UFTO Note - T Line Sag Mitigator Gets Funding; Partner Wanted
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999
UFTO Note - T Line Sag Mitigator Gets Funding; Partner Wanted
Recall this UFTO Note?
Subject: UFTO Note - Sagging Line Mitigator--------------
Date: Mon, 08 Mar 1999
This unique device would replace or work with standard insulated hangers on power transmission towers, to counteract the effect of temperature on the sagging of overhead transmission lines. This allows increased line ampacity (load current capacity) of existing lines during curtailed summer months, reduced tower heights, and/or increased tower spacing. This device will significantly reduce the risk of forest fires and outages caused by sagging lines, increase the efficiency of energy transfer, delay the need for additional line capacity, and delay the construction of new lines.
The developers now have substantial funding from the Calif Energy Commission to proceed with development, and they are looking for a host utility to be involved.
They're proposing that a utility would provide the electrical engineering person(s) they need for the development team. They would cover part of salary and incremental costs. A "recruitment" notice appears below. Other business arrangements are also certainly possible. The important thing for them is to get industry expertise, and for the utility, early access to a possibly very significant transmission system innovation.
In my own discussions about this with some utility folks, the value of this device hasn't been immediately obvious, so I asked the company about it. Here is their reply:
Question: How often is sag an important limitation?
Answer: Some lines are designed w/sag limits and some w/temperature limits (which again relate back together!). Also, there are lines for which winter loads (cold) are an issue (lack of sag - high tension). Our device would keep sag practically constant and hence will help these conditions. Benefits of such a device which keeps line profile constant are numerous and not all of them are obvious. In our contacts with transmission line experts, we have generally received favorable reposnse, however, I have also noticed that the benefits of the device may not be obvious to some. That, I believe, maybe because they consider load curtailment as part of design. However, from a designer/planner point of view, slim would make it possbile to increase those ampacities, which would lead to significant benefits.
SLiM can also solve a multitude of temperature related issues with these
lines, including mitigation of fatigue loading/failures and reduction of
high tensile loads during cold ice storms.
Material Integrity Solutions, Inc., specializes in mechanical and structural analysis and design of complex components for a number of industries including power generation, gas transmission, electronics, and manufacturing. The company is seeking partnerships and expertise in conductor and transmission system design, for development of the SLiM device.
Applicants must have excellent knowledge, expertise, and experience, as demonstrated by minimum of 5 years of utility transmission design and/or construction, in:
- Electrical and electromagnetic analysis/design of overhead transmission
- Design and analysis, technical and economic, of overhead transmission
systems including conductors, insulators, and towers
- Computer modeling of overhead transmission components for simulating
their electromagnetic behavior particularly in evaluation of their corona performance
- Materials used in and their behavior for overhead transmission systems
- Issues related to maintenance and integrity of overhead transmission systems
- Familiarity with Codes and Standards and knowledge of technical
committees applicable to transmission lines
- A minimum of B.S. degree in electrical engineering or equivalent
and excellent written communication skills are required.
The position is for a 1-2 year involvement in a multi-disciplinary team whose goal is to design, test, fabricate and market a new line of patented components for electrical transmission lines. The individual will be a key member of our team and will bring the expertise delineated above to the project and contribute to the successful implementation of this design. Therefore, the applicant must be highly motivated and self-directed, a hard worker, a fast learner, and a team player. The actual work will be performed at both our offices and applicant's organization offices.
Contact: Dr. Manuchehr Shirmodhamadi
Material Integrity Solutions, Inc., Berkeley, CA
Note - Is DG like the PC?
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999
CC: "Mills, Mark ETG" <Mark_P_Mills@hotmail.com>
This article by our friend Mark Mills appeared in World Climate Report, and again (modified) in the June 1 issue of Public Utility Fortnightly. A good reality check on the rhetoric of distributed generation. I especially like the point that there's no "Moore's Law" for electric power generation.
Distributed Generation is to Electricity as PCs are to...?
By Mark P. Mills
Distributed generation is the latest "killer application" at energy conferences and seminars. Global apocalysts say DG is to electricity what the PC has been to the computer industry. Just as PCs supposedly took down mainframes and the likes of IBM, so too will DG erase central, fossil-fueled power plants and big utilities.
Even otherwise serious vendors of DG technology have found themselves seduced into playing the climate change card in the hopes of benefiting from imminent federal largess.
DG enthusiasts believe the day will soon come when consumers can head over to Home Depot and buy a little "appliance" to take home, plug in, and supply all the power needed, grid-free. Prototypes already exist for a refrigerator-size generator that works like the "auxiliary power units" airplanes use to make electricity while sitting at the gate (don't they make life comfortable?). The trade press is filled with DG hype. Independence (from those "evil" utility giants who've provided us with cheap power for 75 years) looms near.
Energy tech forecasters and global climate change scaremongers share an ally. The anti?fossil-fuel lobby has for 25 years been predicting the imminent demise of fossil fuels, the planet's primary energy sources, and the imperative to shift to something else. The climate change threat only increases the urgency of making an ostensibly inevitable transition to a post?fossil-fuel world.
What's more, DG kills two birds with one technology: Fossil fuels and utilities, both of which apocalysts reflexively dislike. DG, they believe, will set us free of central coal-fired power plants. After all, coal supplies 55 percent of what goes into the power grid. And that percentage is unlikely to diminish.
Exciting things are happening on the DG front. But they will not have the transformative effect their advocates would have you believe they will. In fact, DG will not replace coal plants, but will complement them and almost certainly increase the use of fossil fuels and likely pit oil (not favored by apocalysts) against natural gas (reluctantly favored by apocalysts).
The PC analogy, while seductive, completely fails. Regardless of the astronomical growth in PC use, the venerable mother of computing's "heavy iron," IBM, is far from out of the picture as a major corporation, as its stellar stock performance this decade attests. IBM and its ilk are benefiting from, not being eviscerated by, the information revolution in all its forms.
The data traffic that PCs and the Internet create, and the data appetites expanding applications for computing create, are driving the market toward so-called "super servers"—the 21st-century version of "mainframes."
But those using the DG: PC analogy usually mean to imply that DG stands on the threshold of rapid cost reductions, emulating the collapsing price and rising performance of PCs over the past 10 years. You hear them warning utilities that central station power plants will follow the fate of slide rules.
The PC price/performance trend arose from advances in the technology used to fabricate integrated circuits. Declining scale and increasing speed equal lower costs. It's "Moore's Law." Still, though today's desktop is more powerful than yesterday's mainframe (and today's mainframes are awesome), Moore's Law just doesn't apply to DG and electricity. Sorry.
Power plants have the distinct disadvantage of being constrained by a much longer-standing law, from the realm of physics—the Carnot limit for thermo-dynamic systems, which is the same for all power plants, big and small. Translation: The temperature of combustion sets the limit for the energy efficiency of burning a fuel. Size doesn't matter; and small actually may be worse. Technologies to tweak efficiency are not only applicable to all sizes, but many of the tweaks are easier and more cost-effective for big iron. This basic tenet holds true for all of the DG technologies based on burning fuels, which are the most likely near-term DG systems.
PCs Ain't PVs
But what of solar, wind, and fuel cells, the apocalysts' true DG darlings? After all photovoltaics (PVs) are made from the same basic stuff as microprocessors. Sorry, the analogy still fails.
Sure, PVs are made from silicon (or similar materials) just like microprocessors. Here the similarity ends. To gain greater PC power, engineers make ever-smaller components of increasing density, thus expanding the total number of microscopic electronic devices per square inch.
But you just can't make a smaller, more efficient PV. Rather, you need more (lots more) square inches—nay, square acres—of silicon devices to gather the fuel, which is in this case the sun's energy. True the sun is limitless, but it's just too darn far away to produce high-density power, hence the need for lots of acreage to gather the dilute power. (Not so of course on Mercury, where ponds would be molten metal, not water).
Wind power suffers from the same problem. Greater economy and power don't come by making windmills smaller—you need bigger ones and more of them, lots more, to power a nation.
Then what of fuel cells, those intriguing devices that use electrochemical magic to make electricity without combustion? In brief: Too expensive and they still need fuel. The materials that make the electrochemical magic happen are expensive. Lower costs face basic, almost intractable (but probably eventually solvable) materials issues.
Fuel cells run on fuel, ideally hydrogen. Virtually all of the solar system's hydrogen is in the sun: inconvenient. So we can make hydrogen here (expensive and energy-intensive) or use the hydrogen inherent in conventional fuels such as methanol and even gasoline, also a costly exercise. We will, to be sure, eventually see real advances in fuel cells, but they're no threat today to the gigawatts of conventional generation.
Which brings us to the last category for DG: microturbines and diesel engines. Most of the current market hype surrounds microturbines, which are really just very small jet engines tied to an electric generator. They do work, but they need fuel—usually natural gas, but oil works too. They still cost too much, and despite the hype, you still can't buy one. Worse yet for efficiency mavens, they are less thermally efficient than central power plants.
That said, it is clear that practical and useful microturbines will emerge soon, and almost certainly in advance of any other new form of DG. The most likely near-term applications for microturbines will be in three areas: where reliability supercedes cost; where power is very expensive, capital scarce, and incremental power needs modest (Costa Rica, for example); and in meeting costly peak demands.
Remember last summer's astronomical price spike for peak power during the heat wave? Just a few of those go a long way toward covering the higher costs for DG peaking. In all likelihood, the folks installing microturbines to shave peaks will be the same as those operating or selling coal-fired baseload power to create a seamless, blended reliable and economical power source.
Ironically, the only immediately cost-effective DG technology is the venerable diesel engine. So-called diesel-gen sets already exist by the tens of thousands, powering oil fields, small villages, and military bases. Recent advances in materials and controls have made diesels even cheaper and more efficient (better than microturbines), and exceptionally reliable. And you can buy them right now.
Power experts are already forecasting that deregulation will generate a boom in use. They can burn either oil or natural gas, and in most applications use the former. This is clearly not what apocalysts intend deregulation of utilities to effect.
Off-peak coal: a real "killer app"
Perhaps the worst nightmare for coal-haters is the potential of new technologies to achieve cheap off-peak kWh storage—distributed storage. Small, high-tech flywheels look promising (just park them outside beside your central AC unit). You spin them up at night with an electric motor powered by otherwise "wasted" and ultra-economical (maybe 1.5¢/kWh) off-peak power. The motor works as a generator in the daytime, drawing the kinetic energy off the flywheel. Easy, reliable, no new fuels, one moving part. Slick. Uses the cheapest off-peak power too; hydro (and nuclear) in a few places, coal everywhere else.
The capital costs for diesel gen-sets are already a lot lower than for central power plants. Given that, and the low cost of fuel, why isn't every business making its own power already? Few end-users want the operational and maintenance hassles. Electricity coming off the grid is awfully low-maintenance. The collective cost of tending to millions of distributed (quirky) products remains the showstopper.
We're all winners
Nonetheless, significant and viable niche markets for DG are inevitable, probably up to 10 percent of total U.S. demand. Once momentum starts building, and reliability grows, emerging technologies can make a noticeable dent in new supply. A critical leap for fuel-based DG will be cost-effective, network-based remote maintenance and monitoring of distributed equipment through advanced sensors, information technology, and neural networks.
Bottom line: DG is coming. The computer analogy does work in one way. Just as PCs are driving demand for mainframes, so too will DG drive demand for larger, more efficient and low-cost central power sources.
Physicist Mark P. Mills is a technology strategist and energy consultant and president of the research-consulting firm Mills¥McCarthy & Associates Inc.
World Climate Report is the nation's leading publication covering the
breaking news concerning the science and political science of global climate
change. Available online at -- http://www.nhes.com/home.html
UFTO Note - Wave Power Nearing Commercial Reality
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999
UFTO Note - Wave Power Nearing Commercial Reality
Over the years, there have been many attempts to harness the power of the ocean waves (and this is excluding tidal and ocean thermal schemes). A small company in New Jersey called Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has worked intensively on this since the company began operations in 1994, and appears to have a solution at hand. Their story merits a close look.
OPT started its development effort with a revolutionary approach based on piezoelectric polymers, where wave motion flexes an array of strips of the material to generate power. That work reached a prototype stage, but it was determined two years ago that a polymer with lower losses was needed. A major DOD development contract is now underway continuing that effort. AMP Inc, a major investor in the company, supplied the piezoelectric material, and also provides cabling, hubs and connectors.
In a parallel program, OPT has come up with a hydrodynamic device that looks like a standard ocean buoy, and generates power from wave motion. The system uses standard off the shelf proven marine technology: buoys, mooring and anchors, and underwater power cable. These aspects are supported through a strategic relationship with Penta-Ocean Construction Co, Japan's largest ocean engineering company.
Mechanical energy is obtained as the buoy moves against a self-contained "sea anchor". Inside the water tight compartment, this mechanical stroke motion is converted into hydraulic pressure, which in turn drives a generator. Special electronic controls deal with the randomness of the input wavepower.
