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Linemen News: January

News Highlights from the Electric Power Industry

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

Viance offers environmentally advanced utility pole and crossarm preservative alternative to penta

Viance, a leading innovator in the wood preservation industry, announced the introduction of UltraPole™ NXT in 2018. UltraPole NXT is a rigorously tested, environmentally advanced preservative that offers utilities an alternative to penta and other preservative systems currently in use.

Given recent market developments regarding the long-term supply of pentachlorophenol (penta), utilities and their suppliers are evaluating other preservative options. Viance is ready to supply market needs with the environmentally advanced UltraPole NXT and UltraArm NXT preservative systems. Read more >>

Traceability, accountability, and diversification come to the fore as the energy sector enters into a new decade

The world has never been more aware of the importance of conserving resources and reducing carbon emissions. Nowhere is this growing consciousness more keenly felt than in the energy sector. Companies need to navigate increasingly demanding taxation regimes and government policies as well as the negative perception connected to fossil fuel taking root among the general population and brought to the fore by the likes of Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion.

Besides the mounting social pressure on businesses, they must also consider the business imperative. This entails building long-term plans that insulate them from macro-economic and geo-political volatility and the prospect of a skill shortage as younger generations are less inclined to choose to enter a “dirty” industry.

Against this macro-economic background, I summarized the following predictions for the energy, utilities and resources sector. Read more >>

Evolution of the Smart Grid at Forefront of Transformative Change

The power industry is in the midst of a shake-up, a revolution in how electricity is generated and distributed. Smart grid technology is changing the way utilities and customers interact, and providing support for the integration of renewable resources and energy storage to the grid.

The electric utility industry is undergoing a transformation, and it’s more than a reduced role for fossil fuels and an increased emphasis on renewable resources for power generation. Energy companies are looking at ways to lower the cost of power, and the decentralization of generation is bringing about new business models and processes. Read more >>

Making the case for billion-dollar investments in grid modernization by answering 3 key questions

Some of the biggest investor-owned utilities in the country have in recent years had signficant grid modernization proposals rejected by regulators. But utilities may be able to avoid such rejection by answering three basic, but critical questions.

Regulators for Dominion Virginia, Duke Carolinas and others have spurned billion-dollar grid modernization proposals that would prepare the power system for 21st century renewable and distributed technologies because the expenditures were inadequately justified. Utilities can avoid that fate by adopting a “Why-What-How” framework that can keep them from being “mired in details” and “chasing shiny objects,” according to a November paper from Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Read more >>

DistribuTECH 2020: Data and engineering for the rapidly evolving power grid

As today’s power grid rapidly evolves, it has become abundantly obvious that there is both great potential and great risk inherent in the process.  Much of our future success or failure will depend on the steps we take today to think about and plan for tomorrow’s grid.

At Electric Power Engineers (EPE), we believe these rapidly occurring developments will require a major re-design of our future grid, at multiple levels.  We need to identify what data we want and when we want it, how we will analyze it, and what we intend to do with the results.


4th Circuit nixes key permit for Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, citing environmental justice concerns

Dominion maintains the $7.5-billion pipeline is “needed now more than ever” for economic growth and to reduce carbon emissions, but the court called out regulators for failing to adequately consider the impacts on local populations. The Fourth Circuit concluded Virginia regulators relied too heavily on air quality standards, leading it to dismiss issues of environmental justice and the impact on nearby communities.

“Even if all pollutants within the county remain below state and national air quality standards, the board failed to grapple with the likelihood that those living closest to the compressor station … will be affected more than those living in other parts of the same county,” the 47-page decision finds. Read more >>

‘What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate’

Anyone who’s ever had to bring together crews for a major restoration has faced a moment that could conjure up a line from the classic movie “Cool Hand Luke,” in which the prison warden wryly says, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” Utilities and contractors share responsibility and frustration in equal parts when it comes to offering and acquiring crews for restoration.

But the focus of this column is the contractor’s point of view. Leading up to and during an event, contractors want to know as soon as possible if their crews and equipment will be picked up. Contractors also face challenges in quickly and accurately filling out crew rosters requested by utilities. That’s partly because there’s no standard layout (e.g., name, title, skill set, etc.) for how to present a roster to a requesting utility. There are a few areas across the U.S. that have implemented a common roster, but these rolls cover investor-owned utilities (IOUs) or municipalities or cooperatives – seldom all. Read more >>

Be Prepared. Think Safety.