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Grid optimization is the process of making the power grid as good as possible. But even though the grid optimization concept is simple, the practice is complex because it involves multiple variables and tradeoffs. In power grid optimization, we must find just the right balance between reliability, availability, efficiency and cost. Fortunately, the smart grid offers a number of grid optimization solutions. First, smart devices gather information, providing a more accurate and detailed understanding. Second, smart software analyzes that data and suggests grid optimization adjustments to wring maximum value from grid assets. Scroll down for grid optimization, Volt/VAR optimization and related resources.

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Grid optimization toolkit

grid optimization, smart grid, Volt/VAR optimization, Volt/VAR control, grid optimization solutions
Smart meters may get most of the attention, but many would argue that grid optimization is how utilities and their customers are going to get the most bang for their buck. So what is grid optimization, and how do we bring it out of the smart grid closet? You'll find answers in our one-stop grid optimization toolkit, which is packed with the analysis, trends and resources you need to get up to speed.

Forget Russia and China. The real threat to the power grid is from... the Sun???

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, solar storms, electric grid threats, electric utilities
Most of the threats to electric grids are well-known, from random shooting incidents to very well-orchestrated cyber attacks. Click the link to read about what could be a much more catastrophic threat from the sun… geomagnetic solar storms. “It may be a 100-year” event. So was Hurricane Sandy.

Nanogrids: Evolving our electricity systems from the bottom up

This paper defines nanogrids, delves into their existing and potential characteristics, and proposes some principles for standard interfaces between nanogrids and with microgrids.

Should we be working on a strong grid instead?

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, grid resilience, grid modernization, grid optimization
With the number of power outages growing steadily since 1990, is it possible we should be focusing more on a strong and resilient power grid and less on how green it is? Click to read an argument that advocates reliability and strength over other goals.

Smart grid wins: It’s been a busy (and global) week for smart grid projects

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid companies, smart grid projects, energy storage, metering, transmission, communications
You’ll see some familiar and not so familiar names in this week’s roundup of smart projects and developments. It’s a diverse collection including metering, energy storage, outage management and more. And they’re happening in a variety of locations, from the US to Scotland, Saudi Arabia and India.

The value signal that can revolutionize when and where utilities spend their money

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid strategy, electric utility investments, value signals, operating costs
Determining the right time and place to make investments can be a tricky business for utilities, particularly when they don’t know the cost of providing service for each customer. Guest author Tom Osterhus shares some very interesting thoughts about a value signal that could completely change the way utilities determine how and where to make those investments.

The consumer-centric approach that can reverse the utility death spiral (New York is on this path)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, consumer engagement, utility business model, utility death spiral, Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative
The utility “death spiral” predicted by energy and financial analysts does not have to come anytime soon if at all, says the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative’s Patty Durand. She explains New York’s initiative to revamp the role of utilities and develop a consumer-centric approach to energy markets that could bring a new era of “retail power.”

Massachusetts to utilities: Thou shalt modernize (for at least 10 years straight)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, Massachusetts, energy efficiency, renewable energy, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Massachusetts already has a reputation for its commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy. Now the state is taking it one or two steps further. Regulators have issued orders requiring the state’s electric distribution companies to modernize the electric grid.

How to mature your grid operations (from an industry insider)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, data analytics, AMI, smart meters, smart grid software, electric utility operations
In the first two parts of his series on the operations maturity model, guest author Kai Hui explained how utilities can measure their progress and move up the maturity scale more quickly. His final installment covers integrated software and its critical importance in the operations maturity process.

Are you smart enough to run a smart grid? How to grade your operations IQ

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, AMI, smart meters, data, data analytics, utility operations
All the smart meter data in the world isn’t going to do much good if a utility is unable to efficiently and effectively interpret and extract value from it. In the first of a three-part series, long-time utility insider Kai Hui explains the operations maturity model and how utilities can use it to judge if they are making the most of the data they have available.

Coming soon? Power lines that can tell you whether they are swaying in the wind

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, transmission, distribution, grid optimization, asset management, outage management, sensors, electric utilities
Power line movement can be a problem if a line blown by the wind touches trees, buildings or other lines. It can also cause line fatigue. A Washington state company recently filed a patent for putting accelerometers on power lines to determine if and how they are moving, which could help prevent mechanical failure.

Grid planners -- stop leaving out storage!

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, smart grid markets, electric utilities, grid optimization
Despite progress, the cost of grid-scale energy storage continues to inhibit its growth. But cost isn’t the only reason for slow growth. A new report from the Energy Storage Association says the grid modeling and planning software widely used today is simply not equipped to properly value storage as an integrated grid asset.

What to do when you have TOO MUCH solar power (think inverters)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, solar power, solar power integration, smart solar inverters, electric utilities
Earlier in the solar power boom, utilities pleaded for smart solar inverters to help them deal with integrating the intermittent source of energy. Now there are several flavors to choose from. We take a look at two examples.

Solid growth expected in several smart grid markets

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid markets, renewable energy, outage management
Current market research reports have good things to say about renewable energy, building energy management systems, smart grid as a service and other smart grid sectors. The reports were selected at random and don’t reflect on all smart grid markets. But they’re still encouraging.

Where to look for smart grid leadership? Try China

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid investment, China smart grid
For the first time, China’s spending on smart grid last year topped U.S. investments. While spending in the U.S. fell by a third, China spent $4.3 billion and plans to spend $100 billion over the next 10 years on power distribution system upgrades. Click for details on the country’s extremely ambitious smart grid plans.

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