The technology is inherently modular. The initial 20 kW module (buoy) is a cylinder 20 m. long and 5 m. diameter, which rides at the surface, mostly submerged, and anchored to the ocean floor in 100 feet of water.
The company holds 12 patents, and 8 more are pending, but has maintained a very low profile. They have assembled a large body of knowledge and expertise on wave behavior, marine engineering, and oceanographics, as well as obtaining exclusive rights to certain related technologies. One year of ocean trials have been successfully completed.
(UFTO has been in touch with them since early 1995, and followed their progress closely until such time as it appeared appropriate to report. This summary provides the first real look at what OPT is up to.)
Recently, a large European company did extensive due diligence, and reported that OPT is far ahead of other wave energy programs (mostly in the UK and Scandinavia). Negotiations are underway to possibly form a separate joint venture company for Europe. An Australian utility has placed an order for the first system. The US Dept of Defense (particularly the Navy) is supporting projects for self-powering buoy-based systems, for remote power supply for naval bases, and for desalination. The company probably could bootstrap itself with these program revenues, however in the interest of moving faster they are privately raising an investment round of $10 M.
Estimates are that smaller systems (~500 kW) will deliver power at 7-10 cents/kWh, while larger (grid connected) systems > 10 MW will do it at 3 - 4 cents. (Capital cost of $2700/kW) Installations of 100 MW would occupy about 1/5 of a square mile, out of sight from shore. Installation and commissioning would be quick. Duty cycles should be 80-90%, and highly predictable. Sites are abundant all over the world. Systems would even provide additional environmental benefits of reducing beach erosion and supplying fish habitats.
The company is very interested in participating with a major utility in the first installations.
Contact: Dr. George Taylor, President, 609-730-0400, email@example.com
UFTO Note-POLUX-Non Destructive Wood Pole Inspection
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999
UFTO Note - POLUX -Non-destructive Wood Pole Inspection
The POLUX system of wood pole inspection is a new non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technology that is being increasingly used worldwide for wood pole inspection and management. POLUX and its analysis software K-Store offer a fast, much more reliable and more cost-effective means of testing and managing a utility's wood pole fleet.
POLUX is a hand-held portable instrument to test the condition and strength of wood poles, non destructively, in the field. It gives an instantaneous indication (red or green light) whether the pole is safe to climb, and an estimate of the expected remaining service life. It succeeds where other attempts have failed, by measuring both compressive strength and moisture, and correlating the two variables and comparing against parameters developed from measurements under controlled conditions. A handheld computer provides visual data display. (Future plans may include incorporation of GPS.)
POLUX was developed and commercialized in Europe by a Swiss company with funding from Electricite de France. EdF has accredited it for safety and has adopted it as their only acceptable method for wood pole testing. More than 100 instruments are in use in Europe, validating its performance and providing a base of experience. The instrument is manufactured to ISO 9002 standards and the testing procedure has been certified ISO 9001 in Europe.
Pole + Management Inc., in Montreal, is the exclusive licensee in North America for the POLUX technology. The company has done exhaustive testing and calibration (i.e. for the different wood species used in the Americas), and is now beginning to market it. They made their first major public showing at the April IEEE T&D show in New Orleans.
In 1998, Pole + began inspections for a dozen small utilities in Ontario, and also performed wood pole inspections for Ontario Hydro on some of their transmission lines. Hydro-Quebec did tests at their research center IREQ which compared POLUX, sonic, drill, x-ray, and other methods of pole inspection-- the POLUX measurements consistently had the highest correlation ( r > 0.85) with the actual residual breaking strength of the pole. (reports available). Other utilities who have also evaluated different methods of measuring pole strength, concluding that sonic testers do not correlate with the pole breaking strength and that a valid instrument must have a correlation of at least r > 0.7.
The strength of a pole is proportional to fiber stress and to the cube of the circumference of the pole. Almost 80% to 90% of the bending capacity in a typical utility pole is developed in the outer 2 to 3 inches of the shell. The center portion of a pole adds very little to its bending strength, so voids or decay there are far less important.
Many US utilities rely on core samples (to detect the presence of decay) and treatment programs, but this can give a false sense of security, and be less cost effective in the long run. (Treating a pole that doesn't need it can sometimes actually reduce its strength and remaining life!) In some companies, work practices and union rules may hinder adoption of this different approach, but the company (and Europe!) is convinced that it is the better way to go, for many reasons.
Benefits from Reliable Non-Destructive Wood Pole Inspection
- Decisions based on reliable, repeatable, objective data, independent
of operator interpretation
- Capability to decide when to replace, retreat or strengthen poles
- Capability to plan purchasing, storage, and maintenance needs
- Long term trend patterns will provide a sound basis for new, cost-effective
and ecologically sound strategies for pole selection, placement, re-inspection
- Reduce capital and maintenance cost
- Improve system reliability and customer satisfaction.
The company will send on request a CD-ROM that provides the complete
story. Also, their website gives a good introduction to the technology
They are looking for U.S. utilities to participate in small pilot demo
programs, where the company will test several hundred poles (at $10 each).
Contact: Edward Ezer, Pole+ Management, Inc. (Montreal,
(UFTO has been following these developments since mid 1996.)
UFTO Note - E Commerce & Utilities
Date: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 13:23:27 -0700
At the recent PICA meeting in Santa Clara, there was a good session on ecommerce and utilities. Here's the summary from the program. The actual list of presentations follows.
The Power point presentations themselves are TEMPORARILY available for downloading on line (and I have ecopies). I caught part of the Anderson Consulting presentation, and thought the characterization of the various segments was rather well done.
Panel Session 1: "e-Commerce in Electric Utilities"
Tuesday, May 18th, 2:00 - 5:00
Moderator: E. Dobrowolski, KEMA Consulting
"Where Do You Go From Here - Preparing for the Future"
Edward P. Meehan, Managing Director, Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc.:
With the quickening pace of electric utility deregulation, utility executives are faced with growing challenges on a daily basis. Couple that with the emergence of e-Commerce as a new driver of corporate strategy and the complexity of your business increases geometrically. As regulated utilities look forward, they need to evaluate how to utilize e-Commerce from a defensive basis to reduce costs and streamline operations and from an offensive position to provide superior customer service and develop new business opportunities. One of the challenges today is to understand the strategies being developed by potential competitors and identifying how to bring such competencies in to your organization. We will look at what is developing in this market and raise some focused issues on the new competitors you may be facing.
"e-Commerce and the Virtual Utility"
Paul Daugherty, Partner, Andersen Consulting &
Brad Holcombe, Partner, Andersen Consulting: 212-708-8279 firstname.lastname@example.org
e-Commerce offers transformational opportunities for Utility companies in both business-business and business-consumer interaction. This topic will discuss the new "virtual" business models that are possible with e-Commerce.
"Practical Experiences in e-Commerce"
Aaron Daisley-Harrison 425-451-3100 email@example.com &
Lloyd Robinson, DMR Consulting 206-521-2178 firstname.lastname@example.org
Orchestrating a successful e-Commerce project involves all of the classic issues that have faced IT with the added complexity of needing to stitch together software and platforms that were never conceived to work cooperatively. Experiences from actual projects will be presented and the many pitfalls along the road to attaining the brass ring will be pointed out.
"TransaXions and the Internet: E-Commerce for Energy"
Adam E. C. Yeh, Development Manager, Connext:
Whether itis delivering reports, authorizing payments, collecting usage information or scanning records, Internet based E-Commerce provides the most cost effective way for business-to-business and business-to-customer transactions. Both Energy Service providers and their customers should be looking at this new form of interaction and business model to evaluate their bottom line savings. Technical issues for deploying Internet technology and E-Commerce solutions in the energy industry, especially in the areas of billing, customer metering and energy transactions will be presented. Emphasis will be on the system architecture and the Graphic User Interface.
"Providing Deregulation Benefits to Non-Traditional Players through the Internet"
Frank Koza, General Manager, UniGrid, LLC:
UniGrid is an Internet based system that is designed to provide the benefits of the newly deregulated energy industry to the Commercial & Industrial sector. The concepts behind UniGrid will be presented with emphasis on the potential uses through the Internet. Leveraging technology from other industries to accomplish this goal will be highlighted.
"Energydirect.com: The Internet Business Strategy for the 21st Century Utility"
Will Knight, Director, Online Business email@example.com 404-506-4956
& Martha Driscoll, C&I Online Business Development 404-506-2317 firstname.lastname@example.org
Why companies should view customer access as a value-creating asset. Leveraging the Internet as a customer acquisition and retention tool in a competitive marketplace.
Panel Session #1 -- Tuesday, May 18th, 2:00 P.M.
e-Commerce for the Power Industry
Where Do You Go From Here - Preparing for the Future
Edwin P. Meehan, Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc.
eCommerce: The Virtual Utility
Paul R. Daugherty, Andersen Consulting
Lloyd Robinson, Aaron Daisley-Harrison, DMR Consulting
Transactions and Internet E-Commerce for Energy
Adam Yeh, Microsoft Corporation
Developing an Internet Business Strategy for the
21st Century Utility
Martha Driscoll, Will Knight, Southern Company
e-Commerce for Electricty
Edward G. Cazalet, CEO Automated Power Exchange, Inc.
UFTO Note - Green Power Marketing in Retail Competition
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999
"Green Power Marketing in Retail Competition: An Early Assessment"
LBL and NREL recently released this study on green power marketing that finds that the green marketplace is still in an early stage of development with no clear indication of its ultimate size.
The study examines experiences to date with green marketing programs
in states across the country. Among the findings:
- pilot programs which include green products are philosophically supported by consumers, but fail to attract real buyers when consumers are asked to switch to green suppliers;
- where markets have been fully opened to competition, green marketers provide a superior quality product over pilot programs;
- disclosure of resource mix is a key element of consumer interest in green products; and evaluating green market demand is difficult.
The abstract is shown below, and the entire report
can be downloaded at either of these two sites:
LBL's Electricity Markets & Policy website:
DOE's Green Power Network website:
Green Power Marketing in Retail Competition: An Early Assessment
(report # LBNL-42286,
Ryan Wiser LBNL, 510-486-5474; email@example.com
Jeff Fang, Kevin Porter, and Ashley Houston, NREL
Green power marketing—the business of selling electricity products or services based in part on their environmental values—is still in an early stage of development. This Topical Issues Brief presents a summary of early results with green power marketing under retail competition, covering both fully competitive markets and relevant direct access pilot programs. The brief provides an overview of green products that are or were offered, and discusses consumers' interest in these products. Critical issues that will impact the availability and success of green power products under retail competition are highlighted. Some of the key observations and conclusions of the work include:
Experience from pilot programs in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Oregon—while insightful in many respects—should not be broadly generalized. The direct access pilot programs in these three states all included green marketing. Yet only a fraction of the green products were differentiated based on their renewables content, and the environmental quality of many of the products has been questioned. Because of the nature of pilot programs, however, there are limits to what can be learned from these experiences.
Green power markets have developed in all four states currently open to full competition. Experiences in the more fully competitive markets of California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania provide a more realistic test of green marketing. These markets have only been open for a short time, and each differs substantially. Green power marketing is occurring in each market, however, and a total of 20 green power products have been launched. All of these products have been differentiated based on their renewables content, and 60% of the products include commitments to incorporate some new renewables over time. While concerns remain over the environmental and resource content of some products, overall product quality is superior to that seen in the pilot programs.
The availability and success of green power products will hinge on several factors, including the regulatory rules and public policies established at the onset of restructuring. Differences among the markets discussed here can largely be traced to the design of specific market rules and public policies, particularly the default generation price offered by incumbent utilities. For the green market to succeed, regulators and policymakers will have to develop market structures, rules and policies in ways that are at least neutral to, and perhaps even support, this emerging new market. Surprisingly, market rules that promote vigorous price competition and overall customer switching appear especially important.
Environmental disclosure requirements and certification programs may also play an important role in the success of green power markets. Given ongoing concerns about the credibility and environmental value of some of the green power products, customer information requirements and credibility-enhancing programs may be critical.
Evidence to date shows that green products have had some success in markets newly opened to competition. Niche markets clearly exist for green power. Residential demand has been most prominent, though nonresidential demand has been more significant than many expected. Nonetheless, it will clearly take time for the green market to mature, and there remain legitimate concerns about the ability of customer-driven markets to support significant amounts of renewable energy. Unfortunately, there is currently insufficient data with which to predict the long-term prospects for green power sales with any accuracy.
UFTO Note - Emerging Transmission Market Segments (IEEE Article)
Date: Thu, 06 May 1999
The article cited below is from the January issue of Computer Applic in Power, and for non-subscribers interested in T&D issues, it happens to be available in its entirety on the IEEE website: http://teaser.ieee.org/pubs/mags/9905/rahimi.html
I thought you might find it useful as an overview of the various ways transmission systems are being organized around the world.
Who's coming to the IEEE PICA Meeting in Santa Clara this month (May 17-20)??
