lightning.
In July 1977, Amin was a 16-year-old high school student visiting from his native Iran when lightning triggered a 24-hour blackout that cut power to nine million.

As he and his father walked near their Midtown Manhattan hotel, they were shocked to see looters smash their way into an electronics store less than 20 yards down the street.

Amin recalls feeling violated by the ugly scene -- and wondering if the nation's infrastructure was in danger of collapse. "... not just the electric grid that underpins our lives," he said, "but also the human condition."

More than 30 years later, the United States is still "operating the most advanced economy in the world with 1960s and 70s technology," said Amin. Failing to modernize the grid, he said, will threaten the U.S. position as an economic super power.

Millions remember the historic August 2003 blackout, when overgrown trees on powerlines triggered an outage that cascaded across an overloaded regional grid. An estimated 50 million people lost power in Canada and eight northeastern states. Smart grid technology, experts say, would have immediately detected the potential crisis, diverted power and likely saved $6 billion in estimated business losses.
By April of 2013 ConEd hopes to install a "smart" automated self-healing system aimed at preventing the burnout of large feeder cables during peak demand periods -- such as heat waves.

The new technology would anticipate possible equipment failure in specific neighborhoods and reroute electricity to compensate. For example, a project to help Queens' Flushing neighborhood will "give us the capability to remotely control up to 26 underground switches," said Con Ed smart grid manager Thomas Magee.

Had systems like this been in place, said ConEd's Aseem Kapur, it might have prevented or reduced New York's scattered outages last July.

Who's got the juice?

Some of the most reliable utilities are in the heartland states of Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas.

In those states, the power is out an average of only 92 minutes per year, according to a 2008 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study. On the other end of the spectrum, utilities in New York Pennsylvania and New Jersey averaged 214 minutes of total interruptions each year. These figures don't include power outages blamed on tornadoes or other disasters.

Map: How often do the lights go out where you live?

But compare the U.S. data to Japan which averages only four minutes of total interrupted service each year. "As you can see, we have a long way to go," said Andres Carvallo, who played a key role in planning the smart grid in Austin, Texas.

Experts point to the northeastern and southeastern U.S. as regions where outages pose the most threat -- mainly due to aging wires, pole transformers and other lagging infrastructure.

"They know where they have tight spots," said Mark Lauby, of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which enforces reliability standards. Without mentioning specific regions, Lauby said utilities are "making sure the generation and the transmission are available to help support those consumers."

Building a national smart grid "won't be cheap and it wont be easy," acknowledged Amin. Much of it could be completed as soon as 2030 at a cost of up to $1.5 trillion, according to the Department of Energy. It's unclear who would foot the entire bill, but the Obama administration has committed about $4 billion in investment grants.

The 'Easy Button' Carvallo jokes about the so-called "Easy Button" at Austin Energy. It's not really a big red button on the wall, but it is a mechanism that allows an operator to control tens of thousands of home thermostats.

"Austin is two to three years ahead of everybody else," said Carvallo, now chief strategy officer for the smart grid software firm Proximetry.

He points to a volunteer program that offers free thermostats to customers who allow the utility to remotely control their air conditioners during specific months and hours. This way, thousands of power-gulping air conditioners can be cycled off for a short time when electricity was needed elsewhere.

By summer's end, Austin expects to begin enabling its 700,000 streetlights to be turned "on and off with a flip of a switch," saving $340,000 in electricity each year, and eliminating 200 tons of carbon dioxide air pollution.

Replacing old-style electric meters with "smart meters" is often described as the first step in creating a smart grid. All 400,000 of Austin's meters are smart meters.

Nationwide, 26 utilities in 15 states have installed some 16 million smart meters in homes and businesses.

Soon, when power goes out in a neighborhood with smart meters, utilities won't have to wait for customers to report outages -- the smart meters will alert utilities automatically. Utilities will then e-mail or text message each affected customer information about when the lights will be back on.

Critics question smart meter accuracy and whether the devices will really save energy in the long run.
"It feels a bit like the utilities are jumping the gun and they're trying to put these meters in before the rest of the pieces of the so-called smart grid are in place and before we even know that the smart meters are going to have advantages commensurate with the cost," said electricity consumer advocate Mindy Spatt of The Utility Reform Network.

One advantage of smart grid technology may be jobs.

High-tech manufacturers want to locate their factories in places where electricity is most reliable, said Carvallo. "That's where the manufacturing facilities move to. That's where you get your high-paying jobs."

Friday, December 28, 2012

IEEE Survey Report Illuminates Smart Grid Future by Andres Carvallo

A comprehensive polling of industry leaders around the world finds that North America leads in energy storage, while Europe is ahead in distributed generation and microgrids. Energy management systems, distributed management systems and communications technologies will be critical to full realization of all the anticipated smart grid benefits.

A new report from Zpryme, commissioned by IEEE and available at the IEEE smart grid website, details how energy storage, distributed generation and microgrid technologies stand to evolve given the rapid deployment of the smart grid across the globe over the next five years. The report is based on a survey done in September 2012 of 460 smart grid executives around the world, almost all of them highly educated. Two thirds of them said they believe energy storage and distributed generation will be very important to the future development of the smart grid, and half thought microgrid development will be very important.

Top-rated benefits of energy storage include provision of supplemental power to meet peak demand, improvement of power system reliability and reduction of energy costs. Yet, on a somewhat skeptical note, the report says, “If the cost of grid-scale storage technologies does not significant decrease over the next five years, the market will not realize its full potential.” Specifically, "Industry experts from the U.S. Department of Energy, EPRI and KEMA estimate that costs must decrease by at least 50 percent relative to today’s costs in order for energy storage technologies to realize mainstream adoption. If the costs do not significantly decrease, utilities will continue to rely upon gas-fired turbines (peaker plants) for lead shifting and renewable integration.”

The report finds that Europe is the global leader in adopting and utilizing distributed generation and microgrids, while North America is prominent in energy storage technology. The report says that these regions stand to “take the lead when it comes to developing an deploying next-generation distributed energy systems.” But Japan, South Korea and China “will also continue to make strong investments in energy storage as these countries are determined to lead the world when it comes to clean technologies,” the report says.

Energy management systems, distributed management systems and communications technologies are identified in the report as the critical enabling technologies for energy storage, distributed generation and microgrids, as well as advanced grid services such as net metering, load aggregation and real-time energy monitoring that in many cases will be delivered in the cloud.

Key interrelated themes emerge from the research behind the report, such as the necessity of customer demand to drive the market for the three technologies and, in turn, the need for customer feedback to infuse their R&D strategies. The report illuminates how energy storage, distributed generation and microgrid technologies can support important new revenue streams for manufacturers, utilities, end users and third-party providers alike, spurring new global markets for software and systems that integrate these technologies into modern and future energy systems.

Among the report’s finding are the following highlights:

- Electricity demand of the future will be met with distributed-energy systems.
- Customer demand—not further regulation, policies or subsidies—must drive the viability of the market for the three technology areas of focus in the report (energy storage, distributed generation and microgrids).

- Market-driven innovation will lead the transition to a high-growth phase for the three technology areas, so manufacturers must, in turn, “closely integrate customer feedback into their R&D (research and development) roadmaps.”

- Better coordination on standards, R&D and funding is required to drive down costs and advance energy storage, distributed generation and microgrid technologies.
Digitized or connected energy systems will be necessary to support advanced smart-grid functionality and distributed energy systems.

- The three technology areas offer opportunities for utilities, end users and third-party providers to create new revenue streams.

- One of the major challenges to advancing deployment of energy storage, distributed generation and microgrids remains the need for more driving of costs down.

The Zpryme report indicates that importance of all three technology areas is coming into clearer focus with rising global interest in more efficiently managing energy consumption, heightening electricity demand and increasing awareness of the cost of service interruptions. Ultimately, the report states, there is strong growth potential for all three technologies.

In conclusion, to summarize the most important overarching findings:

1- Microgrids, distributed generation and especially grid-level energy storage still need external private- and public-sector funding for both R&D and projects/pilots. The benefits would include more cost-effective solutions, better businesses cases for the technologies and development of best practices with regard to technology installation, application and optimization.

2 - The most important enabling technologies for distributed generation, microgrids and energy storage stand to be energy management systems, distributed management systems and communications technologies. Future distributed energy systems must be able to interact across both centralized and decentralized electrical networks, supporting advanced grid services (net metering, load aggregation and real-time energy monitoring, for example) that often will be delivered in the cloud.

3 - And further, network-layer change stresses investment in a future-proof architecture and communications network that will be able to accomplish not only the defined goals of the present and near-term future, but also the undefined but likely expansive needs of a dynamic digital future, replete with emerging innovative applications and equipment. A well-informed design and resilient integrated IP network foundation puts the utility in a position of strength, able to choose from best-of-breed solutions as they emerge, adapting the network to new purposes and functionality, consistently driving costs out by leveraging information in new ways.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

IEEE Interview with Andres Carvallo

In this interview, Andres Carvallo outlines his vision for a fully realized Smart Grid, discusses why its importance goes beyond electric utilities, and pinpoints the major obstacles to success.

Question: You are a leading proponent of deploying the Smart Grid as an engine for economic progress in the U.S. What should our national goal be?

