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Getting Smarter
I'm listening to the hearing on Smart Grid development sponsored by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. FERC, DOE, and NIST heads are giving their viewpoints.
 
I've also been reading responses to Jesse Berst's post on Why the Smart Grid Industry Can't Talk the Talk (and What to Do About It). Last night I got an update from the Google Energy and Information group about Google's PowerMeter initiative. (Demo here, along with Tendril and AMEE.)
 
The speaker representing NIST noted with regard to the many suites of standards needed for the smart grid:  "What's desperately needed is an overall roadmap - a coordination effort..." and said this would be available this summer. That would prioritize the development of the standards and DOE's development projects.
 
So hundreds of millions of dollars are being allocated to smarten up the grid...and it's a curious thing to hear Senator Cantwell (representing my home state, actually) talking about APIs, open systems, and IP architectures.
 
On Wednesday at the IEEE Power Systems Computing Conference and Expo we're having a session on CIM. My presentation is not ready yet.
 
I suspect others like myself, those who have been in the industry for decades, might be thinking the same thing...we've been making the grid smarter for a very long time. Now it's important, almost overnight. Doesn't Google know utilities have been helping thousands if not millions of customers view their usage for a least a decade, if not longer? And, where will these federal agencies find the resources to accelerate standards development? I've been trying to hire a senior-level EE for almost a year, with no success.
 
Enough said. On to my presentation...
 
 
Change is in the Wind
While enjoying the sun over lunch today (I really think we need to have a CIM user group meeting in Portland in July) I browsed an article in the Oregonian. A BPA study reports developers want to deliver over 4,700 MW of new wind generation here in the Northwest. On the MAX this morning I was reading the IEEE power & energy magazine's review of Thomas Ackerman's book, Wind Power in Power Systems. How many articles have I read recently about wind integration challenges? And yesterday another young planning engineer - in the next aisle here - announced he was departing to work for another local employer...a wind turbine manufacturer, based in Germany.
 
At the Vasteras meeting Jay Britton offered an astute comment during the "Ask-the-Experts" session. He noted that typically utilities have justified new IT systems on the basis of reduced operational costs - but in reality the investment provides the ability to manage new levels of complexity. This was in the context of a question about who would pay for the streamlining of the utility IT enterprise around emerging standards like CIM. (Obvious benefits - but who pays?) Part of the value CIM offers is improved ability to adapt to business changes and increased business complexity.
 
I have to say, every time I take a broader look at the industry, I am convinced that we are in a time of significant industry change. And complexity is growing. The planning and operational challenges ahead of us are huge.
 
Isn't it great to be part of a team of experts that are working on these challenges? Modeling the industry, right down to its DNA.
Breakfast of Champions
I'm finishing my first day of work after returning to the States from Vasteras. A week ago I was having breakfast and thinking about the differences between Sweden and the U.S. Namely, how much difference a breakfast buffet makes.
 
Here's what was on my dish.
Breakfast of Champions
And I wasn't alone. Kendall the Great was making similar choices. With a healthy spread like this, who could resist?
Kendall Chooses
Maybe it was jet lag, but it occurred to me that choosing CIM and sticking with CIM generally leads to long-term benefits. Kinda like healthy choices leads to healthy arteries. Short-term pain, long-term gain.
 
None of us make healthy choices every time. But those who make healthy choices most of the time find it gets easier as time passes. Is that true for CIM users?
 
Food for thought.
View from Vasteras
It's Wednesday morning and we're going into our second day of the Vasteras meeting. Or the third day, if you count the pre-conference tutorial. Since many of the conference logistics are behind me, I'm starting to be able to enjoy the conference itself.
 
The 4 am sun woke me up so I took a nice run along the lake this morning. Here's a view of the lakefront from the top floor of the conference hotel. Our conference location is next to the oval building in the oval right. ABB's headquarters are the red building to the left with the distinctive tower above it. I'll have to ask what that's all about. 
 
There is a whole lot of material being presented here. We're uploading it as we go - here. We've been inviting people into the new site, but we've only had about six new accounts created so far.
 
I haven't had much spare time, but I have been thinking about the CIM value proposition for utilities. Especially those of us that aren't ISOs or other types of regional authorities - who don't have massive publicly-mandated change initiatives under way. More on that later.