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Plugging Into the Future: Smart Grids
(Released November 2009)

  by Marianne Stanczak  


Key Citations




Resources Articles
Historical Newspapers



    Wald, Matthew L, Rachel's Democracy & Health News, 02-12-2009

    Washington - Environmentalists dream of a bigger and "smarter" electric grid that could move vast amounts of clean electricity from windswept plains and sunny deserts to distant cities. Such a grid, they argue, could help utilities match demand with supply on the hottest afternoons, allow customers to decide when to run their appliances and decrease the risk of blackouts, like the one that paralyzed much of the East in 2003. The Obama administration has vowed to make the grid smarter and tougher, allocating $11 billion in grants and loan guarantees to the task in the economic stimulus package passed by the House last week. But it will take a lot more than money to transform the grid from a form that served well in the last century, when electricity was produced mostly near the point of consumption, and when the imperative was meeting demand, no matter how high it grew. Opposition to power lines from landowners and neighbors, local officials or environmental groups, especially in rural areas, makes expansion difficult - even when the money for it is available. . . .

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's eLibrary

  2. AHAM Comments on Smart Grid

    Appliance Design, 10-01-2009

    The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), Washington, D.C., recently submitted principles developed by its Smart Grid Task Force to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These principles clarify how appliances can effectively operate within a Smart Grid environment, while providing consumer acceptability.

    AHAM submitted comments on July 9, 2009, in response to a Federal Register notice seeking industry comments to the 16 published Smart Grid Interoperability Standards. The 16 standards represent the fi rst standards of hundreds that will be needed to complete a smart grid network. . . .

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's eLibrary

  3. Smart Grid Fuels Controls Trend

    Harris, Angela D, Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, 09-21-2009

    The HVAC industry is perched on the next piece of cutting-edge technology - the emerging smart grid. Still early in its development, the government is working to integrate and manage a new electricity grid designed to monitor and manage energy usage, much like a thermostat monitors and manages the HVAC system.

    In the July 2009 "Smart Grid System Report," issued by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), multiple government departments and smart grid stakeholders examined the status of smart grid deployment, as ordered by Congress. Some of its key findings revealed that connectivity is becoming more standardized and cost effective; and although the technologies to make a smart grid successful have experienced low market infiltration, their markets are beginning to show high growth. . . .

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's eLibrary

  4. Unleashing innovation in electricity generation

    Munson, Richard; Kaarsberg, Tina, Issues in Science and Technology, 03-22-1998

    This nation's electric power industry is undergoing profound change. Just when lawmakers are replacing regulated monopolies with competitive entrepreneurs, a new generation of highly efficient, low-emission, modular power technologies is coming of age. Yet surprisingly little policy discussion, either in the states or in Washington, has focused on how to restructure this giant industry in ways that spur technological innovations and productivity throughout the economy.

    Sheltered from competitive forces, the fossil-fuel efficiency of electric utilities is lower today than in 1963. Regulated monopolies have had no incentive to take advantage of technological advances that have produced electric generating systems that achieve efficiencies approaching 60 percent, or as much as 90 percent when waste heat is recovered. As a result, traditional power companies burn twice as much fuel (and produce twice as much pollution) as necessary. . . .

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's eLibrary

Historical Newspapers


    The Manchester Guardian. Manchester (UK): Sep 13, 1928. pg. 12

    Original Newspaper Image (PDF)


    New York Times. New York, N.Y.: Feb 24, 1966. pg. 21

    Abstract (Summary) ALBANY, Feb. 23 (AP) The chairman of the state Public Service Commission said today he is "reasonably assured" that a massive electrical power failure, similar to the one that darkened the Northeast last Nov. 9, could not happen again.

    Original Newspaper Image (PDF)

  3. In Saudi Arabia, the Sun Shines Bright on Solar Power; American-built system has been declared a success

    BY JUDITH MILLERAL UYAYNAH, Saudi Arabia. New York Times. New York, N.Y.: Nov 1, 1983. pg. C3

    Abstract (Summary) TWO years ago, this village of 3,000 people, only 20 miles from Riyadh, the capital of this kingdom, had no electricity. Today, villagers proudly display their televisions, toasters and other accouterments of an electrified society.

    Original Newspaper Image (PDF)

  4. An Energy Plan; Post-Blackout, We Need Long-Term Strategy

    JAMES E MCGREEVEY. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Aug 24, 2003. pg. NJ11

    Abstract (Summary) WHEN the power went out on millions of people from Detroit to New York, it was indeed a wake-up call that we need to modernize our electric grid. But it was also a clear message that the energy policy debate in Washington has been dominated by special interests . . .

    Original Newspaper Image (PDF)

Taken from ProQuest's Historical Newspapers.


  1. Strategic technologies to enhance power infrastructure security

    by Li, Hao, Ph.D., University of Washington, 2004

    Abstract (Summary)
    The power infrastructure in the U.S. is undergoing unprecedented challenges. It is recognized that the power infrastructure security is an integral part of the national security and the power grids are under-prepared for the various threats that may cause catastrophic consequences. To meet these challenges, this dissertation provides innovative concepts and technologies that are aimed at enhancing the power infrastructure security.