Our goal should be the complete automation of a nationwide grid. That implies many things including automated fault, detection, isolation and restoration, real-time load forecasting, dynamic volt/VAR control, and direct customer flow control of distributed energy resources like solar panels, electric vehicles and energy storage. The Smart Grid should be able to recognize and manage every device that it powers. Today, when something new is plugged into the grid, all that is typically known is the load. The grid of the future will be self-healing, distributed, interactive and intelligent enough to know if the device is a thermostat or a computer or a solar panel or an electric vehicle – and to manage them in real-time.

Question: What is the present state of affairs?
The good news is that Smart Grid genie is out of the bottle. But there is still a great disparity across the country in the degree of implementation. Some utilities such as Austin Energy, Oncor, and Centerpoint in Texas are very close to the automation goal. Baltimore Gas & Electric is well on its way. Utilities in California like Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, and other pockets of the country, are making good progress. But most utilities haven't even started in any significant way.
Question: Is there a single game-changing decision or policy that will be critical to optimizing Smart Grid deployment?
The best thing that could happen would be for the nation's Public Utility Commissions and Public Service Commissions (PUCs and PSCs) to enact a mandate for building the Smart Grid by 2020. This is not a totally new concept. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) initiatives have been mandated in 20 states. We need a mandate for a fully automated Smart Grid and it should be a national priority. In that regard, I think that the efforts of the IEEE in creating working groups and standards that help establish a common technology platform are essential to a successful, nationwide Smart Grid rollout.
Question: Why do you contend that the Smart Grid is not just an issue for public utilities and their customers but for the national interest as well?
A fully deployed Smart Grid will provide benefits far beyond those the electric power industry typically talks about — that is, better reliability, better outage management, greater energy efficiency use, customer empowerment and so on. Smart Grid 3.0 — which I refer to as Advanced Smart Grids Interconnected — will enable a better quality of life, create more jobs, improve education, power an era of wealth creation and even provide better healthcare for our people. We have to start thinking of the Smart Grid as the ultimate 21st century platform. It will give us a phenomenal quality of service at a reasonable — if not inexpensive — price. The Smart Grid will make our economy more competitive in a world where other nations are well on their way to building Smart Grids. Australia, China, Japan, India and Western Europe are all on the same journey and in many instances are ahead of us. It is not unreasonable to forecast that in the next decade, we will be talking about a Smart Grid divide in much the same way that we now talk about the Internet divide between the haves and the have-nots.
Question: Can you give a current example of an approach leveraging the Smart Grid as a platform?
In Austin Energy's service area, the Zero Energy Capable Homes (ZECH) program requires new single-family homes to be zero net-energy capable by 2015. These homes will be 65% more efficient than homes built to the Austin Energy Code in 2006. This does not mean that developers have to add, for example, a $100,000 solar energy system to a conventional home that might cost $150,000 to build. The goal is more one of assessing weather patterns and energy demands over a 12-month cycle and assuring zero energy over the course of a year.
Question: How would that work in practice?
In most areas of the country, five or perhaps ten days in a year establish the peak energy demand. During the remaining 360 days, energy use is substantially lower — sometimes very low. The idea is size the home's renewable energy system and its associated energy storage so that the home supplies its own power most of the time, extracts energy from the grid at peak times, and actually returns energy to the grid at times of low energy usage. Over a year, the net energy extracted from the grid is zero. In addition to generation and storage, increased energy efficiency is also a major contributor to a zero-energy home. I should add that although we cite solar panels when we talk about home-based distributed generation, it is just one option. The amount of natural gas available today and new, small-scale generation technologies will probably make gas-fired generation a viable option in the future for homes in some areas of the country.
Question: Speaking of new technologies, could you mention a few of the key technologies that will be integrated into the Smart Grid?
We've already mentioned distributed generation. Two other key technologies are microgrids and electric vehicles, which are likely to become an important energy storage resource. Energy generated during periods of low demand such as overnight can be stored in car batteries and used the next day. Other interesting technologies include sensors integrated into every device on the grid, telemetry everywhere, solid-state transformers, machine-to-machine networking, and advanced power control systems. The list goes on and on. But I should point out that there is no silver bullet, no one-size-fits-all solution.
Question: Although there may not be a silver bullet, what will bridge the gap between the various technologies being deployed so they work together seamlessly?
The interconnected aspect of Smart Grid 3.0 involves telecom and software. Ideally, each utility will approach its rollout from the perspective of a software architecture that includes not just the grid infrastructure but includes architectures for homes, buildings and other types of customers. At Austin Energy, we adopted The Open Group's Architecture Framework (TOGAF), which now has a Smart Grid template, and built our own architecture from it back in 2004. In addition, we should create a virtual network communications fabric that creates interoperability between the proliferation of networking technologies and frequencies being deployed by different utilities and even within the same utility. This enables the architecture to be technology agnostic.
Question: Earlier you mentioned that many utilities haven't even started on their Smart Grid journey yet. What's holding them back?
There's a deeply engrained supply-side management approach to power generation and distribution at most utilities. Supply side means that it is sufficient to provide customers with a connection to the grid adequate for their needs and to throttle generation up and down to maintain a 60-Hz balance that everything depends upon. For the most part, utilities have ignored the demand side of the equation. That has to change to a service-oriented paradigm. We need to deploy software, hardware, telecom and power to make the grid far more intelligent, dynamic and capable of two-way energy flow. As buildings, homes, and vehicles become intelligent and power generation enabled, utilities need to extend their thinking to connecting and collaborating with this new smart asset.
Question: What's standing in the way?
Most utilities are being impeded by their regulators and by their corporate culture and business processes. Utilities are typically vertically organized according to function. Over time, this results in a "siloed" corporate culture in which the different people responsible for generation, transmission, distribution, metering, customer service, and so forth don't talk to each other that much. They independently undertake projects that often use incompatible technologies. One of the most important steps we took at Austin Energy while I was Chief Information Officer was to create a technology governance process that encompassed everything from hiring to purchasing to how organization charts were created. We also created an Enterprise Data Council, a Project Management Office, a Technology Security Council, a Disaster Recovery Council, and an Enterprise Architecture Council to professionally manage how the people, process, and technology transformation would create a much better utility with happier customers. These cultural and business process changes are one of the main reasons that Austin Energy has been among the first utilities to achieve a successful Smart Grid rollout. While it is true that Smart Grid technology is far from trivial, it is not the most important barrier. In fact, a successful rollout depends a great deal on a highly functioning corporate culture.
As EVP and Chief Strategy Officer at Proximetry, Andres Carvallo is responsible for global strategy, branding, marketing, products, business development, commercialization, and solutions that deliver technology agnostic virtual network communications' fabrics for the energy, telecommunications, and transportation industries.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