Let me know, and maybe we can get together, or at least say hello at
Complete details available at: http://www.pica99.org
Remember QuickStab? (UFTO Note March 22) Dr. Savalescu will be at PICA, and would be pleased to offer a private demonstration. Give him a call!
(I just joined IEEE, and am beginning to appreciate the wealth of information it provides to the power industry.)
IEEE Computer Applications in Power January, 1999 Volume 12 Number 1 (ISSN 0895-0156)
Meet the Emerging Transmission Market Segments
Farrokh A. Rahimi & Ali Vojdani
Around the globe, the electric industry is undergoing sweeping restructuring. The trend started in the 1980s in the U.K. and some Latin American countries, and has gained momentum in the 1990s. The main motivation and driving forces for restructuring of the electric industry in different countries are not necessarily the same. In some countries, such as the U.K. and the Latin American countries, privatization of the electric industry has provided a means of attracting funds from the private sector to relieve the burden of heavy government subsidies. In the countries formerly under centralized control (central and eastern Europe), the process follows the general trend away from centralized government control and towards increased privatization and decentralization. It also provides a vehicle to attract foreign capital needed in these countries. In the United States and several other countries where the electric industry has for the most part been owned by the private sector, the trend is toward increased competition and reduced regulation.
This article presents an overview of the evolving structural models and the main structural components of the emerging deregulated electricity industry. An analysis of the central structural components, namely the independent system operator (ISO) and the power exchange (PX), is provided and used as a basis for structural classification with a view to the supporting computer application needs.
Subject: UFTO Note - Capacitive Deionization of Water - A Lot Closer
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999
UFTO Note -- Capacitive Deionization of Water - A Lot Closer
UFTO first noted this unique water purification technology in January 1995 (see below to review the basic concept), and again in March 1997, when a license was issued to a commercial firm. The company, Far West, has made tremendous progress, and now appears to stand ready to move out in a big way with the commercial development of Capacitive Deionization Technology (CDT). (The name CDI belongs to something else, so the company has adopted the new shorthand CDT.)
The process operates at low voltage and low pressure, does not require membranes or pumps (and so is less sensitive to corrosives), and can operate at high water temperature (so, for example, boiler water can be treated hot). The technology is modular and scalable, with additional capacity or greater filtration accomplished by simply adding more elements, either in parallel or series.
The technology itself has been dramatically improved, with one tenth the weight and one-twentieth the cost of the original devices. New designs don't require the aerogels to be supported on a substrate, and a clever technique maintains separation with essentially no structural elements.
The business prospects are strengthened by the arrival of a new president with the right experience and connections to restructure the company, raise money, and move forward aggressively with manufacturing, demonstration projects, and joint venture and marketing agreements worldwide.
Initial focus areas are ultrapure process water, ground and waste water treatment, contaminant removal/concentration, and brackish water treatment for drinking water. There is also a demonstration project underway on utility boiler water. Seawater desalination is also a priority.
A prominent story in "Developments to Watch" in Business Week appeared in the March 15 issue, and the response has been tremendous.
The company website at http://www.farwestgroup.com has a vu-graph presentation with considerable detail about the technology and applications, and a business plan is also available on request.
Far West is a public company (FWST), as an OTC-Bulletin Board stock. (There has been a sudden rise in volume and price yesterday and today!) The company is raising $10 Million through a preferred stock offering.
Contact: Dallas Talley, President
Subject: UFTO Note -- Capacitive Deionization licensed
Date: Thu, 06 Mar 1997
Livermore has given a license for CDI to a small water company in Tucson, AZ who've formed a subsidiary, Terra Research Corp., to pursue applications. The parent company is publicly traded OTC - Far West Group, which does water drilling and pumping and supplies.
Here is the UFTO writeup about CDI, when Livermore first announced it:
Desalination and Waste Water Treatment by Capacitive Deionization (CDI)
On December 20, 1994, LLNL announced a new way to deionize water. The huge effective surface area of carbon aerogels makes feasible the straightforward and well known process of capacitive deionization. Water containing salts, heavy metals or even radioactive isotopes flows through a series of electrochemical cells. An electric potential is applied across the electrodes, which attract the charged ions.
The electrodes are metal plates coated with the aerogel, the high surface area of which allows them to absorb large quantities of ions, which are released later into a small volume "rinse" stream. CDI offers significant benefits over traditional deionization processes, such as reverse osmosis, ion exchange or evaporation. These involve high energy use, reliance on acids and bases, production of corrosive secondary wastes, and use of troublesome membranes. Compared with traditional desalination techniques, CDI could reduce the energy requirement by as much as 100-1000 times.
Potential applications include: treatment of boiler water in power plants, electric residential water softeners, desalination of sea water, waste water treatment (i.e. volume reduction, notably of radioactive wastewater, by a factor of 1000), and more.
A desktop test unit has been operating at LLNL for some time. A patent
was filed in May 1994.
Note - Public Interest R&D
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999
This paper was just published in Utilities Policy, on a timely subject which is of interest to many of you. The authors will have reprints available, and have supplied me with an electronic copy of the (15 page) manuscript, from which I extracted the following excerpts. The complete paper is 10 pages as published.
Contact: Carl Blumstein, 510-642-9588, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Public-Interest Research and Development in the Electric and Gas Utility Industries,"
Utilities Policy: Volume 7, Issue 4, 21 April, 1999, pages 191-199
Carl Blumstein, University of California Energy Institute
Stephen Wiel, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
An unintended consequence of the restructuring of the electricity industry
in the U.S. has been a sharp decline in expenditures for R&D by investor-owned
utilities. This paper examines how the public interest may be damaged
by this decline in R&D expenditures and discusses some of the strategies
that could be employed to mitigate the damage.
The restructuring of the electricity industry has been accompanied by a sharp decline in R&D expenditures by investor-owned utilities (IOUs), which have fallen by more than 45% between 1993 and 1996. The trend in the U.S. … is consistent with trends in other countries where the electricity industry has been or is being restructured.
A key driver of this trend is competitive pressures to cut costs. "While cuts are occurring across the board, RD&D departments are particularly vulnerable because in most cases research projects are not considered essential to the operation. In addition, the value of RD&D projects are difficult to quantify and often seen as a long-term investment. These trends are particularly prevalent for IOUs positioning themselves to increase profits for shareholders." (Schilling and Scheer 1997) While, in retrospect, this trend does not seem surprising, it was certainly not an intended consequence of restructuring. Intentions notwithstanding, policy makers are now confronted with the questions: (1) how will this decline affect the public interest and (2) if some of the effects are adverse to the public interest, what mitigating steps, if any, should be taken?
This paper is intended to stimulate discussion on these questions by examining some of the issues in detail. First, we .. define public-interest R&D and illustrate the definition with some examples. The examples also give some idea of what may be lost if utility R&D expenditures continue to decline. Then we examine some of the issues that would be raised by efforts to mitigate the decline in utility expenditures for public interest R&D. These issues, which we explore using a series of examples, are funding, governance, and scope. Finally, in a brief conclusion, we discuss our concern that public interest R&D is likely to suffer some serious damage if action is not taken. However, we believe that there are likely to be many workable solutions to the problems we pose.
Technological change is an important contributor to economic growth and R&D is an important contributor to technological change. Any sharp decline in R&D expenditures is, at the least, a cause for concern. On the other hand, restructuring is moving the business of electricity generation decisively toward competition. If history is a guide, this competition will be conducive to innovation. New R&D investments may be forthcoming from the competitors or their suppliers. Thus, concern with the current decline in R&D expenditures should focus on the R&D, if any, that will not be adequately provided by the competitive market. Especially at risk are R&D funds for projects that, from a societal perspective, have measurable public benefits but that private markets will probably be unable to support because these public benefits cannot be appropriated by private firms.
In current discussions about utility industry restructuring this type of R&D has come to be known as public-interest R&D. Among the areas where the benefits of public-interest R&D may be important are health, safety, environment, energy efficiency, and "pre-commercial" technical information. Many R&D projects have both private and public benefits.
Strategic options [to provide] post-restructuring R&D support mechanisms [are discussed], with a description of funding, governance and scope, followed by an analysis of pros and cons. The four options offered are - Direct Industry Control, - Industry Directed Not-For-Profit, - Publicly Directed Not-For-Profit, and - Direct Government Control. These four are not mutually exclusive and do not begin to exhaust the possibilities.
We … conclude … that none of the options described above is sufficient by itself to provide for public-interest R&D after restructuring. In the past, public-interest R&D was sustained by a mixture of public and private, regulated and unregulated, and federal and state institutions and support mechanisms. Today, in the midst of restructuring, it is not surprising that some of these arrangements are being disrupted given the profound institutional upheavals now happening in the energy industry. Public-interest R&D is likely to suffer some serious damage if actions are not taken to deal with these disruptions.
The purpose of this paper is to stimulate discussion concerning what
actions to take. The situation is complex, but the problems are by
no means insoluble. Indeed, we think there are likely to be many
workable solutions. Our hope is that discussion will begin to identify
some of the better solutions and will contribute to the evolution of a
new mixture of public and private, regulated and unregulated, and state
and federal institutions and support mechanisms that will enable public-interest
R&D to continue providing benefits after restructuring.
UFTO Note - Bomin Intelligent Energy Systems
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999
Bomin Technologies -Intelligent Energy Systems
This unique and interesting company has recently come to our attention, and may be of interest, for their technology, for their business model, and as a potential business partner and/or investment.
( This summary was adapted from company materials.)
Bomin is a privately-held Swiss-American company that develops, makes and sells Intelligent Energy Systems for buildings. Sales have grown from $2M in 1994, when the Company was formed, to $9.7M in 1997 (average growth rate of more than 64%). Sales were $12.6M in 1998, and are expected to continue growing at more than 30% a year.
Bomin was initially established in the mid-80's as a developer of technology.
Results are now moving into the market, and the company is evolving into
a broad based platform for commercialization of innovative energy-related
products through an international network of business partners. Bomin's
executive team combines international expertise in business operations,
corporate finance and technology commercialization.
Bomin’s products improve efficiency and benefit the environment in three market segments:
- Intelligent Lighting - daylighting and controlled lighting systems, which bring sun or natural daylight into buildings and control the use of artificial light;
- Intelligent Heating - solar thermal-based products, which harness the sun for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, cooling and power generation; and
- Intelligent Control - hardware and software products which improve energy efficiency in pumps, co-generation units and other energy consuming devices.
Bomin is also bringing to market a pipeline of proprietary breakthrough technologies developed in their German and US labs.
- HEATPULSE is a stirling engine that uses mid-temperature waste heat from power generators or industrial processes, or from biomass.
- SUNPULSE is a low-temperature stirling engine developed for application
in a solar-powered water pump and a refrigeration and air-conditioning
system, for use throughout the developing world.
The company is seeking to raise additional capital to increase sales and marketing of existing products, enable the purchase of several identified acquisition candidates, and further product development and commercialization. An offering memorandum will be provided to qualified parties.
I also have an 13 page Executive Summary (Word document) that I can send on request.
A great deal of information is available from the company's website
UFTO's Contact: Nicholas Parker, Chairman ( in Toronto)
UFTO Note - N. Amer Power Quality Equipment Markets
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999
SPECIAL OFFER TO UFTO CLIENTS
"North American Markets for Power Quality:
The Top 50 Equipment Suppliers and Service Providers,"
Research Publication: 5621-27, March 1999 (approx. 400 pages; Price: $4450)
Frost & Sullivan, in collaboration with Power Quality Magazine, has produced this major new report. It was written by a friend and colleague, Jane Clemmenson, whose qualifications include many years of experience in the field of power quality, business development, joint venture development, strategic partnering, and technology transfer. She is considered a power quality industry expert, dating back to the mid 80's when she managed the utility consulting practice at SRI. She has been quoted in Business Week and The Wall Street Journal. She can be reached in Berkeley CA at 510-848-8002, email@example.com
!!! By special arrangement, UFTO Client companies are being !!!
!!! offered a 25% discount on the purchase price of this report. !!!
Contact: Alex Lopez, Frost & Sullivan,
firstname.lastname@example.org, 650-237-6514, and mention UFTO.
More information is available at:
In addition, I have a PDF version of the brochure which includes the complete table of contents (which at this time is missing from the brochure available on line.) The materials below are from Frost & Sullivan.
Announcement of the Study (prepublication)
Until now, the market for power quality equipment and services has not been described in total. Studies have focused on narrow segments of the market in isolation. A comprehensive view of the market is necessarily broader and includes analysis of competitive and synergistic forces that operate between technologies and segments of the market. A broad view also provides a vantage point for understanding existing industry partnerships and alliances, for spotting merger/acquisition candidates, and for planning corporate strategy. The "Power Quality 50" provides valuable insight on competitors and identifies which companies should be the focus of competitive benchmarking.
