Tag Archives: smart grid

Wish You Had an Easy Button to Save Millions?

By Florian Brandi-Dohrn, AED-SICAD

Connecting renewables to the grid is a complex workflow and process for utilities. For instance, where does one place outlets for electric cars without endangering grid stability and energy provision security? Or, for a new residential area, how does one plan the new lines and connect them to the grid intelligently? These manual processes deserve a better way, especially in an era of continuous digitalization of our core processes. Thankfully, we developed the UT Smart Apps to solve just this challenge.

Some of the leading DSOs are using the UT Smart Apps. These JavaScript-based web clients running in the Esri Portal come in three modular flavors:

PLAN
The PLAN module allows you to create planning projects and scenarios. Design as many scenarios as you like and draw the grid for each scenario as you like. Add the load, or the generated energy at each end point, and use the CAD-like construction tools to be sure that each point is at the right location.

CALC
Second, the CALC module allows you to start a network calculation (e.g., a load flow) with one simple click. Most importantly, this network calculation runs directly on your precious, low-voltage GIS data. . Using the CALC module, you can simulate various planning scenarios. In addition, you can simulate switching scenarios in case you’d like to re-configure the grid due to new, planned assets.

EDIT
Finally, the EDIT module allows you to update the switch status. The correct switch status is an important aspect in the use of these Smart Apps, because the correct topology is a very important piece of information for the network calculation. For ease of use, many users have combined all this functionality into one convenient web app.

Why Use UT Smart Apps?

Those DSOs working with the UT Smart Apps cut down in the technical evaluation of new service points, new renewable plants, or simply electric outlets for cars. Some current users report getting 95% of their technical evaluations down from 15 hours to just 30 minutes. And of course, all technical evaluations are now properly documented, allowing for each decision to be backed up with a proper document detailing the load flow calculation that was run.

The UT Smart Apps save utilities millions of dollars per year, thanks to their dramatic reductions in time spent manually calculating the impact of grid connections. On average, the apps help planning engineers shave 15 hours off the assessment of new grid connections, especially for renewable sources.

AED-SICAD is partnering with Esri Platinum Partner SSP Innovations to implement the UT Smart Apps at U.S. utilities. Find AED-SICAD and SSP in the exhibitor hall at the 2017 Esri User Conference in San Diego, booths 927 and 926. Don’t hesitate to ask either of them about the UT Smart Apps in person.

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Electric Utilities Need Answers

GIS Responds to the Tough Questions

Electric utilities face a new world–one in which the infrastructure is aging along with the workers. The price of everything keeps going up. Customers want better and faster service, but some of them cannot pay their bills. Natural disasters seem to get nastier each year. Governments continue to dole out more and more regulations. The community wants better service, lower emissions, and fewer mishaps. It’s a political nightmare to raise rates. Plus, the new smart grid devices are smothering utility operators with data.

In short: utilities cannot continue to operate as they have been. Utilities need a better way to do business. GIS can help. Continue reading

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Sharing Information to Support Smart Grid

I recently co-presented a session on GIS and the Smart Grid to a group of about 150 folks from the gas and electric utilities and the telecommunications businesses. We thought it might be interesting to have the groups come together since as more and more utilities implement Smart Grid (electric and gas), there will become greater interdependencies on one another. We further thought that this session would be a great opportunity for each company to tell us their current practices on sharing data, problems and issues. The premise was, of course, that since ArcGIS is a platform which facilitates sharing of information, that both groups could give us feedback on how best to facilitate collaboration. Much to our surprise, the groups do not have much collaboration at all. In fact, they hadn’t really considered it very seriously. When I probed them further, I asked, well how do you share information with each other? One utility guy, perhaps, half-jokingly said that he bought his friend from the phone company a beer and that’s when they shared information.

The biggest take away from this session was this: the discussion on this topic hasn’t really started. It should. Continue reading

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Smart Grid Solves Many Problems, Introduces Others

GIS can help you answer tough smart grid questions

Smart grid is about four things:

  • Smart meters—Smart grid gives us more information about the energy we use. Smart meters will help us use less energy. Consequently, we will save money and reduce our carbon footprints.
  • Better electric reliability—Our electric infrastructure is old and fallible. Smart grid includes smart sensors to help utilities locate problems and help the electric utility grid heal itself.
  • Making green energy work—Solar and wind power are quite different from the traditional sources of electricity such as hydro, coal, natural gas, and nuclear. Like the weather, green resources are unpredictable. Smart grid will work to regulate the ebb and flow of renewable energy.
  • Smart grid phone home—By tapping telecommunication networks, smart grid will alert utilities to problems before they even happen. Continue reading
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