ERCOT unveils Energy Saver mobile phone app

This is a very good move in the right direction.


Free app helps consumers conserve electricity when needed most

AUSTIN, TX, June 13, 2012 -- Want real-time updates on the ERCOT grid—and tips on how to effectively conserve electricity during peak times? Now there is a free smartphone app that will make energy conservation a little bit easier for iPhone, iPad and Android users.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of Texas, unveiled its long-anticipated mobile app today. The initial version includes current system operating conditions, conservation tips and an overview of ERCOT.

Most notably, the app will provide "push" notifications straight to Apple and Android devices. When ERCOT is experiencing high demand and conservation is critical, users who enable the feature will receive alerts notifying them of the situation. That's also when the conservation tips page will be especially useful.

"ERCOT is committed to using every avenue available to communicate with consumers about the need for conservation during the hours of 3-7 p.m." said ERCOT External Affairs Director Theresa Gage. "Texans who conserved during the summer of 2011 were vital to keeping the electric grid strong. We hope people in the ERCOT region will adopt this new energy conservation tool during summer 2012."

iPhone and Android users can find the free ERCOT Energy Saver app by searching for ERCOT in the Apple and Google app stores. Over time, additional features may become available, depending on system needs and user feedback.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Andres Carvallo Speaks at IEEE Power & Energy Conference

Jesse Berst – Founder and Chief Analyst at moderates a panel titled “The Future of the smart grid – technology, policy, standards, and consumer behavior”

The Smart Grid must create economic benefits to fuel long term investments.  Motivations, venture funding, national and state policies, and job growth are some of the factors that will be addressed.  In addition, the esteemed panel will share their thoughts on where technology is headed, how and when policy will change, how standards will impact our future, and the best practices that have successfully moved the smart grid forward.

Panelist include:
Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd
Andres Carvallo, Proximetry and Former CIO at Austin Energy
John Estey, S&C Electric
Paul De Martini, Former CTO at Cisco and VP at SCE
Sharon Allan, Accenture
John McDonald, GE Energy
Patty Durand, Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative
Mark Wyatt, Duke
Paul Centolella, Ohio PUC Commissioner
Doug Kim, SCE

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Andres Carvallo Featured on Next Smart Grid Educational Series Webinar on May 14

Dear Colleagues:

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the next Smart Grid Educational Series Webinar scheduled for May 14th 2012 at 1 pm Pacific will feature Andres Carvallo of Proximetry (former CIO of Austin Energy) in a 45 minute keynote address followed by a detailed Q&A with audience participation for 30-45 minutes.  Andres is a renowned speaker on Smart Grid related issues in the industry and has authored a book on the subject as well as lead a revolutionary grid modernization program at Austin Energy prior to joining Proximetry.

