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IEEE: The expertise to make smart grid a reality

IEEE Smart Grid Experts Roundup: AC vs. DC Power

A New Battle of the Currents

Advances in technology and the increase of devices that can generate or operate on DC power are again raising the debate over AC vs. DC power. Eliminating conversions from DC to AC and vice versa can greatly improve the efficiency of both the grid and the devices that can operate in a DC mode. Solar photovoltaic panels, batteries and fuel cells generate/store DC power, and residential, commercial, and industrial facilities are projected to increase DC electrical loads that do not require first converting to AC.

In developed regions of the world where the AC power grid is well established, it may not be feasible to change over large portions of the existing grid to DC. However, certain aspects of the grid, such as distribution primaries and secondaries may be candidates for a DC revolution. World regions where electric infrastructure is developing may have a greater opportunity to take advantage of the economic benefits of being able to adopt the latest innovations in DC energy production, transportation, and end-use technologies. 

With this in mind, several IEEE Smart Grid experts were asked to provide their input to the question:

"What do you see as the future of AC and DC power, relating to various world regions?"

Interview with Maik Seewald

In this wide-ranging interview, Maik Seewald explains that a sound architecture is needed to bring coherence to Smart Grid systems and facilitate effective stakeholder participation in Smart Grid projects. He emphasizes the role IP technologies will play in Smart Grids, discusses strategies for deploying security and cybersecurity solutions, and notes recent developments in grid automation. He also discusses the importance of distributed intelligence in the Smart Grid.

Question: What are the key architectural considerations utilities should keep in mind as they evolve to Smart Grid?

Interview with Ralph Masiello

In this interview, Ralph Masiello discusses the role microgrids play in helping businesses and utilities improve energy security while reducing energy costs and emissions. He provides very recent examples of technology advancements that are helping spur microgrid deployments, highlights customer sectors that have compelling microgrid strategies, and raises some of the issues power engineers and utility experts must consider as they evaluate the impacts of microgrids on their systems.

Question: Microgrids are gaining interest among large utility customers. What are the main business and energy issues that are driving this increased interest?

Interview with Wanda Reder

In this interview, Wanda Reder explains that Smart Grid has an important role to play in helping bolster economic vitality and an improved way of life. She urges the utility industry and ecosystem participants to work together to make the electric grid modernization investments and policy changes needed to bring Smart Grid to reality.

Question: Consumer electricity usage has changed substantially in recent years. How is consumption changing and how does this influence the need for Smart Grid?

Interview with Bob Saint

In this interview, Bob Saint summarizes some of the roles electric cooperatives have played in advancing the commercialization of Smart Grid technologies. He also shares some of results from recent demonstration projects, conducted at rural electric cooperatives, to develop cybersecurity and distributed generation impact modeling technologies that utilities can include in their Smart Grid implementations.

Question: How do you expect the Smart Grid industry to evolve over the course of the next five or ten years?

IEEE Smart Grid Cyber Security Round Up

Discussion of cyber security and the connected, modernized grid is trending very high right now and, as can be expected with a topic this important, there is much Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD). IEEE’s Smart Grid subject matter experts cut through the FUD and give us their reasoned responses to the questions:

Will a connected grid will be more vulnerable to attack? Can we keep a connected grid more secure than the Internet itself?

Interview with Gregorio Cappuccino

Gregorio Cappuccino, an IEEE senior member, is a member of the IEEE Technical Committee on Analog and Signal Processing, a member of the Advisory Committee for the IEEE Transportation Electrification Initiative and associate editor for the Journal of Circuits, Systems and Computers and the Journal of Low Power Electronics and Applications. He is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science Engineering, Modeling, Electronics, and Systems at the University of Calabria, Italy.

Gregorio Cappuccino, an IEEE senior member, is a member of the IEEE Technical Committee on Analog and Signal Processing, a member of the Advisory Committee for the IEEE Transportation Electrification Initiative and associate editor for the Journal of Circuits, Systems and Computers and the Journal of Low Power Electronics and Applications. He is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science Engineering, Modeling, Electronics, and Systems at the University of Calabria, Italy.

In this interview, Gregorio Cappuccino discusses technologies and markets for energy storage, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications and his view of international efforts in grid modernization.

Question: What is your view of IEEE’s work as it relates to grid modernization?

Interview with Dave Bassett

David Bassett is an IEEE Smart Grid technical expert, a Senior Member of IEEE and a member of the IEEE Standards Board. He has helped lead development of IEEE 1547™ standards and has contributed to IEEE 2030™ standardization efforts. Recently retired, Bassett is engaged, as an industry consultant, in utility phasor measurement unit projects and Aurora event analysis.

In this wide-ranging interview, David Bassett asserts that utilities need to come up with new and imaginative ways of presenting energy data to customers to encourage customer participation in Smart Grid. He discusses challenges associated with connecting customer-owned generation to the grid, solutions needed for controlling distributed resources, and the communications and computational technologies Smart Grid will require.

Question: You have said that it will take not only time and effort to realize the Smart Grid but that it will also take a lot of imagination. How can the industry be imaginative about Smart Grid?

IA Round-up of IEEE Smart Grid Expert Opinions on What Will be the Most Important Development to the Grid in 2013

Many prognostications are made about the development of the electric infrastructure in years to come, five, ten, twenty years out. IEEE Smart Grid thought it would be useful to hear what some of its Smart Grid experts think will be the most important development to the grid this year, a much more difficult query without the luxury of a distant time frame to shade the possibilities.

In this roundup: Massoud Amin, Sam Sciacca, Erich Gunther, Steven Collier, and John McDonald weigh in.

Interview with Thomas S. Basso

Thomas S. Basso, IEEE Smart Grid technical expert and senior member of IEEE, is  a Senior Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for the Electricity, Resources and Building Systems Integration, Distributed Energy Systems Integration Group.

In this interview, Thomas Basso sorts out the subtle but important differences between renewable energy resources and distributed generation. He also gives his perspective on the trend toward renewable energy generation, the challenges and value it has for utilities, and the related topics of microgrids and islanding – all terms that need some explaining.

Question: We hear a lot about distributed generation in the media these days. It appears to be a topic that means different things to different people. But before we get into that, could you tell us why, in your opinion, the idea of distributed generation has become so popular?