The Valley Group presented at Conference held at Carnegie Mellon University

Emerging Phenomena In Changing Electric Energy Systems : What Might Happen, Why, and How to Manage it?

This conference focused on the unintended consequences of changes in the electricity system. Papers were presented which addressed causes, modeling and dynamics of hard-to-predict emerging phenomenon. Presentations also addressed investments in smart grid, dynamic pricing, decentralized generation (including net metering for an area with a high penetration of solar self generation), fundamental approaches to transforming today's operating and planning industry practices, and the supporting policies, to manage short-and long-term uncertain problems to ensure sustainable electricity services.

 Motivation for the theme

As unconventional technologies (many of them new) get connected to the electric power grid, and the system is driven by qualitatively new economic and environmental objectives, new phenomena will emerge. Some of these may lower cost and improve reliability, but some will challenge the stability and reliability of the electricity system. For example, if a large proportion of residential and commercial customers have solar panels that feed electricity into the grid when the sun is shining, but abruptly require power when a cloud passes over the sun, the dynamic stresses on the grid will increase, perhaps to unmanageable levels. A system based on minimizing costs with current rules for preserving stability and reliability could lead to unacceptable service.

Before making these changes in technology and management practices, it is crucial to understand the challenges that the current system faces, the reasons for its relatively good record of reliability, and how the system will be challenged by the changes.

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The Valley Group, a Nexans company

The Valley Group is the world leader in thermal rating systems for overhead transmission lines. Dynamic line rating is a recognized enabling technology for the Smart Grid, allowing utilities to know the true capacity of transmission lines in real time. Benefits include improving network reliability, relieving congestion, accelerating integration of wind farm generation into the existing network, and improving grid efficiency. Without accurate real time measurements provided by dynamic rating systems, utilities set their line ratings-the maximum capacity of their lines-based on inaccurate static weather assumptions, frequently leading to inefficient network usage and incorrect perceptions of line congestion, while potentially risking transmission network reliability and public safety. The Valley Group is the established industry leader in developing thermal rating technologies, software, and applications, having provided dynamic line ratings to over 100 utilities on 5 continents. Our new focus is to adapt the application of proven dynamic line rating technologies to the evolving Smart Grid environment.

About FERC

FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to building liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydropower projects. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gave FERC additional responsibilities as outlined in FERC's Top Initiatives and updated Strategic Plan.