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Linemen News: December

News Highlights from the Electric Power Industry

Here are some industry news and information articles from around the web, just for you.

Connectors — The Weak Link

When considering increased conductor temperatures, numerous issues are of concern, particularly with the dynamic effects on electrical connectors when suspended overhead aluminum conductors are operated at high temperatures, specifically above 93˚C (200˚F).

The majority of line hardware associated with suspension and support of bare aluminum overhead conductors has been designed for a maximum operating temperature for conductor of 70–75˚C. However, due to load growth and demand, as many utilities approach conductor operating temperatures of 90–95˚C and beyond on standard conductors such as aluminum conductor steel-reinforced (ACSR) and all-aluminum conductor (AAC), serious questions must be answered. Read more >>

NASA says satellite data can cut disaster response times, costs

Researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center determined that ready access to near-real-time information about flooded roads (via satellite data) could have saved ambulance drivers and other emergency responders an average of nine minutes per emergency response and potentially millions of dollars, using the 2011 Southeast Asian floods as a case study.

The study is a first step in developing a model to deploy in future disasters, according to the researchers. The team used this tool to support disaster recovery after the 2018 failure of the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy dam in Laos, which impounds water for a 410-MW hydroelectric powerhouse. Read more >>

Decarbonization: Utilities Leading the Way

Decarbonization is a word that seems to be used quite regularly these days. For the power industry, it refers to the shift in electric generating resources from carbon-heavy coal to carbon-free nuclear or renewables, including wind, solar, and hydro. Many politicians have espoused clean-energy plans, but it’s not just lawmakers promoting decarbonization, as power companies are setting their own aggressive goals.Read more >>

Nevada regulators approve NV Energy plan for 1,190 MW solar, 590 MW storage

A Nevada law passed in April requires NV Energy to supply 50% of its power from renewable resources by 2030 and 100% from carbon-free sources by 2050. The utility says approval for its long-term resource plan sets it on pace to meet those goals. Read more >>

Minnesota pioneers integration of new interconnection standard expected to propel DERs

On Nov. 14, Minnesota became the first state to officially integrate the recently updated IEEE Standard 1547™-2018 into its statewide interconnection regulations when the Minnesota Public Service Commission adopted a new statewide technical standards document, known as the Technical Interconnection and Interoperability Requirements (TIIR). This important step will enable more streamlined adoption of smart inverters and more sophisticated DER technologies, communications and controls. Read more >>

AEP, Ameren, TVA team up with EPRI to connect clean energy startups with utilities

“Startups always struggle,” Erik Steeb, who leads Incubatenergy for EPRI, told Utility Dive. “They have to do demonstration after demonstration in the market to get traction,” he said. And even if they show a product works, “that doesn’t necessarily convey to other utilities.”

Incubatenergy aims to address some of those challenges by connecting startups with utilities to focus on challenges common among electric power utilities. While there are no size requirements for companies applying, Steeb said there is an expectation companies are “demonstration-ready.” Read more >>

5 utility trends shaping electricity’s future

The next decade’s electric utility is taking shape today in the form of plans, sometimes thousands of pages, plopped into the laps of state regulators nationwide.

Like snowflakes, each of these integrated resource plans (IRPs) — which outline how utilities intend to meet power demand cost-effectively — is unique. Not all states require them. And the almost three dozen states that do each has distinct requirements and processes for the plans, which look 10 to 20 years into the future.

But collectively, the IRPs provide a unique window into where power companies think the nation’s electricity mix is headed. Among the trends: Electric vehicles may have little influence on power demand in the next decade; competition between natural gas and renewables is on the upswing; and battery storage could become less costly. In some locations, coal plants may shutter faster than expected. Read more >>

Be Prepared. Think Safety.