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Monthly Archives: January 2017

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Wabash Valley Power picks Omnetric Group to implement demand response

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Omnetric Group, the Siemens and Accenture joint venture, today announces that it has been contracted by Wabash Valley Power to implement an upgraded demand response and distributed energy management system.

The system, based on Siemens software, will enable the co-op to better manage load across its network and increase savings for members.

Wabash Valley Power, a not-for-profit generation and transmission electric cooperative serving 23 member distribution co-ops in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, uses demand response to meet its capacity needs in the MISO and PJM wholesale markets resulting in savings for every home, school and business Wabash Valley Power serves.

Building on a prior project success with demand response, today, Omnetric Group’s solution for the utility will provide Wabash Valley Power with a self-contained management system, enabling it to better handle wholesale electricity costs, driving greater consumer savings. The upgraded system will also enable the co-op to integrate demand management with direct control of distributed energy resources to optimize how the grid is balanced. Once the grid is stabilized more renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, can be used to generate power.

With additional resources integrated into a network, a co-op can offer greater reliability, lower costs and more services to their consumers.

Andrew Horstman, Manager of Load Response at Wabash Valley Power said, “We are seeing a growing appetite and competence amongst communities in the US to manage their own energy generation and distribution. With Omnetric Group’s implementation of the DEMS solution, we now not only better manage load across our co-op network, but can test new ways of generating power using renewable energy resources. It’s all part of ensuring we remain at the forefront of industry change while continuing to provide savings for our members”.

Sachin Gupta, Senior Sales Director, Smart Markets at Omnetric Group said, “We are working with Wabash Valley Power to help it better understand and manage energy demand across its network. Implementing an upgraded demand response and distributed energy management system will enable it to actively manage its grid and potentially generate significant member savings while moving towards a future that is smarter, stronger, greener and more diverse”.

By April this year the upgraded Siemens solution will be completely deployed. Omnetric Group will then continue to work with Wabash Valley Power over the following months on pilot projects aimed at managing distributed energy resources across the co-op network, in order to bring more renewable resources onto the grid. 

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ABB wireless network to enable centralized monitoring and control in New York

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Central Hudson Gas & Electric, has begun territory-wide deployment of an ABB wireless communications network, which will provide a foundation for aggregating multiple utility applications through an integrated distribution automation program. The initiative is part of a major system reformation project to improve network efficiency and reliability.

The distribution automation program will revitalize Central Hudson’s distribution grid, improving the utility’s ability to meet demand for uninterrupted power supply. Reliable communications will be a key element of this program involving the deployment of technologies that will enable the centralized monitoring and control of distribution area devices, for the first time.

ABB’s high capacity and resilient field area wireless network will enable communication between the distribution automation equipment such as electronic reclosers, switched capacitor banks and voltage regulators to the main Distribution Management System.

“The deployment of our wireless communication network in this visionary initiative will contribute to the efficiency and reliability of Central Hudson’s mission critical infrastructure and enable more reliable power supply for consumers,” said Massimo Danieli, Managing Director of ABB’s Grid Automation business unit, a part of the company’s Power Grids division.”This is another example of our Next Level strategic focus on enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid through increased automation and digitalization.”

Central Hudson will extend the field area network to smaller substations replacing copper based leased lines in a cost effective way and enabling communication with remote terminal units (RTUs), access relays and other key substation devices. The utility’s gas operations will use the network to connect gas regulator stations, enabling remote pressure monitoring.

“The distribution automation program will significantly increase our ability to deliver safe and reliable power and reduce customer energy use by facilitating better voltage control along our system,” said Dave Dittmann, Manager Transmission Operations And Reliability Compliance, Central Hudson. “The field area network is a core element of our plan and will add to the efficiency of our physical operations as well as power flow on the grid.”

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Siemens 8 MW wind turbine up and running

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Siemens Wind Power has installed the latest version of its offshore direct drive wind turbine at the national test center in Østerild, Denmark – according to plan.

The SWT-8.0-154 is rated at 8 MW and equipped with the proven 154- meter rotor. The prototype was certified by DNV GL in January, confirming all relevant safety features for test operation.

The new offshore wind turbine was installed on a steel tower at a hub height of 120 meters. The prototype will be used for both mechanical and electrical testing. The final type certificate is expected for 2018.