    "Flexible Grid Configuration by Partitioning" is a "smart grid" technology developed to improve power infrastructure robustness. Chapter 2 introduces an efficient heuristic Area-Partitioning Algorithm, which is developed based on the graph spectral partitioning techniques. A power system network can be modeled as an edge-weighted graph. This algorithm takes advantage of the global information available in the eigenvectors of the Laplacian Matrix of the graph to divide the power network into k disjoint areas simultaneously with the consideration of minimizing the generation load imbalance in each area. There are two promising applications for this "smart grid" technology. Chapter 3 presents the idea of partitioning power grids based on the vulnerability considerations. In the approach, a power system is separated into self-sufficient sub-networks at a reduced capacity taking into account important aspects of restoration. Assuming a stable grid of sub-networks is established, a self-healing strategy could be used to gradually bring the power system back to its normal state when risk level goes back to a lower level. This approach is used to reduce the overall system vulnerability due to the potential threats. Chapter 4 discusses the methodology to enhance the wide-area grid shock absorption capability by flexible grid configuration. This methodology can be used to deal with the cascading events that may lead to catastrophic outages. The Area-Partitioning Algorithm combined with a power redispatching and load shedding program is applied to help the wide-area grid survive from the shock (the initial severe fault), which otherwise might evolve into a cascading event. The WECC 179-bus equivalent system is used to demonstrate these methodologies.

    In order to meet the increased demand of skilled professionals who are equipped with state-of-the-art power engineering knowledge and technologies to fulfill the tasks of secure operation of the power infrastructure, Chapter 5 introduces an innovational instruction technique that incorporates new research results, accommodates different student learning styles, and utilizes advanced web-based tools to enhance the teaching effectiveness. Several educational modules have been developed to integrate the new research results on the power infrastructure security. It is shown that recognizing individual differences in the way students learn and adapting teaching methods to accommodate the differences are critical to enhance the quality of power engineering education. The web-based tools: the Internet, the videoconferencing software and the educational modules are powerful tools to realize this object.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database

  2. Computationally efficient weighted updating of statistical parameter estimates for time varying signals with application to power system identification

    by Tuffner, Francis K., Ph.D., University of Wyoming, 2008 , 332 pages

    Abstract (Summary)
    As power demand continues to grow, the power distribution system is placed under greater stress and moves towards unstable conditions. Recent large scale blackouts such as the ones in western United States in 1996 and the eastern United States in 2003 are visible indications of power grid instability. As a result of these large scale outages, researchers are exploring methods to more closely monitor power grid stability and provide power dispatchers this information in a timely manner.

    This dissertation presents three main areas of power grid stability research. The first section looks into weighted updates of statistical parameters for non-stationary signals and their application to the power grid data. The dissertation then moves into an evaluation of 48 hours of western power grid data and the various information it contains. Finally, some initial results from large scale tests conducted on the western power grid are examined.

    The first portion of the presented research centers around weighted updates of statistical parameters. In stochastic processes such as the power system data, individual point estimates will often vary over time around an "average" statistical value. The update method involves the use of a weighting function to provide a weighted time-average of several statistical point estimates to produce an estimated value of the current "average" statistical quantity. Using proven mathematical and signal processing methods, a certain class of weighting functions is implemented into a recursive format. The recursive format is applied to estimating power system quantities of interest in a "real-time" implementation.

    The 48 hours of western power grid data provides a large, multi-day data set to evaluate trends in the power system data as well as estimate power system parameters at different times of the day. Simple methods of estimation such as mean and variance analysis provide basic information about the power grid data during different periods of the day. These simple evaluation techniques are expanded into modified spectrogram techniques to examine specific frequency trends in the power grid data over the 48 hours. Quantitative parameters of these frequency trends are then obtained using signal processing techniques such as least-squares methods and the weighted updates of parameters discussed in the first section. These various evaluation methods provide insight into the trends and behavior of the power system over a multi-day period.

    The final portion of the dissertation examines initial results from large scale tests conducted on the power grid. To help evaluate power grid stability, the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) conducted a series of tests that involved subjecting the power grid to an impulse-like event and injecting a known "input" to the system. The controlled, deterministic inputs to the power system provide valuable information for fitting models to the power system. A major goal of the different large scale tests is to determine optimal parameters for these injected signals as well as the techniques used to model the power system. With the proper parameters of both the input signal and modeling techniques, continuous, real-time estimates of the power system may be possible and help determine points of instability before a blackout or power system failure occurs.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database

  3. Optimization of a small wind-based hybrid electrical grid on the island of San Cristobal in the Galapagos, Ecuador

    by Hinokuma, Ryohei, M.S., University of California, Davis, 2008 , 159 pages

    Abstract (Summary)
    In October 2007, three wind turbines with a total capacity of 2.4 MW were installed and began commercial operation on the island of San Cristobal in the Galapagos, Ecuador. However, because of the intermittency of the wind resource and the mismatch between the wind power production and the electric demand, 56 percent of the wind-based electricity is wasted. As a result, 57 percent of electricity demand is still met by three 650 kW diesel generators.

    This study investigates the potential of three diesel fuel reduction approaches: (1) lowering the electric demand by replacing existing refrigerators and light bulbs with energy efficient units, (2) introducing electric vehicles (EVs) and E-scooters (E-scooters), as a way of storing wind electricity, (3) using a demand response (DR) system as a load shifting strategy to more effectively capture the excess wind resource. DR is utilized through two approaches. The first approach, temporary load-shifting (TLS), requires deferrable loads to be turned off for sufficient time for a generator to put on line, which can reduce the need for spinning reserve. The second approach, permanent load shifting (PLS), defers a portion of the load, up to several hours per day, to another time to utilize the excess wind resource. Each strategy was examined through its fuel saving potential (liter/yr), cost of saving fuel ($/liter), and capital cost ($). (The EV strategy was analyzed solely for its fuel saving potential.)

    The analysis revealed that replacing lighting in addition to PLS offers the highest potential for diesel savings and a cost effective solution. Replacing refrigerators was not found cost-effective if ElecGalapagos paid the full purchase price. Although the diesel saving potential of EVs was found to be high, the potential environmental damage associated with the introduction of lead acid batteries may make them difficult to introduce them on the island. The costs of advanced batteries, such as lithium ion batteries, fail to be cost effective.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database