The report defines the total power quality market in the United States and Canada, including revenue estimates, growth rates, industry leaders and market share, for the following equipment or aggregated categories of equipment:
* transient voltage surge suppressors
* power conditioners, including isolation transformers and power distribution units, voltage regulators, motor generators, and harmonic filters
* uninterruptible power supplies
* energy storage systems for power quality applications, including superconducting magnetic energy storage systems, battery energy storage systems, mechanical storage systems including flywheels, and capacitor and ultracapacitor systems
* low- and medium-voltage static transfer switches and custom power products
* power quality test and measurement instrumentation and software including hand-held, portable and transportable, and permanently installed types
* software for power quality analysis and power management software
* a qualitative discussion of the market for standby generators in UPS backup applications will be included
The services market is evolving and with deregulation of the electric utility market, energy service companies (ESCOs) are becoming more active in the front end of equipment sales. Future bundling of power quality equipment into power contracts is likely. The report includes revenue estimates, growth rates, industry leaders and market share for ESCO-provided services, vendor-provided services, and independent consulting. The role of architect-engineer and electrical contracting firms is discussed.
A synthesis section describes how these various segments of the equipment
and services market compete or act synergistically. The top 50 equipment
suppliers and service providers are identified and profiled, with attention
to industry leaders in each segment of the market and the total power quality
market. Profiles describe each industry leader in terms of its product
lines and market share. Profiles also include company history, ownership
and affiliations, facts and figures, financials where available, and a
discussion of strategies in the marketplace.
Portions of the F&S press release:
"Cross-Segment Competition and New Entrants Challenge Power Quality Market Participants"
Cross segment competition is becoming evident in the power quality market as the debate continues about whether it is more cost-effective to protect end-user equipment at the point-of-use, at a branch circuit, or at a facility level. Small, medium and large-scale solutions are available for different applications, and customer education and marketing is essential. Vendors must now educate themselves about products that compete directly with their own, as well as possible alternative products.
Another challenge that is covered in the study is the entrance of new players such as Siemens, Hewlett Packard and General Electric, who bring with them money and strong corporate backing, say the authors of this study. In addition, the recent consolidation of several large companies has heightened competition.
The power quality market is comprised of over 200 companies, half of which hold identifiable market share in one or more segments of this study. The top equipment suppliers and service providers constitute the Power Quality 50, a term originated by Power Quality Assurance and Frost & Sullivan. The Power Quality 50 accounted for 60.2 percent of the total market in 1997.
It is important to recognize the contributions of companies to particular subsegments where they may be market leaders, no matter how small these companies are with regard to the total market. The top contributors on the basis of 1997 revenue in one or more subsegments makes up Frost & Sullivan's 50 Market Leaders. This study contains detailed profiles of each company listed in the 50 Market Leaders.
This new study, North American Markets for Power Quality: The Top 50 Equipment Suppliers and Service Providers, addresses the major challenges and issues affecting growth in the market. Frost & Sullivan's objective is to show how these implications impact the market and to assist equipment manufacturers and service providers in better preparing for a successful future.
This research has integrated the Market Engineering consulting philosophy into the entire research process. Critical phases of this research include: Identification of industry challenges, market engineering measurements, strategic recommendations, planning and market monitoring. All of the vital elements of this system help market participants navigate successfully though the power quality industry.
A news story from the F&S website (available free if you register):
"Primary Restraints in the North American Power Quality Protection Equipment Markets"
The power quality protection equipment markets consists of the following four segments:
- transient voltage surge suppressors (TVSSs)
- power line conditioners (PLCs)
- voltage regulators (VRs)
- shielded isolation transformers
In 1998, the North American market revenues reached $1.4 billion and the market is expected to experience healthy growth throughout the forecast period. Although the markets for power quality protection equipment are growing, manufacturers need to also be aware of several issues which are restraining the revenue growth.
One of the primary restraints affecting the revenue growth of power quality protection equipment is the movement towards the UPS market, based largely on the misconception that they address all power quality problems. In reality, UPSs do not regulate and maintain voltages to electronic equipment nor do they act as an alternative power source. They typically only receive the actual raw electrical power coming in through the sockets. While this misconception has increased the demand for UPSs, it has created a decreasing demand for power quality protection equipment. The incorporation of UPS features into these devices could bring in more revenues for these market segments.
Another restraint that manufacturers should be concerned about is the lack of technological innovation in these products. While the technologies in computers and electronic equipment are continuously and rapidly changing, the technology in power quality protection equipment has remained much the same over recent years. A relative lack of breakthroughs has caused manufacturers to spend valuable resources on other product lines, and decreasing their focus on these products. The power quality protection equipment discussed in this market has remained relatively the same in both appearance and function.
Finally, the third restraint that should be of concern for manufacturers is the general lack of end-user awareness and understanding of the need for power quality protection. Potential and existing end users must become aware and knowledgeable about the possible causes and problems of what is coming through the electrical sockets. Without the appropriate knowledge, customers will most likely not make the best decisions regarding their power problems. A possible effect of this is that by not knowing what power quality protection products are available, consumers may select low-end products to protect their expensive equipment. Using such products can lead to loss of money and damaged equipment.
These are the three issues restraining growth in the North American markets for power quality protection equipment. Manufacturers must create and develop strategies to stay ahead of their competitors and on top of their markets. To learn more about this market, as well as the issues to be aware of, consult Frost & Sullivan's recent study 5801-27, North American Power Quality Protection Equipment Markets.
UFTO Note - Innovators Dilemma-Disruptive Technologies
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999
This editorial is from the March issue of Power Engineering magazine, and does a nice job introducing an important recent book, while pointing out some major implications for the energy utility industry.
Power Engineering is a Pennwell publication, with free subscriptions.
Thanks to John Zink for providing UFTO with an electronic copy. John, whom many of you may know, tells me he is retiring on May 15. We'll miss him.
As for the points raised, is the utility industry paying too little heed to new technologies? Do you agree that the only way is to establish small independent subsidiaries? I've also included the review from amazon.com
Warning: Disruption Ahead
by: John C. Zink, Ph.D., P.E., Managing Editor
Three years ago in Power Engineering I identified what I called "strategic technologies." I listed distributed generation, energy storage and direct current devices as having the potential to create a paradigm shift (a term I have grown to hate) in the power generation business. In later issues I added electric vehicles and hydrogen technologies to the list because of their similar potential to reformulate the way we think of power generation, distribution and use. I recently discovered a more-definitive work that sheds light on this topic.
A 1997 Harvard Business School book calls such new technologies "disruptive technologies" and examines their characteristics in-depth. The book, The Innovator’s Dilemma ? When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen, also offers some advice to companies that wish to profit from these disruptive technologies. I think it deserves a look.
The book describes entrenched technology as "sustaining technology." Companies develop and refine their major products as desired by their customers, continuing to become more efficient while continuing to upscale their offerings. This process increases profit margins and, hence, company expectations and hurdle rates for new products. However, at some point the market does not need further upscale capabilities in these bread-and-butter products. At that time competition shifts to such things as reliability and delivery time and then, ultimately, to price. When the product reaches this mature stage, the business has turned into a commodities business, and profit margins begin to erode.
Unfortunately, revolutionary new products—the disruptive technologies—are not in the pipeline at these companies. Their product pipeline contains only the unneeded future upgrades to their current offerings. Christensen notes that companies which have a solid competitive position in a sustaining technology are seldom able to simultaneously develop a disruptive technology. This is certainly true in the "upscaling" part of the product cycle. The disruptive technologies, while still in their formative stages, usually have high prices and limited capabilities. They cannot serve the company’s upscale market, nor can they meet the company’s profit requirements.
The book observes that the only way companies with established technologies can exploit disruptive technologies is to establish small, independent subsidiaries with lower profit-margin and market-size expectations.
It is not hard to postulate the development of distributed generation or electric vehicles (EVs) following the disruptive technologies model. For example, EVs are now too limited in range and too expensive to displace internal combustion engine cars. There are niche applications, e.g. city buses, where EV efficiency, life-cycle cost and non-polluting nature give them an advantage, but they cannot now satisfy much of the automobile market. As fuel cells and microturbines develop and begin to fill the role of battery charger for hybrid vehicles, these gradually chip away the performance disadvantage of existing EVs, but they are still not price competitive. However, some begin to recognize hybrid vehicles’ potential application as energy storage devices or as distributed generation devices to provide home electricity when not being used for transportation. Aggressive companies may recognize synergies with their businesses and offer not only clean, economical transportation, but also clean, economical power for the home from the same device.
The auto companies, while experimenting with EVs, are not able to bring
about the breakthrough because they see EVs as only a niche transportation
market. Electric utilities, while seeking new off-peak "appliances," appreciate
the potential of EVs but are not interested in the next generation, the
hybrids, because they do not fit the central station generation market.
Thus, the door is open for totally separate companies to get into the auto
companies’ and utilities’ cash registers. A disruptive technology has struck
What do the Honda Supercub, Intel's 8088 processor, and hydraulic excavators have in common? They are all examples of disruptive technologies that helped to redefine the competitive landscape of their respective markets. These products did not come about as the result of successful companies carrying out sound business practices in established markets. In The Innovator's Dilemma, author Clayton M. Christensen shows how these and other products cut into the low end of the marketplace and eventually evolved to displace high-end competitors and their reigning technologies.
At the heart of The Innovator's Dilemma is how a successful company with established products keeps from being pushed aside by newer, cheaper products that will, over time, get better and become a serious threat. Christensen writes that even the best-managed companies, in spite of their attention to customers and continual investment in new technology, are susceptible to failure no matter what the industry, be it hard drives or consumer retailing. Succinct and clearly written, The Innovator's Dilemma is an important book that belongs on every manager's bookshelf. Highly recommended.
THE INNOVATOR'S DILEMMA takes the radical position that great companies can fail precisely because they excel at the commonly accepted practices of good management.
It demonstrates why outstanding companies like Xerox, IBM, Sears, and DEC that had their competitive antennae up, listened astutely to customers, and invested aggressively in new technologies still lost their positions of market dominance. And it shows companies today how they can avoid a similar fate.
Drawing on patterns of innovation in a variety of industries, the author argues that good business practices-such as focusing investments and technology on the most profitable products that are currently in high demand by the best customers-ultimately can weaken a great firm. He shows how truly important, breakthrough innovations, or disruptive technologies, are initially rejected by customers who cannot currently use them. This rejection can lead firms with strong customer focus to allow their most important innovations to languish. The fatal disability in these firms is their failure to create new markets and find new customers for these products of the future. As they unwittingly bypass opportunities, they open the door for more nimble, entrepreneurial companies to catch the next great wave of industry growth.
Many companies now face the innovator's dilemma. Keeping close to customers
is critical for current success. But long-term growth and profit depend
upon a very different managerial formula. This book will help managers
see the changes that may be coming their way and show them how to respond
UFTO Note - New Reports on PIER, DG, Carbon
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999
Here are three new items of interest:
- Calif PIER Program 1998 Annual Report
- GRI Distributed Generation Forum; Booklet
- New DOE Carbon Sequestration Report
PIER Program's 1998 Annual Report is now available
The Public Internet Energy Research (PIER) Program's 1998 Annual Report
is now available on their Web site. The report can be downloaded as an
Adobe Acrobat PDF file and the executive summary can be read on line. Go
The appendices contain descriptions of all projects funded to date.
GRI Offers Overview Document; Reopens Distributed Generation Forum to New Members
The Distributed Generation Forum (1997-1998) concluded two years of work to provide its thirty-three members with a strong understanding of their opportunity for penetrating the distributed generation market. The final meeting of Forum (1997-1998) was held in Mesa, Arizona on March 4-5, 1999. The existing members have urged the continuation of the Forum for another two years. The Forum attempts to maintain membership at thirty companies to provide for extensive dialog among the members. The Forum will accept applications for two-year memberships which will begin in the second quarter of 1999.
The Distributed Generation Forum was established at the end of 1996 to bring together gas and electric utility representatives with manufacturers of small power generation technology for discussion and analysis of the emerging changes in the electric power industry and the future role for distributed generation technology. During its first two years of operation the Forum completed parallel analyses of electric industry restructuring and distributed generation technology and markets. In addition to the analytical work conducted by Onsite Energy Corporation and George C. Ford & Associates, the Forum invited speakers from industry, government, and research organizations to discuss technical, regulatory, and economic aspects of the market.
The Forum has released a public document highlighting key market opportunities and critical issues. "The Role of Distributed Generation in Competitive Energy Markets", March 99, is a 15 page booklet that does a good job summarizing DG issues.