With the full commissioning of the prototype, Siemens will enter the final development phase for the new turbine that allows for up to 10 percent higher annual energy production under offshore wind conditions than the 7 MW model.

The upgrade to 8 MW enables a rated power increase of more than 14 percent from 7 to 8 MW. Similar to the previous upgrade from 6 MW to 7 MW, the 8 MW turbine will benefit from the established supply chain and proven offshore direct drive technology components.

Since the higher rating will be achieved with only a few component upgrades including a new cooling concept and a new control system, customers will again benefit from key value drivers including fast time-to- market and low risk.

“The installation of the SWT-8.0-154 prototype in Østerild is an important milestone in the success story of our offshore direct drive wind turbines,” states Michael Hannibal, CEO Offshore at Siemens Wind Power. “The evolution based on our platform strategy demonstrates that innovation to lower the cost of wind energy can work without compromising the proven reliability of a technically mature product.”

The offshore direct drive is the youngest Siemens wind turbine platform. It has already made an impact: Recently 100 years of combined operation were reached with 2.5 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity produced. The total energy yield harvested by Siemens offshore direct drive generators installed by the end of 2016, corresponds to the energy demand of all households in the city of Munich for an entire year.

This amount of electricity has been produced in less than six years, starting with the first SWT-6.0-120 prototype to large offshore projects now in operation like Westermost Rough in the UK and Gode Wind in German waters. At the same time Siemens’ Offshore Direct Drive platform helped to avoid 1,250,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. This corresponds to the emission of all cars in a city the size of Munich over a period of four months. The latest model SWT-8.0-154 is expected to enter serial production in 2019.

Nearly 150 Siemens offshore direct drive wind turbines have been handed over to customers. More than 600 units of Siemens’ offshore direct drive wind turbines have been sold since the launch of the large gearless turbine in 2011. The innovative product platform incorporates the unique technical experience from more than 2,300 installed offshore turbines and nearly 1,300 onshore direct-drive wind turbines.

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Itron advances interoperability with Wi-SUN Alliance

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Itron is now a Promoter Member of the Wi-SUN Alliance to further advance utility network interoperability.

With this move, Itron is enhancing its already significant commitment to support and promote the Wi-SUN Alliance in its mission to “advance seamless connectivity by promoting IEEE 802.15.4g standard based interoperability for global and regional markets.”

The Wi-SUN Alliance provides a forum for global collaboration to achieve smart city and smart utility communications network interoperability by creating industry-agreed standards and a robust testing and certification program. It also provides marketing resources and collateral to increase awareness of its mission.

“Utilities and municipalities are demanding interoperability between devices so they can seamlessly connect and share their networks to enable the Active Grid and smart city applications. As a Promoter member of the Wi-SUN Alliance, we are committed to delivering that outcome,” said Simon Pontin, Itron’s chief technology officer. “With this new membership level, we are increasing our commitment to network communications interoperability by devoting additional resources toward the development and evolution of the Wi-SUN standards and the promotion of the Wi-SUN Alliance.”

Itron’s OpenWay Riva adaptive communications technology received Wi-SUN PHY certification in 2015, validating its interoperability with devices using the IEEE802.15.4g wireless standard. Adaptive communications technology delivers high-performance communications with assured connectivity using one unified network and communication solution that includes radio frequency and power line carrier (PLC). Itron’s OpenWay Riva PLC communication is designed for compliance with the Netricity standard, which was recently incorporated into the Wi-SUN Alliance’s portfolio of standards, ensuring the evolution of highly interoperable Wi-SUN RF mesh and PLC field area networks. 

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ConEdison buys key assets of Juhl Energy

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Juhl Energy a provider of clean energy solutions, sold certain of its unit companies to ConEdison Development, one of America’s largest owners and operators of renewable energy infrastructure projects.

“This transaction represents the culmination of our successes over the past eight years and the strength of our ongoing business plan,” stated Dan Juhl, Chairman and CEO of Juhl Energy. “We are honored to have sold these particular components of our business to a renewable energy company such as ConEdison Development. We’re confident that CED has the capacity to create further value from these assets, while we devote our future efforts to three key areas in which we believe we possess a clear leadership position,” added Juhl.