The presentation is titled:  “Why do we need a Smart Grid Network Management System?”

To register for the webinar, please click on the link below and select the “register” button to input your info.  Registration is mandatory to log into the webinar.  The webinar will be recorded and the link for the recording will be sent by May 16th 2012.

Here is a summary of what will be covered in the presentation.

Are you planning to deploy a fully integrated smart grid 1.0?  Meaning smart meters, demand response, distribution automation, substation automation, SCADA/EMS integration, back office integration (CIS/Billing, ERP, EAMS). Or are you planning to deploy a fully integrated smart grid 2.0?  Meaning customer EV charging automation, customer Solar PV integration, customer Home/Building Energy Management System integration, and customer Energy Storage integration with smart meters, demand response, distribution automation, substation automation, SCADA/EMS integration, and back office integration (CIS/Billing, ERP, EAMS).  If you are doing either, you would not want to miss how to architect this challenge and not make the same mistakes that many early pioneers have already made.

Learn how to serve mission-critical, multi-protocol, multi-frequency, and multi-vendor networks seamlessly (4G LTE, WiMAX, 3G, 2G, Wi-Fi, PLC, Fiber, Ethernet RF, and using Mesh, P2P, etc), how to achieve policy and network optimization with easy traffic prioritization across a variety of wireless infrastructures, how to deliver comprehensive network management capabilities from the network operations center to all devices within the network environment, and how to build true accountability, security and traceability across all your network environments to finally support all your desired applications, preferred device vendors, preferred software systems into one single world.

Topic: Smart Grid Educational Series May 2012 Webcast
Date and Time:
Monday, May 14, 2012 1:00 pm, Pacific Daylight Time (San Francisco, GMT-07:00)
Event number: 660 638 487
Event password: SGES0512

I look forward to your participation in this informative and thought provoking Smart Grid webinar on May 14th at 1 pm Pacific featuring a true industry pioneer.

Best Regards

Erfan Ibrahim, PhD
Founder & CEO
The Bit Bazaar LLC – A Marketplace for Digital Ideas

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Network Management System Helps Utilities Reduce Outages

What is the Smart Grid?
The smart grid is the integration of a power grid, communications network, software and hardware to monitor, control and manage the creation, distribution, storage and consumption of energy. The smart grid of the future will be distributed, interactive, self-healing and will reach every electric device.

An advanced smart grid enables the seamless integration of smart utility infrastructures with smart buildings, smart homes and smart electric vehicles that pervasively use distributed generation, energy storage and smart devices to increase grid reliability, energy efficiency, renewable energy use and customer satisfaction-while reducing capital and operating costs.

The Smart Grid Emerges

First generation smart grids usually start with one application, such as smart metering, distribution automation or demand response, and then incrementally expand by adding more applications over time- each with a stand-alone and dedicated companion communications network.

This is primarily because integrated utilities are organized in silos-such as generation, wholesale energy, transmission, distribution, metering, retail energy and conservation-and each silo does not have vested interest in understanding a company-wide return on investment. In deregulated markets where utilities are broken up into generation, wires and retail companies, a similar challenge occurs. Both integrated and deregulated utility markets require standards and interoperability to achieve system-wide or company-wide return on investments. These utility markets also need new investment rules to guarantee returns while being more energy efficient and potentially selling less power volumetrically.

On the other hand, advanced smart grids, or second generation smart grids, start with a company-wide or system-wide smart grid architecture designed to address requirements in the areas of coverage, control, quality of service, service restoration and integration with engineering applications and back office systems to deliver the desired company-wide return on investments. Because the advanced smart grid is designed to support any variety of applications as needed, short or long term, the communications network, or network of networks, must be designed to support necessary new services and capabilities.

Why Does the Smart Grid Need a Network Management System?

Designing and deploying multiple networks that potentially have millions of devices within the different utility silos is costly and difficult to manage and maintain over time.Investing in a Smart Grid Network Management System (SGNMS) to coordinate the smart grid communications infrastructure allows utilities to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and outage times while increasing reliability, safety, security and customer satisfaction.

By developing the right set of requirements, architectural imperatives, and security and interface standards, the utility can achieve many benefits such as: upgrading to new networking technologies as they emerge, choosing from multiple vendors that meet the same open standards, increasing back-up capabilities by leveraging private and public network solutions, managing all assets via a central console, reducing training costs, reducing outages, improving fault-detection and restoration times, and improving customer satisfaction.