To request a free copy of the booklet, and to get more information about the forum, contact (preferably by email, and include your mail address):
Dan Kincaid, GRI Business Development Manager,
He can also send you a Forum prospective members package. Current members are Allison Engine Co., Allied Signal, C.A.G.T., Llc, Caterpillar Inc., Coltec Industries, Com/Energy Enterpr., Consumers Gas Co., Cummins-Onan, Duke Energy, Edison Tech. Solutions, Electricite De France, Elliott Energy Sys., Florida Power & Light Co., Gas Research Institute, Illinois Power Co., Onsi Corporation, Nipsco, Peco Energy Co., Pan Canadian Energy, Siemens Westinghouse Corp., So. California Gas, Solar Turbines, Southwest Gas Co., Transalta Utilities, Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical, Unicom Energy Svcs., Union Gas, Union Electric, Woodward Governor
(See UFTO Note 7/15/97 "Distributed Generation--Recent Developments" for background)
DOE Reports on State of the Science Of Carbon Sequestration
On April 12, DOE released a 200-page "working draft" report as a starting point to set priorities and identify specific directions for R&D activities. DOE plans to convene a public workshop in late May or June to begin developing a joint government-industry-academia "road map" for future carbon sequestration research and technology development.
The report identifies key research needs in several aspects of carbon sequestration, including technologies for separating and capturing carbon dioxide from energy systems and sequestering it in the oceans or geologic formations, or possibly by enhancing the natural carbon cycle of oceans and terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, vegetation, soils, and crops. It also describes advanced options for chemically or biologically transforming carbon dioxide into environmentally safe, potentially marketable products.
The report is available in electronic form from the Office of Fossil Energy web site at http://www.fe.doe.gov/sequestration
or the Office of Science's web site at www.er.doe.gov (select "Carbon Management"). A limited number of printed copies are also available from the DOE Fossil Energy Communications Office at (202) 586-6503.
DOE will announce details on the upcoming workshop as soon as they become
UFTO Note - QuickStab Calculates Max. Trans. Loading and Stability Margin
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999
QuickStab: Calculates Maximum Transmission Load and Stability Margin
(Two years ago, the developer of this program was referred to UFTO by DOE, and an UFTO Note was done at that time. Since then, the need has become even greater; there have been improvements to the code; and it has been implemented by a major utility.)
With deregulation, privatization and open access transmission, energy transactions across large electrical distances become commonplace, and can cause major wheeling power flows which, in turn may bring the networks near their limits of stability and loadability.
However, power systems cannot be operated safely near the state of maximum loadability. A much lower load level needs to be defined such that all thermal, voltage and stability constraints are met. NERC calls it the Total Transmission Capability (TTC) and recommends to further reduce it by a Transmission Reliability Margin (TRM) to account for uncertainties. This value must be further adjusted by the Capacity Benefit Margin (CBM) to finally determine the system loading that guarantees full operating security.
The safe operating limit, however, is highly dependent upon topology, voltages, number and location of generators, and other system conditions. For dependable on-line decision making, this limit must be reassessed in real-time for every single change of the operating state.
Critical states occur at or close to the TTC. This limit is not constant. It depends on the generation, customer demand and transmission network conditions, and must be computed from the real-time conditions of the transmission network. Such a capability is needed both in real-time and for postulated conditions, but detailed stability methods are time consuming and require data that may not be readily available.
QuickStabTM answers this need. It identifies both the point of maximum power transfer and the distance to it without computing load-flows. In other words, it predicts the maximum loadability from any operating state, even if far from the limit conditions. This feature is one of the most particular aspects of the short-circuit currents nodal analysis and cannot be found in other algorithms.
Starting from a power-flow or state estimator base case, it computes the system’s MW loading limit such that voltage collapse and steady-state instability do not occur. Then it shows which units and tie-line injections are most likely to cause instability; provides information that can help develop a remedial action strategy; and identifies the P-V points of successively degraded states towards instability. Quickstab also determines the system MW loading for a user-defined security margin.
Results are displayed in a unique, easy-to-understand graphical format. The computations are extremely fast. For example, the solution of a 300 bus case on an inexpensive PC takes just 0.44 sec. Most recently, the QuickStabTM computational modules were enhanced and recompiled with Microsoft C/C++ version 6.0 in a Windows NT 32 bit native environment. The program also runs under Windows 95/98. It is Y2K compliant.
QuickStab's solution technique is based on the short-circuit currents nodal analysis method, which was perfected in Europe in 1961 and became a "classic" in the voltage-stability circles in 1980. Two studies sponsored by EPRI and Southern Company Services (Southern) in 1990-1993 demonstrated the speed and validity of the approach.
It is now field-proven. In 1998, QuickStab was adopted by Companhia Energetica de Sao Paulo CESP, in Brazil, and by Oficina de Operacion del Sistema Interconectado OPSIS, in Venezuela. CESP uses the program both off-line, on PCs under Windows 98, and in real-time on Digital Alpha processors under Digital Unix. OPSIS uses QuickStab for real-time only. These two EMS implementations of QuickStab were provided by ABB-Bailey Network Management as part of its RANGER baseline.
QuickStab offers significant benefits. It can help increase revenues
from wheeling power while meeting higher MW demand and reliability requirements.
It can be used on-line, embedded in or as an add-on to an existing EMS.
And with its modular design and ANSI C compliant code implementation it
can be easily integrated with third-party load-flow, contingency analysis
and security assessment programs.
QuickStab is available now to utilities, consultants and universities, under a range of license options.
For additional information, or to make arrangements for a presentation,
Dr. Savu Savulescu
SCS Computer Consulting, Fresh Meadows NY
Note - Zinc Air Fuel Cell
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Zinc/Air Fuel Cell
The idea for zinc/air batteries, or fuel cells, has been around for a long time, and in the last couple of years Electric Fuel, an Israeli company, has been getting a lot of press. More quietly, Metallic Power near San Diego has been developing a rapidly refuelable system with a wide range of applications, and is about to start publicizing its story. These notes are adapted from the company's draft announcement materials.
The rapidly refuelable fuel cell is reliable power source that is quiet, safe to handle, emission-free, recyclable and cost effective - and "recharges" in five minutes.
The fuel cycle uses Zinc, as a completely recycled, clean, nontoxic, and non-flammable fuel. Inside the closed fuel cell, zinc pellets (1mm diameter) are combined with oxygen from the air, forming zinc oxide (a safe white powder used in skin creams and sunblock) and releasing large amounts of electricity. The reaction takes place in the presence of potassium hydroxide, the same liquid electrolyte found in alkaline disposable batteries. Water, used as a reactant in the process, is recycled automatically within the fuel cell.
Five-minute refueling: the Zinc pellets are pumped into the fuel cell with the liquid electrolyte from a vending-machine-sized zinc recycling/refueling unit. Simultaneously, zinc oxide is pumped through a hose from the fuel cell to the "vending unit" as a mixture with liquid electrolyte.
After refueling, the "vending" regeneration unit uses electricity to slowly convert the zinc oxide back into fresh zinc fuel pellets, and oxygen is released back into the air. ItÕs a completely closed-loop system, with nothing to add, nothing to discard, nothing wasted, and three times the energy efficiency of a gasoline engine.
Metallic Power has patents pending or in preparation for new air cathodes, electrolyte management, sealed replaceable refueling cartridges, regeneration equipment design and zinc fueling technology.
The big difference with Electric Fuel's approach--that system involves a sizable facility to swap out the entire cell, which then must be shipped back to a factory to be completely rebuilt. The factory would be a multimillion $ installation, compared with a few $thousand for an on-site vending-machine sized unit. (Note that Electric Fuel did not get a go-ahead from the German post office after a much publicized demo, and is now emphasizing development of disposable cell-phone batteries.)
Specific energy output currently is at 160 watt hours/kg with a potential of 220 Wh/kg, compared to lead/acid at 35 Wh/kg and lithium-ion at 100 - 120 Wh/kg. Energy density is 200 watt hours/liter, much better than lead/acidÕs 75 Wh/liter. Recharge time for a lead/acid battery is eight hours compared to zinc/airÕs five minutes. Long term potential includes fuel cells for electric cars with a range of 300 miles.
Near term applications include: Industrial Non-Road Vehicles (e.g., maintenance carts and fork lifts), Turf Maintenance (e.g., golfcourse mowers); Motor Scooters (especially in Asia); and Commercial Back-up Power Sources (e.g., telecom and marine industry generators). Note the emphasis on small "fleet" style operations whose controlled environment can adapt most readily, and support an on-site vending/regeneration unit.
Current customers and partners include:
- Toro, manufacturer of turf maintenance equipment,to facilitate quieter morning and night-time mowing and less damage to golf course greens.
- Textron, manufacturer of Cushman and E-Z-GO small utility vehicles, to increase availability and decrease down time.
- U.S. Army, testing prototypes for silently powering electronic equipment in forward military positions.
- South Coast Air Quality Management District, supporting clean-air technology demonstration
- U.S. Dept of Transportation, supporting advanced transportation technology development
- ABB, to supply power electronics and product integration for backup power systems based on the company's zinc/air fuel cells
The Zinc/Air Fuel Cell will reduce operational costs as compared with lead-acid battery powered equipment because instant refueling eliminates the need for duplicate equipment and batteries. Overall cost of ownership should be comparable to or lower than that of gasoline powered equipment.
The company demonstrated the world's first zinc pellet powered vehicle in Sept 98. It was powered by a 2.2kW (3hp) unit and ran for several hours. An improved version at 4kW and 48 volts (an alpha prototype) will operate for at least 100 hours by Sept 99 together with the alpha prototype zinc regeneration unit.
Currently, the company is signing up customers for a beta prototype three month rental program for 48 volt units in the year 2000. Interested parties should make contact soon, because half of the 50 fuel cells in the program are already booked. Commercial production is anticipated in late 2001.
Metallic Power will begin raising a second round of equity funding in a few months, and a detailed business plan will be available to potential investors.
Jeff Colborn, Chairman & CEO
Metallic Power Inc., Carlsbad, CA, (near San Diego)
760-804-7600 x116 email@example.com
Company website (available in late March) http://www.metallicpower.com
UFTO Note - "Breakthrough Technologies" Newsletter
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999
Special Offer to UFTO Member companies!
The note below, along with the free copy of the the newsletter, was mailed recently to the primary point of contact at each UFTO company. Contact Mills-McCarthy directly if you would like your own copy to review. Also attached, a story from the newsletter about UFTO.
For a number of years, Mills-McCarthy published the "ElectroTechnology Report" newsletter. This is being changed to "Breakthrough Technologies". Some earlier material can be sampled at their old website http://www.electrotechnologies.com/
A new site is in preparation and will be available soon at http://www.breakthroughtechs.com
A publication of:
Mills-McCarthy & Associates Inc.
8319 Kerry Road
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
301.718.9600 fax 301.718.7806
ATTENTION UFTO MEMBERS
Attached is a complimentary copy of the February issue of the newsletter Breakthrough Technologies. Ed Beardsworth asked that we send you a copy both to bring to your attention the article about UFTO, and to invite you to subscribe.
This national newsletter focuses on the new and emerging technologies that may be of interest to electric utility customers. We have for years focused on the emerging, or "just over the horizon" technologies because of what they provide in helping us all to understand the direction of technology change. Often, subscribers find new opportunities, ideas for customer programs, and sometimes useful technologies for adding a little PR 'shine' to existing customer programs.
As an UFTO member, should you be interested in subscribing, we will provide you with a couple of complimentary benefits. We'll send you the two most recent back issues (they will not be counted as part of the one-year subscription period) and a copy of our year-end 1998 Breakthrough Technologies book. The book, which normally retails for $199, contains over 100 articles from nearly three years of the newsletter.
If you're interested, you can simply fax back the form below and we'll invoice you.
FAX THIS FORM TO 301 718-7806 & we will invoice you.
o Please enter my subscription for $199 & ship my complimentary book & two immediate back issues.
FROM FEBRUARY 1999
A NEWSLETTER OF MILLS-MCCARTHY & ASSOCIATES INC.
301.718.9600 fax 301.718.7806 e-mail Mark_P_Mills@hotmail.com
Consortium Keeps Utilities Tech-Savvy Tracking Innovations from the National Labs
These days, it's important for utilities to maintain their competitive edge by staying in step with every source of new ideas. One venerable and enormous source of technology ideas is the national laboratory system. The national labs continually generate new and innovative technologies: cheaper magnetic levitation for trains (BTR 4/98), electric solutions for difficult soil contamination (2/98), and plasma generated in the open air instead of a vacuum (10/97) for cleaning are just a few examples of the thousands of projects under way at the labs. Many of these projects have the potential to revolutionize industry and thus serve as important marketing and customer relation tools for utilities.
How is a utility to stay abreast of what's going on at the labs, and sort the 'wheat from the chaff' to find those truly innovative technologies that are of particular interest to their customers? An ideal solution would be to assign someone to go out and visit the labs and generate a report customized for a particular geographical location, customer make up, etc. This is the approach that Ed Beardsworth has taken in his group which promises to be a utility's "eyes and ears" at the national labs on a cost-shared basis. His group, Utility Federal Technology Opportunities (UFTO) is a multi-client program aimed at "investigating technologies of interest and benefit to energy utility companies in US government laboratories and agencies and elsewhere."