“Our ongoing focus will be centered on projects under 20 MWs, and specifically, the development of our standardized 5 MW wind/solar hybrid systems designed for rural communities and municipal electric companies. In addition, through our engineering subsidiary, Power Engineers Collaborative, LLC, we are seeing a growing pipeline of wind, solar and combined heat/power projects in this same size range for industrial, college, and healthcare campuses. Finally, we expect to rebuild our asset ownership business with new acquisitions of renewable energy assets under 20 MWs across our areas of expertise,” continued Juhl.

“With this transaction, our balance sheet has been substantially strengthened with a strong cash position and the extinguishment of all of our long-term debt,” said John Brand, Chief Financial Officer of Juhl Energy, Inc. “We expect that the proceeds from this transaction will allow us to provide a return to our shareholders in the form of either stock repurchases or a dividend during 2017. Of course, this is subject to a full analysis of our tax obligations, ongoing working capital needs and approval of our board of directors,” added Brand.

While specific details of the transaction have not been disclosed, highlights of the acquisition include:

‐ CED has purchased Juhl Energy’s interest in a portfolio of three operating wind projects that have a total capacity of about 36 MW and are located in Minnesota and Iowa.

‐ CED has also acquired Juhl Energy Service Inc.’s operating and maintenance (O&M) services business. The O&M unit currently supports ten individual projects and associated personnel.

‐ CED also acquired Juhl Energy’s interest in a pipeline of wind projects, primarily larger projects, consisting of about 500 MW in the Mid-West.

CED and Juhl Energy expect to continue to co-develop projects together over the next few years.

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Landis+Gyr to introduce Engage platform at DistribuTECH 2017

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Landis+Gyr, a global leader in transforming the way energy is delivered and managed, will introduce its Engage solution suite at DistribuTECH 2017. Engage brings together a wide-range of applications to support consumer involvement in making load management and distributed energy resource decisions.

“Consumers are responding to new and expanded energy choices, and as a result we see an opportunity for utilities to enhance their customer relationships. The Engage platform delivers a complete package for utilities seeking to involve consumers in energy and capacity optimization choices,” said John Radgowski, Vice President of Solutions Product Management at Landis+Gyr. “It supports both utility-directed and consumer-driven options for demand response and targeted load management.”

A centerpiece of this solution is the online Marketplace which provides a turnkey storefront for utilities to offer energy management devices directly to consumers – from thermostats and lightbulbs to water heaters and power strips. Marketplace also recommends and offers other energy saving product options to consumers, and helps streamline program participation to make it more convenient and accessible. A soon-to-be-released function of this portal will expand load management capabilities by offering rewards programs to consumers based on incentives for voluntary load reduction during peak periods.

These new functions complement Landis+Gyr’s existing load management applications, including Power Center head-end software and Home Energy Manager, a consumer interface for controlling load management schedules and settings. In addition to Landis+Gyr thermostats and switches, support for customer-purchased Wi-Fi thermostats within Power Center will be released later this year, allowing utilities to offer expanded participation in their demand response programs.

“The challenge of managing load profile on the distribution grid has never been greater, and the Engage platform is one more way Landis+Gyr is assisting our utility customers to balance loads, maintain power quality and protect infrastructure,” Radgowski said. “As part of our consumer intelligence portfolio, Engage automates consumer recruitment and engagement, while ensuring effective demand response programs.”

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ABB launches ARG600 cellular gateway at DistribuTECH 2017

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As part of its continuously growing product offering, ABB at DistribuTECH 2017 has today announced the launch of the ARG600, an industrial-grade LTE cellular gateway.

With its broadband speeds and secure VPN connections, the ARG600 can provide monitoring and control of field devices in remote locations. With this new offering, ABB’s leading edge communication network technology will bring LTE technology to the power distribution network.

The ARG600 enables wireless connectivity utilizing cellular networks to allow customers the ability to access and manage any remote distribution network from a central location. It offers instant TCP/IP-based communication between devices with no additional infrastructure needed beyond the existing cellular network and improves safety to your personnel by remotely retrieving information from the network, allowing condition monitoring and remote management. It also provides best-in-class cyber security with its built in firewall, private addressing and secure VPN connection.

“As the backbone for communication, the Arctic family utilizes wireless cellular networks, making it possible to integrate any grid automation products into secure and cost-effective wireless communication systems with global coverage,” said Richard Lindo, Vice President and General Manager of ABB’s Medium Voltage Distribution Automation Products.  “The Arctic products allow accessing and managing of any remote asset from a central location.”