Advanced Requirements, Benefits of a Smart Grid Network Management System

To realize its potential, a SGNMS should be built using industry best practices. The solution must include visualization, business logic, distributed processing and network element management with built-in geospatial and asset management features for easy integration. With well-defined and documented interfaces between each tier, a SGNMS provides greater flexibility, scalability, extensibility and security than trying to provide services using non-integrated systems. The SGNMS should support all individual networking protocols and standards to leverage the quality of service capabilities inherent in the available infrastructure and transition between ranges of network services.

Some of the key network services of a SGNMS should include: the ability to serve mission-critical multi-protocol, multi-frequency, multi-device and multi-vendor networks; enabling policy-based control for asset management, network optimization and traffic prioritization across different communications infrastructures (differing protocols and vendor implementations); and delivering comprehensive network management capabilities from the data center to all devices within the networks.

Network Design, Implementation of a Smart Grid Network Management System

A SGNMS allows multiple networks comprised of different protocols, vendors and service providers-including public and private resources-to perform as one logical network fabric. The SGNMS must provide differentiated services with dynamic allocation of resources, including bandwidth optimization, resource selection and modification, and centralized scheduling-allowing networks to achieve greater efficiencies in throughput that ensure the "best network, best frequency and best utilization time" with predictable performance and compliance. It also must give priority to different types of packets so real-time communications are not broken up, but also avoid causing any deterioration of low-latency applications and services. The SGNMS also needs to have built in system redundancy and proactively monitor for performance, utilization, quality of service and outages.

Once the SGNMS is deployed, closed-loop performance monitoring feeds data into the policy-based rules manager to anticipate and resolve problems before they become an issue. Fault management features will automatically correlate multiple events to pinpoint the root cause of outages and degradations. Many of the reports could be used to plan future additions and changes to the networks and services delivered.

Monitoring Security, Performance of a Smart Grid Network Management System
A SGNMS enables the automation of network monitoring as utilization management allows network and business managers to focus on strategic initiatives for the utility, rather than reacting to unrelated alarms. The SGNMS also increases uptime dependability and productivity for network devices because it helps contain and remediate problems faster before devices are impacted-than manually addressing each problem as it arises.

If a software upgrade during the night extends itself to the morning, affecting daily network performance, for example, the SGNMS would alert network staff that utilization is above normal behavior and when traditional utility operations function as normal during the day, if left unattended. The SGNMS would also be intelligent enough to automatically correlate related events to avoid inundating network staff with alerts triggered from a single event. When there's a problem, the SGNMS should automatically discover the disruption's root cause and suggest remedies or, where appropriate, automatically fix the problem.

In Conclusion

A SGNMS is an essential element in the successful deployment of an advanced smart grid; if we believe that when every electric device becomes smart and networked, the utility grid becomes the advanced smart grid. A SGNMS enables the automation needed to manage from tens of thousands to millions of connected devices via multiple networks that might be using different network transports. When edge devices become smart, equipped with the right network communication functionality and local intelligence, they become capable of being pre-programmed to operate independently and managed remotely.

As such, the SGNMS enables the networks and devices under management to bring back levels of detailed information about the grid status never before seen by utility managers and energy consumers. In short, a SGNMS orchestrates multiple networks, and intelligent edge devices suggest a dramatic transformation in grid management capability as processes designed for maintaining grid stability in the absence of information must be replaced by processes designed to leverage an abundance of information.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Austin Energy and Andres Carvallo Receive Top 10 Smart Grid Award

Austin Energy has one of the longest-running smart grid programs in the United States. Under the guidance of former CIO Andres Carvallo, the electricity provider achieved 100 percent meter penetration in 2009. Its current smart grid 2.0 offering includes more than 110 megawatts of load shedding capacity via 120,000 remotely controllable smart thermostats.
In February, Austin announced its plan to implement 4.8 megawatts of backup power using Vycon Energy flywheels at its 190,000-square-foot data center. Furthermore, the utility has partnered with the Pecan Street demonstration project which will feature a smart grid community of 1,000 residents and 75 businesses designed  around integrating smart meters with distributed generation, energy storage, PEVs, and new electricity pricing models.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Andres Carvallo Keynotes University of Kansas 2012 Energy Conference

Mr. Carvallo will join several experts this week at the 2012 KU Energy Conference

In his presentation, Mr. Carvallo will cover the genesis of Smart Grid, the new energy paradigm, Smart Grid Architectures, Smart Grid design, Building2Grid design, Home2Grid design, Vehicle2Grid design, Smart Grid standards, and the Smart Grid Ecosystem of vendors. His experiences draw from two books that his has co-authored and from his work and first hand knowledge at Austin Energy, San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, Baltimore Gas & Electric, Oncor, Centerpoint, American Electric Power, Duke, Direct Energy, Reliant, SP Aus Net, Energy Australia, ActewAGL, and others.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Andres Carvallo Speaks at The Networked Grid

Join over 300 of smart grid industry executives in the east coast capital of smart grid innovation, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. Learn the latest on the state of the market from GTM Research and network with utilities, thought leaders, and technology experts. The Networked Grid 2012 is more than just a conference, it's the event to attend to make a difference in the smart grid community.

