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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.

 

Category: Transmission/Distribution

Transmission/Distribution


Comprehensive Study Shows Decreasing Emissions from Local Natural Gas Distribution Systems

American Gas Association News Release, Mar. 31, 2015.
https://www.aga.org/news/news-releases/comprehensive-study-shows-decreasing-emissions-local-natural-gas-distribution

"A study published today in Environmental Science & Technology led by a team from Washington State University (WSU) found that emissions from local natural gas distribution systems in cities and towns throughout the U.S. have decreased in the past 20 years, to levels 36 to 70 percent lower than current estimates. This reduction reflects significant upgrades at metering and regulating stations, improvements in leak detection and maintenance activities and replacement of older pipeline materials."

Distribution and Substation Transformers: Design & Installation

Solar Pro, Mar./Apr. 2015, by Alexey Kondrashov and Tobin Booth.
http://solarprofessional.com/articles/design-installation/distribution-and-substation-transformers?v=disable_pagination

"In this article, we cover the fundamentals of transformer construction and operation. We discuss the general use of distribution and substation transformers in commercial and utility solar applications. We consider important transformer ratings and features. Finally, we summarize factory and field tests. If you do not take these considerations into account, the humble transformer can trip up your whole project. Our goal is to provide a definitive and practical guide that will help you select and specify pad-mounted distribution transformers for commercial and utility solar facilities."

EPRI Unveils Benefit-Cost Framework for an Integrated Grid

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Press Release, Feb. 16, 2015.
http://www.epri.com/Press-Releases/Pages/EPRI-Unveils-Benefit-Cost-Framework-for-an-Integrated-Grid.aspx

"The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released today a framework that all stakeholders in the electricity sector can use to assess benefits and costs of technologies and systems related to the integration of distributed energy resources (DER), such as solar, wind and micro-grids, into the planning and operations of the electric system. EPRI also identified a series of pilot projects in which the framework can be applied, potentially providing the electricity sector with technical and financial insights and a roadmap to support the deployment of what EPRI calls "The Integrated Grid," or one that makes best and fullest use of both central and distributed energy resources."

Energy Efficiency as a T&D Resource

Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), Jan. 2015, by Chris Neme & Jim Grevatt, of the Energy Futures Group.
http://www.neep.org/sites/default/files/products/EMV-Forum-Geo-Targeting_Final_2015-01-20.pdf

"This report focuses on the role efficiency can play in deferring utility transmission and distribution (T&D) system investments. In particular, it addresses the role that intentional targeting of efficiency programs to specific constrained geographies – either by itself or in concert with demand  response, distributed generation and/or other “non-wires alternatives” (NWAs)2 – can play in deferring such investments. The report focuses primarily on electric T&D deferral, since that is where efforts in this area have focused to date. However, the concepts should be equally applicable to natural gas delivery infrastructure."

Smart Start for Public Power: Utilities Modernize the Grid

Public Power, Jan./Feb. 2015, by Laurel Lunstrom.
http://www.publicpower.org/Media/magazine/ArticleDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=42905

"Like the smart phone, the smart meter has become a ubiquitous part of living in the digital age. Some public power utilities that just five years ago were thinking about the smart meter as a thing of the future have now modernized their infrastructure in a way that not only includes smart meters and the communications systems that go with them, but also upgrades that have affected their entire way of doing business. Making utilities smarter has contributed to a greener environment, resulted in happier customers and, for some, has already provided lucrative returns on their multimillion-dollar smart grid investments."

Your Own Energy “Island”? ORNL Microgrid Could Standardize Small, Self-Sustaining Electric Grids

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oct. 2014, by Katie Jones.
http://www.ornl.gov/ornl/news/features/2014/a47cc734-54f3-4aec-95ba-df1bbbdb25ad

"Microgrids are designed to not only continue power to local units such as neighborhoods, hospitals or industrial parks but also improve energy efficiency and reduce cost when connected to the main grid. Researchers predict an energy future more like a marketplace in which utility customers with access to solar panels, battery packs, plug-in vehicles and other sources of distributed energy can compare energy prices, switch on the best deals and even sell back unused power to utility companies. However, before interested consumers can plug into their own energy islands, researchers at facilities such as ORNL’s Distributed Energy Control and Communication (DECC) lab need to develop tools for controlling a reliable, safe and efficient microgrid."

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell': How Utilities are Powering the Marijuana Industry

Utility Dive, Oct. 23, 2014, by Robert Walton.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/dont-ask-dont-tell-how-utilities-are-powering-the-marijuana-industry/322565/

"Marijuana—legal or otherwise—requires a lot of power to produce. And in the Pacific Northwest, utilities are now facing the complicated task of efficiently meeting that demand while navigating a set of opposing laws."

Building a Stronger Grid

Electric Perspectives, Sept./Oct. 2014, by Elisa Wood.
http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=223729&p=34

"Utilities are investing billions of dollars in the nation's transmission system to improve reliability, relieve congestion, facilitate competition, and support a diverse and changing generation portfolio."


AMI-Based Load Research

Rural Electric Magazine, Aug. 2014, by Reed Karaim.
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nreca/re0814/index.php?startid=38

"Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) project proves value of smart meters in load analysis."

This is the 2nd in a series of articles on the $68 million Smart Grid Demonstration Project, a U.S. Department of Energy initiative undertaken by NRECA's Cooperative Research Network and 23 electric cooperatives. The 1st article, Testing the Smart Grid, is at https://remagazine.cooperative.com/About/PastIssues/Jul2014/Pages/CRN.aspx

Undergrounding Gains Ground

Public Power, Jul/Aug 2014, by Brent Barker.
http://www.publicpower.org/Media/magazine/ArticleDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=41392

"After every storm that leaves the overhead electric distribution system in shambles, the inevitable question arises: “Why not put it underground?” The fervor usually cools once the parties begin to look at costs. Undergrounding remains an expensive proposition—about three to five times the cost of overhead."
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