"It's nothing that the utilities couldn't do themselves, it's just impractical for them," he told BTR. "I do it for them -- a full-time extension of their staff -- on a cost-shared basis." Beardsworth explains that utilities need to know about new technologies for traditional reasons -- cost reduction, enhanced efficiencies, etc., and for a new reason-- competitive advantage. "I do the networking to uncover the opportunities that could be of competitive significance," Beardsworth notes.
UFTO's premise is that utilities need technology (both for traditional operational purposes, and for new business opportunities), and that the R&D programs of the U.S. government represent a huge repository of technology, much of which is directly or indirectly relevant to utilities.
Mission -- possible
Beardsworth says the program maintains a mission to seek out those technologies obviously relevant for member utilities, and also to cover more subtle issues relating to the uses of new technologies. Other goals include acting as something of an "investigative reporter," as well as producing a customized clipping service, staking out positions, lining up deals, and providing resources on call, including working with investors. Generic program research results are provided to all members, and also individualized for the needs of each member.
UFTO also provides conference coverage and updates. There is a membership limit of 15, so that a high level of service can be maintained. Membership currently includes 11 utilities -- Cinergy, Northern States Power, Texas Utilities, Wisconsin Elec. Power, Commonwealth Edison, Electricite de France, Arizona Public Service, Central & South West, Southern Calif. Gas, KeySpan Energy, National Power (UK). UFTO makes extensive visits to facilities, and prepares detailed reports, summarizing programs, capabilities, culture, and technologies available to industry (often before they are publicized). "In the past several years, we've learned a great deal about the programs at nearly all the major DOE laboratories," says Beardsworth. "We've developed personal relationships with the people in the labs, and they know to contact us when they have something to discuss with utilities." Beardsworth says the laboratories benefit from the exposure. "We're a marketing asset to them," he says. They're happy to have any help in publicizing and receiving support to bring projects to the commercial level. "When I go to a lab, I represent the consumer coming shopping. It's free marketing support for the lab."
Member Bill Muston, Texas Utilities, offers this: "UFTO gives us a sense of what is happening in the national labs on a very cost-effective, customized basis, without having to visit the labs."
(For more information, contact Ed Beardsworth at 650-328-5670, fax 650-328-5675,
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit ufto's website at http://www.ufto.com.)
UFTO Note - Sagging Line Mitigator
Date: Mon, 08 Mar 1999
Sagging Line Mitigator (SLiM)
This unique device would replace or work with standard insulated hangers on power transmission towers, to counteract the effect of temperature on the sagging of overhead transmission lines. This allows increased line ampacity (load current capacity) of existing lines during curtailed summer months, reduced tower heights, and/or increased tower spacing. This device will significantly reduce the risk of forest fires and outages caused by sagging lines, increase the efficiency of energy transfer, delay the need for additional line capacity, and delay the construction of new lines.
The design philosophy is: "Because of the unpredictable nature of ambient temperature, elimination of the sag must be accomplished by a device which operates based on the same change in temperature."
This automatic mechanical device would counteract axial expansion and hence sagging of suspended lines, such as those used in overhead electric transmission lines, due to ambient temperature increases. The device keeps the profile of the line and hence its sag constant and independent of ambient temperature changes. This device works on the same principal as the axial thermal expansion mechanism of the line but reverses its impact on the sag. That is, as ambient temperature increases (or decreases) so does the line length and its sag. The same ambient temperature change will increase (or decrease) the length of an actuator. The change in actuator length is amplified and transferred through a series of mechanical linkages comprising of lever-type devices, cogs, gears, or alike to contract (or extend) the line connections to the device such that the increase (or decrease) in line length is compensated for.
Several concepts are considered for the actuator. One uses a material with a high thermal expansion coefficient and a high compressive modulus of elasticity. Another uses a series of shape memory alloys for response to temperature changes. Yet, another uses an incompressible fluid with a high bulk modulus. Either device can also be "heated" for higher performance by wrapping it in a "heater coil" powered by the magnetic flux of the power line.
The invention may take many different embodiments depending on the arrangement
of structural and mechanical elements. But each embodiment accomplishes
the same purpose, mitigating line sag by mechanically amplifying and transferring
the thermal expansion of an actuator to pull in the slack in a suspended
line. Numerous imaginable embodiments of our proposed design have been
investigated. One US patent has been awarded (see below), and others have
been applied for.
The inventor has found no other device, in existence nor in development, which can serve a similar purpose to SLiM. The power industry responds to sagging problems by reducing ampacity on lines during hot summer months and/or by constructing taller and closer towers. Utilities plan large expenditures to upgrade their towers to allow existing lines to carry more current during summer months. Given the above, SLiM may have the potential to revolutionize treatment of overhead transmission lines for both retrofit of existing lines and construction of new lines.
US Patent No. 5792983 Aug. 11, 1998
SAG COMPENSATOR FOR SUSPENDED LINES USING ROTARY MOTION
Abstract: The invention used devices that change in length as a function of temperature to mitigate sag in a suspended line. The devices have actuators which change in length as a function of temperature. This change in length is transferred to a linkage mechanism, such as a cog or disc, which amplifies the change in length and changes it to rotational motion that tensions the suspended line. Therefore, the same change in temperature that causes the suspended line to sag will cause the device to actuate a rotary motion that reduces line sag.
Material Integrity Solutions, Inc., specializes in mechanical and structural analysis and design of complex components for a number of industries including power generation, gas transmission, electronics, and manufacturing. Website: http://www.misolution.com
The inventor is seeking funding, partnerships, and expertise in conductor and transmission system design.
Contact: Dr. Manuchehr Shirmodhamadi
Material Integrity Solutions, Inc., Berkeley, CA
Subject: UFTO Note
- Ramgen Engine
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999
The RAMGEN Engine
The Ramgen engine is based on the ramjet, the earliest form of jet engine and one still used on missiles. A ram jet gets its thrust from burning fuel in air compressed by its forward motion, then expelling the exhaust to create a forward force.
In the Ramgen engine, two ramjet thrust modules are mounted opposite each other at the perimeter of a 6 foot diameter rotor, in a kind of pinwheel configuration. The rim speed exceeds Mach 2.5. The engine's axle then drives a generator through a gearbox.
Ramgen Power Systems, Inc. (WA) has just begun full testing of a full scale prototype, following ten years of work by its inventor, and the infusion 2 years ago of over $6 million from private investors. On February 2, 1999, the engine was the successfully ignited for the first time. It is currently generating compression at or above projected values; it is starting reliably and is creating combustion and power as anticipated; it is maintaining combustion after ignition; and the air film and other cooling systems are functioning effectively at current fuel loads.
The magnitude of the centrifugal forces generated at these speeds requires advanced, high-performance materials, which have only recently become commercially available (i.e. declassified), as have the computer modeling and machining techniques to manufacture the rotor to required tolerances. While sophisticated in design and modeling, the Ramgen has only a single moving part, the rotor and axle. It is designed to be maintained and work reliably in developing countries and isolated areas.
The Ramgen engine is a Brayton cycle engine that uses compressible gas dynamic phenomena and replaces the mechanical compression and expansion systems of conventional combustion engines with oblique shock wave and supersonic processes. In the Ramgen engine, the fuel and air mixture is compressed as it enters the thrust module, thereby removing the need to mechanically compress either the fuel or the combustion air. The engine's burner operates on lean premix combustion to minimize NOx formation.
US Patent No 5709076 was awarded on Jan 20, 1999, and others are pending.
The performance of the Ramgen engine results from its efficient compression and expansion of the air/fuel mix within the thrust modules. The Ramgen engine's inherently simpler design makes it less expensive to construct, operate and maintain than competing systems for electric power generation. The company anticipates that Ramgen will have:
- $400-450/KW capital cost (excluding site/development costs)
- 40-50% simple cycle efficiency
- around 2% efficiency loss down to 20% part-load
- very low emissions (NOx below 5 ppm)
- ability to operate on a wide range of fuels
(including oilfield and platform flare gases,
or caustic gases as low as 4% fuel by volume)
- small footprint (8-10 MW engine fits on a standard truck trailer)
With cooling by water-jacket and supercooled air, parts experience temperatures around 300 deg F. The exhaust is at 1230 deg.F, enabling combined cycle or cogen applications.
The prototype currently operating at a test facility in Tacoma, WA, can be configured to produce up to 15 MW. The company believes that the Ramgen engine can be scaled to produce electrical output ranging from 1 to 40 MW. The first commercial units (in the 8-15 MW range) could be available by early 2001. The company is in the process of finalizing additional financing.
Doug Jewett, President and CEO email@example.com
Glenn Smith, VP Sales & Marketing firstname.lastname@example.org
RAMGEN Power Systems, Bellevue, WA 425-828-4919
Company website: http://www.ramgen.com
Note - CERTS-New DOE Prog in Elec. Reliability
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 1999
CERTS - New DOE Program in Electric Reliability
The Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions (CERTS) has been tasked by DOE to undertake a major new $2.5 million program in electric power system reliability research and technology development. (Congress re-established a budget for Transmission Reliability research in FY 1999, in DOE's newly renamed "Office of Power Technologies" (OPT), formerly called the Office of Utility Technologies, under Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dan Adamson.)
The members of CERTS include:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)
Edison Technology Solutions (ETS)
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC)
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL).
The program is an important element in DOE_s response to the recommendations and findings of the SEAB Task Force on Electric System Reliability final report. (See UFTO Note, Oct 8, 1998, or go to: http://www.hr.doe.gov/seab.)
PSERC is a group of universities that have formed a cross-disciplinary team dedicated to solving the challenges arising from power system restructuring. It's worth a visit to their website at: http://www.pserc.wisc.edu.
CERTS organizers are committed to a high degree of involvement by stakeholders. In particular, there will be a Technical Advisory Committee (see below), and numerous opportunities to participate in the research itself. A website is in preparation to provide public access to program details and developments.
Joe Eto, LBNL, Program Office Manager for the Consortium
Phil Overholt, DOE/OPT, T&D Reliability Program Manager
Introduction and Overview--(excerpted from CERTS proposal)
The U.S. electric power system is in transition from one that has been centrally planned and controlled to one that will be increasingly dependent on competitive market forces to determine its operation and expansion. Unique features of electric power, including the need to match supply and demand in real-time, the interconnected networks over which power flows, and the rapid propagation of disturbances throughout the grid pose unique challenges that are likely to be exacerbated in the future. As the physical events of 1996 and the market events of 1998 demonstrate, the reliability of the grid and the integrity of the markets it supports are integral to the economic well-being of the nation.
The Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions (CERTS) was formed to develop and commercialize new methods, tools, and technologies to protect and enhance the reliability of the U.S. electric power system under the emerging competitive electricity market structure.
CERTS organizes its activities under four major areas: (1) Reliability Technology Issues and Needs Assessment; (2) Real Time System Control; (3) Integration of Distributed Technologies; and (4) Reliability and Markets. The first area encompasses strategic planning; the remaining three areas involve research and technology development. (See individual projects described below).
LBNL operates a Program Office for CERTS with day-to-day responsibilities for managing CERTS projects and activities acting under direction from the Management Steering Committee.
ETS operates a Commercialization Office for CERTS with responsibilities for preparing commercialization plans and, when appropriate, implementing commercialization activities for CERTS projects and activities.
CERTS is also working with DOE to create a Technical Advisory Committee, consisting of 10+ industry stakeholders and experts to review the activities of the consortium and provide guidance on research direction.
FY 99 activities for DOE include work in five areas
1. Grid of the Future
The first year of a two year planning study to identify emerging gaps in reliability technology R&D. In the first year, CERTS will lay the groundwork for the development of a federal R&D roadmap by preparing six white papers, which will be the basis for industry-wide stakeholder workshops on: (1) alternative scenarios for the future of the electric power system, including a detailed articulation of the technological assumptions underlying each of these futures; (2) assessment of the technology and control R&D needs for widespread integration of distributed resources; (3) recent reliability issues review, including in-depth analysis of technological and institutional aspects of recent reliability events (e.g., summer 1996 WSCC events; winter 1997 northeast ice storms; winter 1998 San Francisco outage, etc.); (4) review and assessment of the current structure of U.S. bulk power markets and provision of reliability services (including 1998 price spikes in mid-west and west, and absence of meaningful opportunities for demand response); (5) assessment of the technology and control R&D needs for real time system control; (6) assessment of the treatment of uncertainty in planning and operational models.
2. Distributed Technologies Test Bed
The first year of a major multi-year effort to design and ultimately, with industry and other stakeholder partners from industry, operate an in-field distributed technologies test bed. The objective of this work is to develop and demonstrate the technologies and control strategies needed to support widespread integration of distributed resources into the grid.
During the first year, CERTS will: (1) specify the information needed to conduct system simulation studies of distributed technologies, assemble available information, and develop a plan for additional laboratory bench tests to gather missing information; (2) conduct simulation studies of the different scenarios of distributed technology penetration using available data and models to evaluate distribution system reliability impacts and identify micro-grid control issues; and (3) develop a multi-year demonstration plan for a distributed technologies test bed.