Attendees will receive the following benefits:

• A tour of the Envision Center by Duke Energy and ABB's Center of Excellence on the N.C. State Centennial Campus
• An enterprise license of The Networked Grid 150: The End-to-End Smart Grid Vendor Ecosystem Profiles and Ranking
• Access to an exclusive social network of attendees, speakers, and sponsors that allows you to connect and network before, after and during the event, making the most of your conference investment
• An end-to-end understanding of the current state of the market from GTM Research, the leader in smart grid market research
• Participation in recognition ceremonies for the Top Ten Networked Utilities, the Top Ten Vendors in Smart Grid, and the Top Ten Vendors to Watch in Smart Grid and the resources to understand what made these organizations successful in these categories
• A welcome reception highlighting why Raleigh-Durham is an innovation center for the smart grid industry and how your company can move the industry forward in your own region

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Advanced Smart Grid available on Kindle

"The Advanced Smart Grid is the visionary book on smart grids. It is the right book for these times. If you read only one book on the smart grid - you have already picked the right one." (William R. Moroney, Former President & Chief Executive Officer, Utilities Telecom Council) "...a timely, comprehensive and insightful overview of the powerful potential that a truly advanced smart grid has.... Carvallo and Cooper deliver a must-read for anyone interested in the promise and capability of these fast-evolving networks." (Laura Chappelle, J.D., Former Chairman/Commissioner, Michigan Public Service Commission)"

Product Description
Placing emphasis on practical 'how-to' guidance, this cutting-edge resource provides a first-hand, insider's perspective on the advent and evolution of smart grids in the 21st century. Professionals gain a thorough understanding of the building blocks that comprise basic smart grids, including power plant, transmission substation, distribution, and meter automation. Moreover, this forward-looking volume explores the next step of this technology's evolution. It provides a detailed explanation of how an advanced smart grid incorporates demand response with smart appliances and management mechanisms for distributed generation, energy storage, and electric vehicles.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Google Analytics Update Connects Social Marketing With The Bottom Line

If you’ve been to a marketing conference in the past year or so, or even read an article on the subject, you’ve probably heard someone ask, “What’s the ROI on social marketing?” (Alternate version: “What’s the value of a Like or a retweet?”) That’s what the new features in Google Analytics are trying to answer.

Given the increasing importance of social marketing and social network traffic, it was probably inevitable that the Google Analytics team would add social-focused reports. However, Group Product Manager Phil Mui says the new reports take a different approach than most social analytics products, which are more focused on “listening” — counting mentions, retweets, analyzing sentiment, and so on.

“Those are important metrics for sure,” Mui says. “But how do these metrics tie to the bottom line of a business? That’s what the CEOs most of the Fortune 500 folks that we talk with want to know.”

So companies using the new social reports can tell Google the goal that they’re interested in, whether it’s making a purchase, registering a user, or just having someone click on their about page. Then Google will show you not just how many visits are coming in from social networks (and which social networks in particular), but also how many of those social visits are “converting” to that goal. Mui says the reports also examine the impact that social networks have on a company’s “upper funnel” — in other words, the harder-to-measure cases where they don’t lead directly to a conversion, but may contribute indirectly. So if someone visits your website by following a link from Twitter, then returns in a week to buy something, Google will track that too.

Google can then assign a monetary value to both these “last interaction” and “assisted” conversions. That, in turn, helps companies decide whether the money they might be putting into a social marketing campaign on Facebook or Twitter is actually paying off.

There’s also an Activity Stream tab for tracking what people are saying about your company on social networks. It works with any social network that has connected to Google’s Social Data Hub. In the future, Software Engineering Manager Ilya Grigorik (who, along with some other members of the Google Analytics team, joined Google through the acquisition of social analytics service PostRank) says that other social sites could join, but for now, the big name on the hub is, of course, Google+. (Other participants include Digg, Disqus, and Reddit.)