The ARG600 offers reliable, secure, and cost-effective system connectivity that is application-independent. For more information on the ARG600, visit the website.

DistribuTECH 2017 runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 at the San Diego Convention Center, and ABB will be exhibiting in booth #1301. For more information and to register, please click here.

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At DistribuTECH, Enbala announces energy balancing platform product enhancements

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Enbala Power Networks unveiled a new version of its Symphony by Enbala platform today at DistribuTECH 2017 in San Diego, California.

Symphony is the industry’s leading distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) and the world’s number one Virtual Power Plant (VPP) software.

“As a leader in demand flexibility, Enbala Power Networks is taking performance to the next level with a focus on scalability, accuracy and speed of response to grid services,” said Bud Vos, Enbala President and CEO. “Demand flexibility is certainly key to a distributed and sustainable energy future. However, we believe it’s time to look beyond the technology of yesterday towards solutions that can scale and operate to meet the demanding requirements of a distributed grid and a distributed energy future.”

The platform has been re-architected to take advantage of new technology advancements that better support a digitally connected, distributed energy-rich grid. The new features, which enabled Enbala to demonstrate live software optimization of 100,000 DER assets in real time to DistribuTECH attendees, include:

• Advanced machine learning through which the software can self-learn to continually improve its forecasting and the associated benefits. Machine learning is at the heart of many key components of the new Symphony software.

• Precise, continually updated asset modeling. The new platform leverages continuously streaming sub-metered sensor data to create digital twins of distributed energy assets that exist in the physical world. The software can precisely represent the real-time status and working conditions of millions of assets to fully optimize and improve the ROI of distributed energy resources and thereby defer capital expenditures.

• Time series forecast learning. The new technology uses a long short-term memory (LSTM) recurrent neural network (RNN) architecture to better predict behavior through new capabilities in understanding nuances of time series data and revealing difficult-to-detect patterns in events occurring over long periods of time.

• Agent-based control and optimization. Because the optimal mix of DER assets depends on the current state of these assets at any given moment in time, Symphony leverages a sophisticated agent-based bidding process that can assess millions of assets in sub-seconds.

“Symphony now has a new technology stack that wasn’t even a possibility just a year ago,” noted Mike Ratliff, Enbala Senior Product Executive. “We’ve been able to leverage a new IT reality to create a platform that enables utilities to control millions of assets and respond in seconds to the real-time energy balancing needs of the grid.” Ratliff pointed to several key benefits that the new platform brings to utilities, energy service providers and their customers.

• Improved accuracy – 99.9% accuracy in the precise set point control of each connected DER asset, 24×7, 365 days a year.

• Unlimited scalability – the ability to accommodate exponential growth of DERs on the grid. Symphony can easily manage one million assets with sub five-second response rates and can optimize one million assets every 100 milliseconds.

• Increased grid response speed, with the ability to respond to grid events every two seconds.

“Our goal in building the new platform was to optimize a million or more distributed energy assets connected to our network – always communicating and sending telemetry to the platform, pinpointing the optimal combination of DERs to respond to the constantly shifting needs of the grid 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” said Ratliff. “This is what we’ve done.”

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Pomona Energy Storage Facility opens near natural gas plant

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AltaGas Ltd. celebrated the opening of its Pomona Energy Storage Facility at the site of its existing Pomona natural gas-fired co-generation facility in the East Los Angeles Basin of Southern California.

The project has 20 MW of energy storage capacity. In addition to AltaGas constructing the Facility on time and on budget, the company completed construction of the lithium-ion battery system in less than four months.

“We are pleased to advance our California power strategy by bringing 20 MW of battery storage online within a precedent setting four months,” said David Harris, President and CEO of AltaGas. “Providing energy from electricity stored in lithium-ion batteries provides clean reliable energy that complements California’s renewable energy portfolio while adding to the versatility of our asset base which is well situated for pursuing other energy storage developments.”

In August 2016, AltaGas’ unit, AltaGas Pomona Energy Storage Inc., signed a 10-year energy storage resource adequacy purchase agreement with Southern California Edison for 20 MW of energy storage at AltaGas’ existing Pomona facility.

Under the terms of the ESA, AltaGas will provide SCE with 20 MW of resource adequacy capacity for a continuous four-hour period, which represents the equivalent of 80 MWh of energy discharging capacity.

