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Linemen News: July

News Highlights from the Electric Power Industry.

Duke Energy Chooses ASCENT to Develop Targeted Learning Solutions for its Substation Designers

As power utilities modernize their energy grids, Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States, turned to ASCENT- Center for Technical Knowledge to develop training content for their design engineers.

“Standardizing and implementing the substation design tools and methodologies is an important factor for us to provide dependable power every day,” says Mary Jo Clarkson, manager, design automation tools and support, Duke Energy… >> Read more

Utilities and pandemic planning: How we keep the lights on when the unthinkable happens

Providing reliable power to customers and serving communities is a cornerstone to the functioning of electric companies. Whether it is inclement weather, cyber threat or a global pandemic, business continuity plans and response are essential for delivering on the promise to serve. Power industry leaders provide resiliency in such times through careful planning, preparation and response guidelines. With the current pandemic threat posed by COVID-19, the challenges are new and unprecedented (Fig.1). >> Read more

Momentum grows for piloting Netflix-like fixed subscription rates, but not everyone’s on board

Momentum is growing for giving electricity customers the kind of predictable subscription bill options that smartphone and home entertainment customers get.

Fixed rates — once preferred to align costs and revenues — are losing regulatory support as variable supply and load make demand peaks the bigger concern. Dynamic rates with price signals that flatten peaks and shift load to match supply are becoming the favored rate design. But the subscription rate concept, coupled with enabling smart home energy management technologies, is gaining momentum and could offer the benefits of both. >> Read more

Regulators reject utility moves to recover revenue lost to COVID-19 as analysts, advocates see trend continuing

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has issued an “immediate” and “decisive” rejection of a request to raise residential electric rates to compensate for COVID-19, leading consumer advocates and industry analysts to conclude that similar requests in other states are likely to suffer the same fate.

“The utilities’ request to recover lost revenue was beyond the pale, and, simply put, a bridge too far,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director of Indiana’s Citizens Action Coalition. “The reaction from the public and elected officials was immediate, decisive, and left no doubt that this request was unacceptable.” >> Read more

Micro Generation with Macro Possibilities

The benefits of microgrids have been increasingly recognized in recent years, as sources of both backup and at times primary power. The systems provide reliability and energy security, can be at the heart of sustainability programs for businesses, and are decreasing electricity costs for consumers. They also are an important tool to bring electricity to areas unable to access the traditional grid.

Governments are supporting their construction. Market dynamics are being helped by investment tax credits, feed-in tariffs, tax rebates, and more for microgrid technologies, including solar power and battery storage. >> Read more

Hitachi Absorbs ABB Power Grids in New $10B Joint Venture

Hitachi on July 1 commandeered a majority share of ABB’s lucrative Power Grids business and officially launched a joint venture company—Hitachi ABB Power Grids. The new company, which already has a volume of about $10 billion, is expected to provide financial muscle to support ambitious projects and new business opportunities as the sector embraces decentralization and digitalization. >> Read more

Corrosion minimization: The key is to protect metal surfaces

Many of the new combined cycle power plants that have sprouted up in the last two decades have open recirculating cooling systems, i.e., cooling towers, for turbine exhaust steam and auxiliary cooling.  Corrosion protection is critical for these systems, as well as for new plants, including those using hydrogen-fueled combustion.

A common perception amongst many personnel at power plants and other industrial facilities is that chemistry programs for cooling water systems, and other water/steam systems for that matter, are primarily designed to condition the bulk fluid.  >> Read more

Be Prepared. Think Safety.