Speaking of Google+, it’s hard not to notice the way that the social network seems to be creeping into Google’s other products. Mui says that in this case, Google wanted to make sure it followed its famous “do no evil” policy, which means that it provides “the most transparent measurements of the various social channels whether it is Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, or Delicious.” He adds that he’s confident that as Google+ matures and grows, “it’s going to be of value to a large number of merchants and advertisers.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Andres Carvallo Named to 2012 The Networked Grid 100 People

Andres Carvallo, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Proximetry

Andres Carvallo has brought his technical expertise and next-next-thing vision to the smart grid ever since he coined the term “smart grid” as an alternative to EPRI’s “Intelligrid” concept back in 2003, the same year he joined Texas utility Austin Energy. Carvallo ended up as CIO of the utility, which has broken ground on its smart grid efforts. In March 2010, he left Austin to join Grid Net as executive vice president and chief strategy officer, where he led that company’s move away from strict backing of WiMAX toward supporting LTE and other technologies. In April 2011, he made his most recent move to Proximetry, a startup promising an advanced network management platform to keep the smart grid’s disparate systems running.


As the smart grid market continues to move from the fundamental ‘blocking and tackling’ of infrastructure and communications build-out to a wide swath of new, advanced applications ranging from consumer behavior analytics, to next-gen control and protection, to greentech integration and grid optimization, we thought it helpful to once again call attention to those leading the charge. The global upgrade to Grid 2.0 has billions, if not trillions, of dollars, euros, yen and yuan on the table, as well as the future safety and security of our power grids, and it is not a job for the faint of heart. Luckily, the folks on this list are all on top of it. Are these folks in your Rolodex? If not, they should be.

For a comprehensive understanding of the companies leading the global smart grid market, please refer to The Networked Grid 150: The End-to-End Smart Grid Vendor Ecosystem Profiles and Rankings report.

Lastly, if you are hoping to meet many of the Top 100 Movers and Shakers to both introduce yourself and get autographs, the best place to do that is at the upcoming 4th annual Networked Grid conference.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Walmart Buys Facebook's Birthday And Holiday Reminder App Social Calendar

It looks like retail giant Walmart has made another acquisition. The e-commerce giant has bought Social Calendar, an app on Facebook that allows you to get birthday and holiday reminders by email and SMS, and to post personalized photo cards and other virtual greetings on friends’ Facebook Walls on their birthdays.

SocialCalendar, which was founded by Raj Lalwani and David Jordan, lets you plan events among Facebook friends, get movie showtimes and integrate events into a public calendar. Users can also import and get email reminders about events, birthdays and anniversaries and lets users buy virtual good icons as presents for friends and to mark events on calendars.

In 2009, the company debuted a partnership with Hallmark cards (Hallmark also invested in Social Calendar), to allow users to send virtual cards and gifts as well. The app has 15 million installed users and around 400,000 monthly active users. Social Calendar cites 110 million+ birthdays, holidays, other special occasions added by users and sends 10 million email reminders each month.

It should be interesting to see what Walmart does with Social Calendar. The company recently launched Facebook app Shopycat, which suggests gifts based on social profile of a friend. We know that Shopycat will function as an online store itself on Facebook, allowing users to buy from Walmart without ever having to leave the social network. Social Calendar’s technology could be integrated into this app.

Walmart has been acquiring technologies and companies that can help add personalization, mobile, social media and other functionality to their buying process. Over the past year, Walmart has acquired social media technology provider Kosmix, Small Society, and OneRiot. The company also recently invested in Yihaodian, a massive B2C eCommerce company based in China. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Andres Carvallo Keynotes UTC Latin America - Brazil

Mr. Carvallo will deliver the opening keynote on March 22nd.

UTC America Latina Summit 2012 – the Annual Latin America Utility Telecom Conference of the Utilities Telecom Council – will be the largest gathering of ICT executives from electric, gas and water utilities, pipeline companies, and their technology partners from Latin America and the world. The event will feature informative and provocative presentations on utility telecommunication, intelligent grid, advocacy/regulatory issues, latest technologies and financial matters facing utilities throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. In addition, UTC America Latina Summit 2012 will have special networking opportunities and social events.

UTC America Latina Summit 2012 will be an extension of UTC's International program offered by UTC's International Division.  This division spearheads UTC's global efforts as the telecommunications and ICT professional's trade association for electric and gas utilities, water companies, energy pipelines, and other critical infrastructure companies - united worldwide in their commitment to ensuring the best, most reliable systems and networks critical to their core businesses and the customers they serve.

Founded in 1948 in the United States, UTC is now a multi-national organization with a formal presence in Canada and Europe but members around the world. Working together with its technology partners and other corporate telecom/IT users, UTC's ongoing mission is to create a favorable business, regulatory and technical environment in which its members and stakeholders will thrive. UTC does this through a variety of advocacy, regulatory, technological, information and education programs.  UTC America Latina Summit 2012 will launch UTC's efforts to establish a full service trade association focused on the needs of electric, gas and water utilities, pipeline companies and their technology partners in Latin America.