3. Reliability Market Monitoring, Design, and Analysis
The first year of a multi-year effort to improve the design and operation of markets for the provision of reliability services in a restructured electricity industry. An integrated set of data development, simulation, and design activities will provide both immediate and longer-term benefits to emerging competitive markets.
During the first year, CERTS will: (1) collect data on ancillary services market compliance for the CA ISO and evaluate alternative user interfaces for using these data; (2) use these and other data to examine the performance of the market and, where warranted, suggest directions for fundamental changes in the design of these markets; (3) use experimental economic methods and other methods to simulate the performance of both current and proposed market designs; and (4) analyze customer-side technical requirements for provision of reliability services
4. Smart VAR Management System
Develop and demonstrate a software tool that will allow system operators to measure, communicate, and process real-time data to perform a VAR analysis of the WSCC grid and provide system operators with voltage profiles and reactive reserve margins at key substations. Had this tool been available, the 1996 outages on the Western grid could have been prevented.
During the first year, CERTS will develop, prototype, and field-test hardware and software that can be integrated with current energy management systems to provide operators with necessary information, contingency simulation, performance tracking, and report generation on voltage and reactive reserve margins.
5. Distributed Control
The first year of a multi-year effort to develop and demonstrate the
appropriate role for distributed controls in management of the operations
of regional power systems. During the first year, CERTS will initiate
a demonstration of the ability and comparative performance of autonomous
reasoning agents to maintain power system reliability compared to conventional
centralized control methods.
UFTO Note - New NOX Knockout, Plus Heat Recovery and Emissions Control
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999
New NOX Knockout, Plus Heat Recovery and Emissions Control
Thermal Energy International, near Ontario Canada, has made even greater progress in the year since the last UFTO note about them (see below).
The company "has received international market patent protection for its revolutionary 90% reduction "Low NOx'' FLU-ACE Air Pollution Control and Heat Recovery technology, for application to all natural gas, oil, and coal burning energy process waste exhaust gases." (from a company press release)
The Low NOx process oxidizes NO into NO2, which can then be absorbed by any wet scrubber. If FLU-ACE is used as the scrubber, the additional benefits of heat recovery and removal of other emissions can also be accomplished.
The Low NOx technology achieves 90% NOx removal at 30% to 50% lower cost per ton removed than the competing (currently accepted) reduction methods (SCR, SNCR). Other advantages are that the Low NOX does not produce hazardous byproducts, does not adversely affect the energy efficiency and operating cost, and does not suffer from an "ammonia slip" concern; which are all documented disadvantages of SCR technology.
The Low NOx process is a simple phosphorus (P) additive atomization and injection into the flue gas; which initially creates Ozone (O3) which then reacts with NO to produce NO2, and then the NO2 is easily 90% removed through a standard wet scrubber, or 98% removed through a FLU-ACE condensing & reactive scrubber.
Adding phosphorus is not a new idea. Years ago, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley Lab worked on putting it into the scrubber slurry (see UFTO Report, June '95) , but weren't able to get the performance to make it practical. Thermal Energy's chief scientist was able to figure out the complex series of chemical reactions and determine that the best way to inject phosphorus was directly into the flue gas, as it leaves the boiler.
Installation is not complex, and can be readily done as a retrofit on almost any kind of exhaust system, with only a moderate degree of site-specific engineering.
To recap--there are two stories here. One is FLU-ACE, and the other is Low NOx. They can be used together or separately.
Low NOx provides significant cost savings over available technology. If a wet scrubber is already in place, costs can be 65-75% less expensive than SCR, at 90% NOx removal. As mentioned earlier, if FLU-ACE is installed as the scrubber, then NOx removal can approach 98%, and provide heat recovery and removal of other pollutants, with costs 30-50% cheaper than SCR alone.
Notably, FLU-ACE can remove multiple emissions at the same time, including fine particulates, hydrocarbons, heavy metals and VOCs, in addition to HCl, SOx, NOx, and CO2. The system replaces the smoke stack, with a smaller foot print and lower height.
It's also worth noting that FLU-ACE qualifies under Canadian government export support programs that can provide low interest financing and performance guarantees.
The company is seeking to raise $12 Million in debt and equity capital, and has a business plan that they will share with qualified investors or potential partners. (I have a pdf copy of the Plan Summary, which I can forward on request.)
For further information:
Thomas Hinke, President
Thermal Energy International Inc.
Neapean (Ottawa), Ontario, Canada
613-723-6776 Fax: 613-723-7286 E-mail: email@example.com
Web Site - http://www.thermalenergy.com/
--previous UFTO NOTE ----
Subject: UFTO Note - Flue gas heat recovery and air pollution control
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998
Flue gas heat recovery and air pollution control
Simple in concept, FLU-ACE has accomplished something that many others have tried unsuccessfully to do for a long time, and they have plants that have been operating for over 10 years. Their condensing heat exchanger system replaces the stack in combustion systems, recovering almost all of the waste heat, and removing most of the emissions. With modifications, it even can remove up to 50% of the CO2.
It can be thought of as pollution control that pays for itself in fuel savings--or visa versa. Water is sprayed into the hot flue gas, both cooling and cleaning it. The water is then collected, passed through a heat exchanger to recover the heat, and treated to neutralize the acidity and remove contaminants.
Condensing heat exchangers aren't new, but they normally can be used only when the hot gas is reasonably clean. FLU-ACE can handle any kind of gas, even if it contains particulates, acids and unburned hydrocarbons. Conventional wisdom holds that corrosion, plugging and clogging should defeat this approach, but FLU-ACE has overcome problems with its patented design. Systems show no degradation after years of operation. It has even been qualified for use with biomedical incinerator exhaust.
Industrial boilers and cogeneration plants are ideal applications. The installed base includes district heating systems, sewage treatment plants, hospitals, pulp and paper mills, and university campuses. Heat recovery is even greater when the exhaust gas is high in moisture content, e.g. in paper mills and sewage treatment. The largest system to date is 15 MW thermal, but there is no limit on the size.
A fossil power plant could use about 15% of the recovered heat for makeup water heating, so the economics are better when there are nearby uses for the heat. The company really wants to do a coal burning power plant--a slipstream demo could be the first step.
The company is a small publicly traded Canadian firm (symbol TMG - Alberta Stock Exchange). They have a dormant U.S. subsidiary, and are seeking U.S. partners, joint ventures and alliances for market expansion.
(UFTO first reported on FLU ACE in October '95)
The following materials are excerpted from the company's materials:
The unique FLU-ACE technology is a combined heat recovery and air pollution control system, which recovers up to 90% of the heat normally wasted in hot chimney flue gases. FLU-ACE substantially reduces the emission of "Greenhouse Gases" (including C02), "Acid Gases" (including SOx), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), unburned hydrocarbons (such as THC and VOCs), and particulates (such as soot and fly ash). It eliminates the need for a conventional tall smoke stack or chimney.
Thermal Energy International Inc. has built eleven FLU-ACE Air Pollution Control and Heat Recovery Systems in Canada. All of Thermal's FLU-ACE installations in Ontario have been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy. The life expectancy of the FLU-ACE system is at least thirty-five to forty years. In December 1997, the company received patent protection in 42 countries; the US patent is expected early in 1998.
Low NOx FLU-ACE provides a payback on investment and is self financing from the savings that it generates for the industry user. The company is able to provide "Off-Balance" Sheet financing or 3rd party financing options for acquisition of its FLU-ACE technology by industrial and institutional buyers.
Using a direct-contact gas-to-liquid mass transfer and heat exchange concept, the system is designed to process flue gas from combustion of fossil fuels, waste derived fuels, waste, biomass, etc. The FLU-ACE System is configured as a corrosion resistant alloy steel tower at a fraction of the size of any conventional stack. All of the hot flue gas from one source or multiple sources (including co-gen and boilers) are redirected into the FLU-ACE tower, where it is cooled to within one to two degrees of the primary water return temperature, which enters the tower typically at between 16¡C (60¡F) and 32¡C (90¡F) depending on the season and outside air temperature. The heat (both latent and sensible) from the flue gas is transferred to the primary water which then reaches up to 63¡C (145¡F) and with special design up to 85¡C (185¡F), and circulated to various heat users.
FLU-ACE most sophisticated version (HP) reduces air pollutant emissions
by over 99% including particulate down to 0.3 micrometers in size, and
simultaneously recovers 80-90% of the heat in the flue gas normally exhausted
into the atmosphere. This results in a reduction of fuel consumption by
the facility up to 50%.
UFTO Note - Active Harmonic Filters
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999
Parallel Active Harmonic Filters
There is a common perception in the utility industry that power quality should be dealt with at the service entrance. As a general rule, however, managers of commercial and industrial facilities know that the real problems are inside the plant--their own (heavy) equipment is usually the cause of disruptions to their own sensitive loads.
There are greater benefits when harmonic and displacement power factor correction solutions are placed close to the causes of the problem. A facility's internal electrical system can be better utilized, chances of harmonic related mysterious shutdowns are eliminated, and resonance cannot occur.
Parallel active harmonic filters (AHFs) use fast switching semiconductors to inject harmonic current onto ac lines. Microprocessor logic circuits monitor the total current of the load(s); determine the harmonic content; and control the switching sequence of the power semiconductors to inject a current waveform to exactly cancel and thus remove the bulk of the harmonic current.
AHFs are installed parallel to nonlinear loads, and use current transducers to monitor the load current. They do not use power factor capacitors. The power semiconductors are insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) that move power from the ac lines to a dc bus capacitor circuit and back to the ac lines in a prescribed manner. (Before the advent of IGBTs, active harmonic filters were ineffective and quite expensive.) Some AHFs can also measure and inject reactive current for system displacement power factor correction.
Historically, AHFs have been viewed as either did not working well or costing far too much. If only the initial equipment cost is considered, a 5th harmonic tuned filter will be cheaper. However, when all costs are included, AHFs are the most economical and the most complete solution.
Products are available commercially for use 1) on utility distribution lines, 2) at the point-of-common-coupling (PCC) for facilities to the utility, 3) within the three phase distribution system inside facilities, 4) on the three phase four wire facility distribution system, and 5) to remove neutral harmonics on three phase four wire systems.
Electronic Power Conditioning Inc. (EPC) is offering a series of compact AHF devices called AccuSine, in 50/100/300 amps sizes for placement close to loads. AccuSine can also be paralleled (up to 5 units) for larger requirements such as the utility interface when appropriate. It is designed with the fastest response possible -- spectrum cancellation responds in 8 milliseconds (about 1/2 cycle). This approach will cancel interharmonics (noninteger multiples of the fundamental) above 60 Hz, where FFT cannot. This permits AccuSine to correct for "all" types of loads (eventually to include welders and arc furnaces).
With rapid switching of the IGBTs (20 kHZ), AccuSine cancels all harmonics up to the 50th order. Customers do not need to choose which specific orders or put up with limited range of orders to be canceled (as with products from other suppliers).
AccuSine is a flexible product, and can be used in many applications, for power factor correction only, harmonic cancellation only, or both simultaneously. It can be applied to single loads or on a bus for many loads.
Some frequent applications include:
VFD -- Variable frequency drives are the largest group of harmonic polluters in use today. AccuSine eliminates the distortion of one or many VFDs depending upon the installation.
WWTP -- Water and wastewater plants use many VFDs for pump and fan applications. With AccuSine the current harmonics can be limited to any amount desired, even to <5% TDD.
Office Buildings -- AccuSine will protect the tenants from VFDs on air handling units and DC drives on elevators. TDD can be kept <5%.
Generators -- Generators are unstable and overheat when small amounts of the total load are nonlinear. Placing AccuSine between the generator and the loads converts the loads into linear loads. Thus full capacity can be used when PFC and harmonic suppression are both used.
UPS - Input & Output -- UPSs create significant harmonic distortion on the AC lines. AccuSine will maintain TDD to <5%.
UPSs do not operate well with a high content of nonlinear loads on their output. AccuSine on the UPS output is the answer.
Plant Entrance Systems -- IEEE 519-1992 requires harmonic current distortion emissions be held to defined levels. AccuSine on the low voltage system provides absolute compliance regardless of the load dynamics.
DC Motor Controls -- DC drive applications have rapidly changing loads that create poor power factor and large amounts of harmonic current due to the SCR phase converter. Only AccuSine can remedy both the power factor and harmonic current pollution simultaneously and dynamically.
In June '98, EPC announced the successful installation of an AccuSine Power Correction System at a wastewater treatment plant in Oregon, where variable frequency drives (VFDs) had been installed to improve control of raw sewage pumps and to decrease operating costs through variable speed operation. Interference with the computer management system was an unexpected complication. Noise pickup caused multiple logic errors. Sometimes erroneous warnings were sounded. Additionally, depending upon the total load of the VFD/raw sewage pump system, the circuit breaker protecting the management control system would trip thus shutting the plant down. If partially treated sewage is dumped into the adjacent river as a result of computer failure, substantial government fines occur.
