We have a number of recognized transmission and distribution experts serving on our board of "Grid Masters." Several times each month we’ll post what we judge to be the toughest questions that also have high interest to our readers. At least one of our experts will respond. Want to challenge our Grid Masters for a chance to win?

This week’s question and answer:

Q: The media excitement about smart grid has worn off. Besides smart meter installations, what else is happening that will affect utility customers? Or will they know the difference?

--Anon (USA)

A: Unfortunately many media often respond to technology advancements in a somewhat sensational manner. After a splash there is often a long period of silence and no follow up. However, Smart Grid has not worn off. It is alive and well. Smart metering (AMR and AMI) is only a small portion of the smart Grid quiet revolution. Just to list a few key initiatives:

  • Distribution network automation - FDIR - Fault Detection Isolation and Restoration and automated DR (disaster recover) systems
  • Intelligent asset health management of transmission and distribution infrastructures
  • Microgrids - on-the-grid and off-the-grid operations, active load management, campus-wide and building microgrids, DC microgrids,
  • Energy storage at different system levels (residential, community, T&D network) including battery storage, reuse of EV batteries for community network applications, etc.
  • Intelligent integration of renewable resources at different levels of power system (transmission, distribution, residential/commercial)- particularly wind and solar.

Each of the above bullets is a subject by itself and we encourage the readers to explore these initiatives. We also hope that media will keep an eye on these developments remembering that smart grid is not a one-time splash but a journey that will take a few years but at the end it will transform the entire society, users and providers alike, and change forever how we generate and utilize energy in an environmentally conscious and sustainable way.

--Dr. Mietek Glinkowski, P.E
Global Head of Technology
ABB Inc.

See previous questions and answers and join the discussion. Add your comments below: