The IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter in 2018 – A Note from the Managing Editor
By Panos Moutis
The year 2017 is coming to an end. In the perspective of the smart grid, it has been all but an uneventful year… Most of you will note that the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement in June has rightfully dominated the headlines across all smart grid news outlets. Undoubtedly, this has been an event that will spark major disruptions in ways industry and academia will research, promote and apply the means to make the grid, its resources, and its methods more efficient, more reliable, more resilient and forward-thinking. Nevertheless, several other stories have had an underlying yet clear connection with the smart grid and our expectations from it.
In March, the UN has reported that all third-world countries, and also a few developing ones, have either been facing or eminently threatened by humanitarian crises, due to increasing challenges in securing a decent standard of living for their people. Starvation, famine, malnutrition, and diseases have been looming over the population of these countries, while the situation is made even worse by failing (if not inexistent) infrastructure, ongoing political unrest and violent civil conflicts. In this context, the supply of some minimum amount of energy, in a robust and efficient manner, is, essentially, a life-preserving matter of utmost importance. In terms of electricity, smarter, decentralized and cheap is the only way to go in the aforementioned cases.
Although the above seem to concern very specific parts of the world, we should not fool ourselves. Misfortune caused by unprecedented and unexpected phenomena of extreme severity is not far from any of us! Hurricanes Harvey in Houston (August), Irma at the Caribbean (September), and Maria in Puerto Rico (September), and earthquakes of 7.1 magnitude in Central Mexico (September) and 7.3 magnitude in Iraq and Iran (November), brought devastation and left these areas crippling for months afterward. This is a warning sign that all territories, even those at the forefront of development, economic growth and prosperity, are not guaranteed a reliable, basic supply of electric power. The cyber attacks aimed at the integrity of the power grid in Ukraine (June) have also shown that the field of cyber security of electrical systems is a matter of immediate concern and criticality.
Previously, the smart grid community has noted many times and at various occasions that the current electricity infrastructure is either underdeveloped or too old for the numbers and quality expected by the end customers of the 21st Century. In other words, we are late in adopting what R&D has been eagerly and wholeheartedly offering us; Dr Pete Wung’s article, following, offers very interesting insights on this.
In light of all the aforementioned observations, 2018 is the year when the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter shifts gear. We understand that the community is still learning the ropes of the deregulated electricity markets, adapting to the ever-increasing penetration of renewables and pushing hard for policy and regulatory updates, but ongoing and coming practical challenges need to be identified and stated clearly. To this end, the newsletter will host special issues on major events and publications that have touched the smart grid deeply and in practice the past two years.
As you may have noticed, during November 2017 a Call for Articles has been circulated, inviting commentary on the U.S. Dept. of Energy Reliability Report (for the issue of January 2018). Similar special issues addressing current matters in the field have already been planned for the first half of the year. To offer you a taste, we are planning special issues on the IEEE 1547 standard (Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems), the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, the National Electricity plan of India, and others of similar nature.
For 2018, we undertake a commitment. Under the guidance of our Editor-in-Chief Dr. Ebrahim Vaahedi, and with the invaluable assistance of our editorial board (Frances Bell, Dr Pardis Khayyer, Dr Sathish Chandran, Dr Mehrdad Rostami, Dr Mehmet Cintuglu, and Dr Geev Mokryani), we commit ourselves to your service, in order to bring the “news” to the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter.
Concluding this piece, I would like, through this editorial, to kindly invite you, our loyal readers, followers and community members, to contribute your ideas by contacting us with topics concerning the smart grid, which you believe should be promptly and properly addressed and analyzed. Let this be a reminder to us all: the smart grid is not an end-goal, but an ever-advancing process, that needs us all onboard. We expect and welcome you to contribute. Please send your suggestions to email@example.com.
Panayiotis (Panos) Moutis, Managing Editor of the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter, is a postdoctoral research associate at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA, and a technical consultant with 10 years of experience on Renewable Energy Sources investments in Greece. He has published more than 15 papers on topics concerning the management and control of distributed generation and storage resources based on various smart grid paradigms. In 2013, he won the “IEEE Sustainability 360o Contest” on the topic of Power, and in 2014 he was awarded a fellowship by Arup (through the University of Greenwich, UK) on the “Research Challenge of Balancing Urban Microgrids in Future Planned Communities." Between 2007 and 2015 he contributed in over a dozen R&D projects funded by the European Commission. Panos received both his diploma and his PhD degrees in electrical & computer engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. His research interests lie in the field of virtual power plants, microgrids, distributed resources integration and application of artificial intelligence to power system management and control. He is a senior member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society, IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, IEEE Computational Intelligence Society and IEEE Computer Society.