After costly and time consuming on-site studies, harmonics from the VFD were determined to be the cause. The initial solution was to install an input line reactor (believed to be the lowest cost solution), which was partially successful. However, at near full load and speed conditions, the problem persisted. AccuSine has eliminated the problem.
This installation required an AccuSine rated at 50 amperes and 480 volts performing only harmonic cancellation to correct the harmonic current caused by a VFD rated at 125 horsepower. AccuSine has successfully reduced the total harmonic current distortion from 39% to 4% insuring trouble free operation of the plant.
EPC has a website with more information and a national list of reps.
(Available March 1 -- in the meantime,
temporary site is http://www.proaxis.com/~epc/)
Contact: Jim Johnson, VP Sales 541-753-7220,
Electronic Power Conditioning, Inc. (Corvallis OR)
Additional ref: "Parallel Active Harmonic Filters: Economically
Viable Technology", Charles Gougler and James R. Johnson, IEEE
PES Winter Power Meeting, Feb '99
UFTO Fwd: Utility Restructuring Weekly Update
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999
A reminder that this weekly service is available from DOE. Anyone can request to be added to the email distribution list. Notice the availability on DOE's website.
Subject: Utility Restructuring Weekly Update
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:46:48 -0500
From: Jennifer Bergman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Ericka Goss <email@example.com>
January 22, 1999
Utility Restructuring Weekly Update
This weekly information has been compiled by Energetics, Inc. for the U.S. Department of Energy. Questions or comments on subscribing to the weekly should be directed to either Jennifer Bergman, Energetics, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Diane Pirkey, U.S. Department of Energy, DIANE.PIRKEY@HQ.DOE.GOV. All other inquiries should be directed to the specific organization in question.
The Weekly Update is available on the Internet at
State legislators from around the country are expressing their opposition to Congressional activity that will preempt state efforts in the area of electric industry restructuring. Speaking on behalf of the National Conference of State Legislatures, . . . . . .
Yahoo Utilities Company News: http://biz.yahoo.com
PMA Daily Power Report: http://www.powermarketers.com
501 School Street, SW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20024
(202)479-2748 ext. 108
Note - Ultra-Net Satellite SCADA Communications Network
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999
Ultra-Net Satellite SCADA Communications Network
ULTRA-NETª is a satellite communications system which provides reliable dedicated links between a company's control centers and remote data acquisition, monitoring and control points. ULTRA-NETª improves reliability by providing a low cost, real time, monitoring of critical operating parameters, and enabling the automation of systems that are dispersed over a wide geographical area. It also can be used to augment or replace older communication systems (which can help justify the cost of automation projects).
Ultra-Net has already been demonstrated and proven in full scale use for over 3 years in SCADA applications by Southern California Edison (SCE), linking nearly 200 remote terminals at 150 substations to central control centers (equipment monitoring, load switching, etc.). There is a great deal of operational data available.
The system is not affected by terrain variations such as mountains, hills and river valleys that impede radio and microwave communications. It eliminates the need to acquire and access heavily congested radio frequencies, and it eliminates the high cost of leased telephone lines and the cost of substation ground fault isolation. ULTRA-NETä systems can be installed in environmentally sensitive areas that can not be accessed for the installation of landlines, radio, or microwave towers. The documented avoided cost savings at SCE were in excess of five times the cost of equipment and labor of alternative technologies.
Another positive feature of ULTRA-NETª is that high wind, ice and snow loading do not adversely affect its performance (in marked contrast to ground phone lines). Nor are systems affected by flooding, as are buried lines and vaults. SCE's system has survived Santa Ana windstorms with wind speeds over 100 mph, with no effect on performance.
Ultra-Net is designed for very specific niche applications -- SCADA systems in electric, gas and water utilities, and oil and gas pipelines. It likewise is well suited for distribution automation and weather or hydrological data collection.
The small earth station units are self-contained, and are easily installed with mimimal site impact and with direct interface to existing user equipment , with only DC power and RS-232 data cables as the only connections. The system uses commercial geosynchronous satellites, so it provides uninterrupted dedicated communications, polling every remote unit every 4 seconds.
Edison Technology Solutions (ETS) is offering the system commercially, and will develop the requirements and cost proposal, do the installation, and provide service and support.
Contact: Jerry Barich, 626.815.0503, email@example.com
UFTO Note - Fuel Cell Information Sources
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999
Fuel Cell Information Sources
The industry pays a lot of attention to Fuel Cells and there are many sources of information, so UFTO doesn't attempt to cover this huge topic except for unusual or less visible developments.
If you didn't go to the big meeting in Palm Springs last Fall, you can purchase a copy of the of the 1998 Fuel Cell Seminar Abstract book for $45 (includes U.S. shipping & handling), or if you prefer in CD ROM format for $20 (includes U.S. postage & handling). For international orders please contact us for shipping information.
Mail check to:
Fuel Cell Seminar
2000 L Street, NW. Suite 710
Washington, DC 20036
For credit card orders call (202) 973-8671. Please allow-2-3 weeks for delivery. Quantities are limited. (FUELCELL98@courtesyassoc.com)
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Letter http://www.mhv.net/~hfcletter/
(monthly newsletter, $230/year -- recommended)
Here is a list of websites on fuel cells, courtesy of Charles Berry,
KeySpan Energy (Brooklyn Union), our newest UFTO member (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Many of these sites also have lists of site links.
Charles Berry's FUEL CELL WEBSITES LIST:
Fuel Cell Developer List
International Fuel Cells
Dept. of Defense
Dept. of Energy
(** Has proceedings of the annual Joint DOE/EPRI/GRI Workshops on Fuel Cell Technology. The writeup for the May '98 meeting in San Francisco is still in preparation by EPRI. The '99 meeting will be in Chicago, July 27-29.)
Energy Research Corp.
Electric Power Research Institute
Gas Research Institute
Fuel Cell Commercialization Group
Fuel Cells 2000
American Hydrogen Association
Analytic Power Corp.
Fuel Cell File
H Power Corp.
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Letter
Hydrogen Burner Technology
Humboldt State University
NASA Lewis Safety Manual
Natural Resource Defense Council
National Fuel Cell Research Center
National Hydrogen Association
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(St. Vincent's demonstration is covered in Report 97-3)
Argonne National Labs
Oak Ridge National Labs
Plug Power, LLC
Proton Energy Systems
Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Sandia National Labs
Small-scale Fuel Cell Commercialization Group
South Coast Air Quality Management District
US Fuel Cell Council
Warsitz Enterprises, Inc.
*Following reports available:
Task 3: Investigate Current Uses of Fuel Cells in the DOD, issued June 2, 1997, provides a detailed overview of fuel cell technology, fuel cell manufacturers, and key support organizations. In addition, the report summarizes current DOD fuel cell applications and installations under the Fiscal Year 1993 (FY93) and FY94 DOD fuel cell programs.
Task 4: DOD-Unique Applications, issued June 20, 1997, identifies fuel cell applications not currently pursued by the DOD, including premium power, direct current (DC) power, and hydrogen source applications.
Task 5: DOD Guidebook for Evaluating Fuel Cell Technology,
issued October 10, 1997, identifies fuel cell technology, guides users
through the process to determine potential fuel cell applications, and
allows an approach for an economic analysis of fuel cells.
UFTO Note - CPUC OIR--Deregulate Elec. Distribution???
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999
CPUC OIR -- Deregulate Elec. Distribution??
**(note proposal below, and let me know of your interest)***
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is about to embark on what may become the most far-reaching restructuring process to date. Motivated in large part by the advent of distributed resources (small generation and storage technologies) and the California Alliance for Distributed Energy Resources (CADER), the CPUC will evaluate over the next 12 months the rules for the distribution systems of the future.
Topics will include the role of wires companies, true retail access, whether the wires should remain a monopoly, and whether distribution companies can own or operate distributed generation and storage. The results could dramatically alter some of the most important aspects of AB1890, define the distributed technology market rules in California, and influence similar discussions now heating up in other states and on the federal level.
At its regular meeting on Dec 17, the CPUC issued an "OIR":
R.98-12-015, "Order Instituting Rulemaking
Commission Reforms in the Structure and Regulatory Framework
Governing Electricity Distribution Service"
The full text is available online:
(in HTML, Word, or PDF format)
>>> The Summary and Rulemaking Questions are attached below. <<<<<
*******"OIR Watch Proposal"***********
Obviously, utilities in California will be heavily involved (they're named as respondents). The rest of the country will probably want to pay close attention to this entire discussion, as lengthy and voluminous as it is likely to be.
Distributed Utility Associates (founding members of CADER and a leading consultant in distributed resources) is considering a plan to prepare concise monthly reviews of the CPUC Distribution System Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR), and to interpret its progress, direction and interpreting its importance.
The rulemaking’s implications could include new definitions of distribution companies, new business opportunities or exclusions for wires companies, needs for new or revised energy technologies and set the pace of distributed resources market entry.
In addition, a final synopsis on the resulting rulemaking and its implications on the electric utility industry could be issued at the conclusion of the twelve to fifteen month process. This would be offered as a subscription package.
Pricing is to be determined, probably in the range of $5,000, assuming a sufficient number of subscribers. UFTO Client Companies would be eligible to subscribe at a substantial discount.
Please let me know how this idea strikes you, and what your level of
interest might be.
ORDER INSTITUTING RULEMAKING
By this order, we open a rulemaking proceeding to consider whether the Commission should pursue reforms in the structure and regulatory framework governing electricity distribution service. The purpose of this proceeding is to gather additional information to assist us in framing proposals to the Legislature and our stakeholders for whatever reforms may be necessary in light of current developments in California’s electric industry.
This rulemaking will provide the opportunity for the Commission to begin consulting with the Legislature and collaborating with the Administration, interested stakeholders, and other state/local agencies who may have jurisdiction or interest in electric distribution and generation issues. In particular, we believe that our consideration of issues focusing on distributed generation and/or distribution competition will benefit from a collaborative effort among the Commission, the California Energy Commission (CEC), and the California Electricity Oversight Board (EOB). This process will allow us to work with these parties to identify the range of issues on distributed generation and distribution competition, and their interrelationships; explore whether we should undertake a focused analysis of distributed generation or a more comprehensive consideration of distribution competition issues; and determine those issues we can address more narrowly and more expeditiously. At the end of this process, we anticipate issuing a proposal that reflects our coordination with the CEC and the EOB, outlining the specific steps we will undertake, in cooperation with the Legislature, in addressing the issues and considering proposed changes in our regulatory policies and rules.
We solicit comments and proposals regarding the scope and substance
of issues that need to be addressed, possible policy options, and the procedural
steps that the Commission could pursue in adopting and implementing needed
reforms that are consistent with the state’s goals and objectives in electric
restructuring. We invite responses to our questions in Appendix A
of this rulemaking. Respondents shall and interested parties may
file opening comments on or before March 17, 1999, and reply comments on
or before May 17, 1999. Given the collaborative efforts we intend
to undertake with the CEC and the EOB in this proceeding, respondents and
interested parties should also provide copies of their comments to these
two agencies. We intend to consider a proposal from the Assigned Commissioner
in the summer of 1999.
1. From a policy perspective, does consideration of DG necessarily require
a broader, more comprehensive look at distribution competition and the
role of the UDC?
2. Where has competition, as it relates to distribution, emerged or not emerged in California? Has there been growth in irrigation, municipal, and other public utility districts in the existing service areas of the UDCs? What has been the market penetration of DG, self-generation, and T&D substitutes in California?
3. Is there a need for further reforms in the structure and regulatory framework governing electricity distribution service, in light of current market developments described in your response to Q2 above? If so, what are they? What is the UDC’s ultimate role in this restructured energy market?
4. How would competition in distribution service be effected? Please give specific examples or scenarios manifesting competition in distribution facilities and/or services. What is the Commission’s role and the roles of other state/local agencies?
5. How would the integrity, reliability, safety, and efficiency of the T&D system be affected by a more competitive electric distribution and/or DG market? Please provide policy options.
6. What are the regulatory jurisdictional effects, if any, of allowing more competition in distribution and/or DG? Please provide policy options.
7. Provide an assessment of the possible environmental impacts of increased competition in distribution and/or DG. Please provide policy options.
8. Provide an assessment of the possible social, economic, and labor impacts, including implications for public purpose programs (i.e., energy efficiency and low-income programs), of increased competition in distribution and/or DG. Please provide policy options.
9. What are the ratemaking consequences of introducing or encouraging more competition in distribution and/or DG? Please provide policy options.
10. Describe the potential costs of promoting competition in distribution and/or DG? What are the potential stranded costs? What are the benefits? How should the potential costs and benefits be analyzed and quantified?
11. Does competition in electric distribution service have implications on the delivery infrastructure for natural gas? Please describe any such interrelationship and the resulting impacts on customer benefits, the environment, and regulatory structure?
12. What procedural steps should be pursued? Should there be a more focused analysis of DG issues, or a more comprehensive consideration of issues surrounding distribution competition? Are there issues which are more appropriately considered in workshops, full panel hearings, and/or other procedural forums?