AltaGas will receive fixed monthly resource adequacy payments under the ESA and will retain the rights to earn additional revenue from the energy and ancillary services provided by the lithium-ion batteries. Commercial operations of the Facility under the terms of the ESA began on December 31, 2016.

“Offsetting periods of peak power with 80 MWh from battery storage is enough power to feed the electricity needs of approximately 15,000 homes over the four-hour period,” said Harris.

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Official: Trump will slash EPA workforce, budget

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The former head of President Donald Trump’s transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency says he expects the new administration to seek significant budget and staff cuts.

Myron Ebell said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press that Trump is likely to seek large reductions to the agency’s workforce — currently about 15,000 employees nationwide. Ebell, who left the transition team last week, declined to discuss specific numbers of EPA staff that could be targeted for pink slips.

Asked what he would personally like to see, however, Ebell said slashing the agency’s size by about half would be a good start.

“Let’s aim for half and see how it works out, and then maybe we’ll want to go further,” said Ebell, who has returned to his position as director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The conservative think tank in Washington opposes “global-warming alarmism” and receives a portion of its funding from corporations and individuals that profit from the continued burning of fossil fuels. Ebell has long been a vocal critic of federal environmental regulations, which he claims are strangling the nation’s economy and impeding job growth.

Though he kept specific recommendations he made to the White House confidential, Ebell suggested it was reasonable to expect the president to seek a cut of about $1 billion from the EPA’s roughly $8 billion annual budget.

About half the EPA’s budget passes through to state and local governments for infrastructure projects and environmental cleanup efforts that Ebell said Trump supports. He said the cuts would likely fall on the remaining half the agency’s budget, which pays for agency operations and environmental enforcement.

“President Trump said during the campaign that he would like to abolish the EPA, or ‘leave a little bit,'” Ebell said. “I think the administration is likely to start proposing cuts to the 15,000 staff, because the fact is that a huge amount of the work of the EPA is actually done by state agencies. It’s not clear why so many employees are needed at the federal level.”

EPA has been roiled by turmoil during its first week under Trump, as members of the transition team issued what it has described as a temporary freeze on all contract approvals and grant awards. Trump’s representatives also instituted a media blackout, clamping down on media releases, social media posts and other external communications issued by career staff.

AP reported Wednesday that Trump’s political appointees have been scrutinizing reports and data published on the agency’s websites for potential removal, especially details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame.

Ebell said Tuesday the purge is necessary because EPA’s leaders under President Barack Obama “politicized” global warming and allowed activists within the agency to publish “junk science.”

“Undoubtedly the federal government has been staffed with scientists who believe the global-warming alarmist agenda,” said Ebell, whose academic credentials are in philosophy and political theory.

Asked about Ebell’s comments, former Republican EPA Administrator William K. Reilly cautioned calm, saying that often transition teams have little to do with what eventually happens in an agency.

“I would tell the EPA staff that, in my experience, transition teams often have zero influence,” said Reilly, who ran the environmental agency under Republican President George H.W. Bush. “They shouldn’t be taken that seriously. They’re just ideologues. They don’t work for and are not even known to the incoming cabinet.”

Trump’s nominee for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, said during his Senate confirmation hearing last week that he disagreed with past statements by the president alleging that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to harm U.S. economic competitiveness. But like Trump, Pruitt has a long history of publicly questioning the validity of climate science and has pledged to dismantle Obama-era regulations aimed at curbing carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Earlier this month, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a joint statement affirming that 2016 was officially the hottest year in recorded history, breaking prior records set in 2015 and 2014. Studies show the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass, while the world’s oceans have risen on average nearly 7 inches in the last century.

“Many studies have shown just how strong that level of consensus in the scientific community is that climate change is happening, it’s caused by humans and the impacts will be significant,” said Keith Seitter, the head of the American Meteorological Society, who has a doctorate in geophysics. “It’s not junk science.”

Ebell insists studies showing climate change poses a serious risk to human civilization are bunk. Though he now accepts global temperatures are increasing, he claims that the warming will be beneficial for most Americans — providing milder winters and longer growing seasons.

“The fact is that in modern society we have the technology to deal with environmental challenges, and that’s why people live in Phoenix,” Ebell said. “Because warm is good, as long as we have air conditioning.”

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