Interview with John Kelly

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Over the past seven years, John Kelly worked with an industry team of leaders to research and develop microgrids and supporting standards. Mr. Kelly authored numerous research papers on electricity reliability, markets, and pricing, as well as, smart grid cost/benefit and best practices for electricity policy reform.

He provided consulting services to the energy for 30 years, developing innovative sustainable energy plans and designs for large multi-use developments and cities. Mr. Kelly held leadership positions with Duke Engineering and Gas Technology Institute then co-founding a sustainable energy.

He holds a B.S. in energy engineering and certificate in environmental engineering. He founded and served on the board of the non-profit Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and is board chairman for Local Energy Aggregation Networks.

In this interview, John Kelly answers questions regarding his IEEE Smart Grid webinar. To view this webinar on-demand, click here.


QUESTION: Assuming a non-utility microgrid is unable to self-supply 100 percent (the utility still supplies part of the microgrid load needs), how can utility SAIDI be calculated when both utility and non-utility facilities are serving customers?

We look at the utility as being a supplier to the microgrid. We look at the customer SAIDI.

Can you please explain islanding?

Islanding is the capability to isolate a campus or building from the grid and operate all or a portion of the demand.

Why the name "micro" in microgrid? What does it signify?

Microgrid designates a smaller subset of a utility distribution system including a few substations, one substation, or several buildings.

Has secure communication standards and protocols for automated functions been established?

NIST has established cybersecurity standards (related to smart grid), but we think more work is needed at a practical level.

Do damage prevention credits only apply to physical measures? How about cybersecurity of the site?

The damage prevention credit is focused on physical threats. PEER includes a separate credit addressing cybersecurity.

How can we improve energy efficiency other than renewable energy?

Co-generation or combined cycle generation (gas turbine with a steam turbine) can significantly improve power energy efficiency. Projects can also leverage backpressure steam turbines.

How do you differentiate a virtual power plant from a microgrid?

A virtual power plant is typically the aggregation of smaller power plants either connected directly to the grid or behind a customer meter. This sometimes includes automated load reduction.

In a true islanding situation or remote off-grid scenario, could a microgrid be all DER generation like solar PV?

Yes. However, this requires advanced load control to balance solar output with project demand in real-time.

Could you please explain IEEE 2030, the smart grid interoperability standard?

It is a new IEEE standard that establishes a reference model for interoperability with the objective of getting all of the smart grid pieces to work together.

How do you evaluate the potential synchronization and stability issues when microgrids reconnect to the main utility grid?

The power quality related to the transition is not currently covered in PEER, but we do look at how long a customer might lose power during the transition.

What is the potential of Open ADR to get involved with microgrids?

We think it has good potential, but we are not sure how aligned it is with standards such as IEEE 2030.