Linemen News: June

News Highlights from the Electric Power Industry

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

SB Tree Service Helps Florida Prepare for Hurricane Season

As Florida residents brace for hurricane season, SB Tree Service has confirmed ongoing hurricane mitigation and removal services for the homes and businesses of Volusia and Flagler counties.

As a provider of full-spectrum tree care and property services, their work helps to improve the safety of residential and commercial properties that play home to trees of all sizes. With the NOAA predicting “a busy” 2020 hurricane season, tree services are about to become all-the-more important to Florida residents in the coming months. >> Read more

PG&E strengthens community resilience with microgrid solutions

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s (PG&E’s) microgrid proposals, which are designed to reduce the number of customers affected by Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events and mitigate current impacts. PG&E aims to enhance and expand efforts to prevent wildfires as high temperatures, extreme dryness and winds increase California’s wildfire threats.

A PSPS, used when severe weather threatens the electric system, allows the utility to turn off electricity to reduce the risk of wildfire. >> Read more

Utility ransomware attacks becoming more sophisticated, new ‘honeypot’ operation finds

Cybereason’s honeypot operation — in which hackers are lured to break into a fake ICS network to study their methods — revealed increasingly targeted tactics and resulted in a dire warning for the electric sector and critical infrastructure more broadly.

“It is only a matter of time before a catastrophic event occurs, putting a nation in the dark or causing damage to the integrity of our electricity networks, water systems, or SCADA networks,” Cybereason Chief Information Security Officer Israel Barak wrote in an analysis of the operation. >> Read more

California utilities, regulators aim to hasten microgrid deployment ahead of wildfire season

California utilities have their work cut out for them this summer in light of several new requirements and deadlines issued by the CPUC. But the new orders could also open opportunities for community and residential storage projects.

In a June 11 decision, the CPUC ordered PG&E, SDG&E, and Southern California Edison to submit a series of reports and plans tied to their progress toward adopting new resiliency programs and supporting microgrid deployment.

Within 30 days, the utilities must report to the CPUC their progress toward establishing pre-approved templates for microgrid interconnection, specify when a virtual inspection may suffice in place of a field inspection, and plan semi-annual public workshops to help residents better understand grid operations, among other reports and actions. >> Read more

Power Line Management in the Time of Coronavirus

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has put communities on lockdown and created a need for social distancing. Many are staying at home, but that’s not an option for the frontline workers running critical power transmission infrastructure and keeping the lights on.

How can utilities keep up with their operational and safety obligations with a reduced onsite workforce? Specifically, how can utilities maintain power line inspection and maintenance regimes, and what are the additional challenges for those in areas such as California, where COVID-19 collides with other threats, such as wildfire season? >> Read more

Smart Neighborhood Wins Smart Grid Award

Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood integrates a microgrid into a community filled with high-performance homes containing energy-efficient systems and connected appliances. The innovative initiative, which includes solar panels, battery storage, and a natural gas-fired backup generator, connects 62 homes with a future-focused system. The project serves not only as a model for new residential communities, but lessons learned could also benefit existing customers in more-established communities. >> Read more

Op-ed: Promising Outlook for Lithium-Ion Battery Technology — Once Risks Are Addressed

Energy storage is transforming the power industry, and lithium-ion battery technology is a dominating driving force. But with the pace of change, it remains to be seen whether lithium-ion will remain in the lead over the long-term. Burns & McDonnell Energy Storage Director Chris Ruckman explains in a new blog.

Lithium-ion batteries are here to stay. Use cases are growing every day. Cell pricing continues to decline and manufacturing is ramping up to meet global demand. At the same time, battery energy density continues to improve, and manufacturers are developing more cost‑effective packaging to reduce installation costs. And, finally, though current fire safety concerns are serious, they can be addressed with proper equipment selection, planning and engineering. >> Read more

Be Prepared. Think Safety.