Year in Review: Publication Committee
At the dawn of 2020 we witness what can only be described as an unprecedented focus on Smart Grid paradigms and applications. The devastating forest fires in California that led to massive and long service interruptions for thousands of customers in the area, brought to the center stage the idea of operating numbers or parts of feeders as microgrids. For years, the premises of organizing customers and their distributed resources as microgrids have been researched in-depth and from multiple perspectives. Numerous proofs of concept of fully operational microgrids have been tested in the framework of R&D projects at universities, laboratories, and limited real systems. Nevertheless, the obstacles of policy and standardization have seemed unsurmountable. Until the tragic fires in California. After those events regulators, operators, utilities and the public have been considering the microgrid as a valid alternative to the “lights out” option employed to the day.
And this is not the end of Smart Grid references in mainstream media and everyday discussions. Battery energy storage systems (BESS) have been crawling up the cover pages of major outlets with the appealing investment potentials they can promise. Rampant research in the field to make the products cheaper and more efficient is another driver that stimulates much interest.
At the same time, the green deals as recurring topics in the 2020 US presidential race, Greta Thunberg’s courageous stand as an unexpected – but fresh, clear and loud – voice for climate change action for the whole world, and the ever-growing penetration of renewables in power systems, shape another concern for Smart Grid thinkers and leaders. How can more and more resources of stochastic nature, which can technically not guarantee system stability (decoupled from the rotating masses of conventional machines) keep gaining more ground without risking grid operation? A new future seems to be shaping towards a direction that is largely uncharted. Inertia-less (or minimum inertia) power systems and systems dominated by Direct Current (DC) transmission lines seem to be favored in a landscape that seeks maximum efficiency with minimum costs and power quality concerns. DC coupled hybrid distributed energy resources (DERs) are now quite common. Smart Grid applications and research has been exploring some of these aspects and ideas are plenty for deeper considerations.
In 2019 we issued 11 monthly newsletters each typically containing 4-5 articles. Each article was reviewed by one of the editorial board members and finalized ahead of publication with authors’ revisions and corrections. We tried to pick the most recent and advanced topics for each month. Every issue was hit almost 20 thousand times, a number which we saw growing on a monthly basis. For the December issue, besides the year-in-review articles provided by IEEE smart grid committee chairs, we also picked the four most viewed articles of 2019 to revisit them once again. At the same time, we plan to gradually increase the number of articles per newsletter issue in 2020. We take this opportunity to thank all the editorial board members who tried to keep the quality of the published articles at the highest level and, thus, address the most recent problems and issues arising in the field of the smart grid. We do sincerely hope that we perform even better in 2020 than we did in 2019. We wish to thank wholeheartedly all the authors who contributed to the Smart Grid newsletter, the editors who dedicated their time and knowledge and everybody who kept all activities of the IEEE Smart Grid up and running during the past year. We especially thank Phyllis Caputo, an IEEE Smart Grid program manager for her wonderful performance and work during the past year.
The Newsletter throughout 2020 will seek to address many of the current matters that were also mentioned earlier, starting in the first quarter with the value of storage systems, the most recent protection concerns and practices, and the control requirements and aspirations for renewables all in the premises of Smart Grid applications and mind-set.
We wish you all to keep enjoying our Newsletter articles and feel free to revisit others of our most-read articles in our Resource Center, too. With the holiday season and the new year upon us, we also wish you the best for your families, your works and your aspirations. We are thankful for your support to the IEEE Smart Grid and the Newsletter!