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DistribuTECH smart grid conference gains steam

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Monday, December 12, 2011

As the 2012 DistribuTECH conference edges closer, buzz about the annual event that draws utility leaders and smart grid pioneers from all over the country has picked up among the electric industry.

The conference was recently featured in Electric Light and Power, which stated that the event will feature 14 conference tracks, 78 conference sessions, and more than 135 speakers from the nation's leading utilities, with more than 350 speakers total. Set to take place in San Antonio, Texas, DistribuTECH is regarded as the leading event for end-to-end smart grid coverage.

The conference will feature instructional courses as well as leaders offering their expertise in the latest industry developments. There will also be two sister conferences held in the Lone Star State, the Utility Products Conference and Exposition (UPCE) and the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference.

The conference will also be home to Utility University, a program that will supplement the speakers at DistribuTECH. These pre-conference courses are relevant, topical, issue-concentrated classes that are taught by industry experts, the news source stated.

Once Utility University concludes, the conference will officially begin with a keynote that will feature actor, author, economist and pop culture icon Ben Stein, Reliant Energy president Jason Few and Doyle Beneby, CEO of CPS energy.

After the keynote, the conference will open for business allowing utilities to learn more about the many facets of the smart grid. Sessions will be divided into advanced metering, SCADA and network infrastructure and substation automation.

At the conference, SUBNET Solutions Inc. will give a presentation titled "Automated Wind Turbine Curtailment," which will discuss the Tuolumne Wind Project that went into commercial operation on May 28, 2009, and has since provided a hefty amount of renewable energy to Turock Irrigation District's Water and Power's portfolio.

The project consists of 62 turbines and generates a total of 136.6 megawatts.

Authored by TID's Brad Arnold and presented by Wojtek Czyz of SUBNET, the presentation will discuss how the transmission utility requires TID to provide hourly predictions of the amount of power that will be generated. This prediction then allows the transmission utility to compensate for varying periods of higher or lower wind power generation.

However, when the wind farm generates much more power than predicted from powerful wind activity, the utility faces the possibility of exhausting the amount of reserves it can disable. In such a case, the town of Turlock, California, would be instructed to curtail its power generation by closing several of its wind turbines until an acceptable level of power - which had been predetermined by the utility - was reached.

A request such as this is known as a Limit to Wind. If a Limit to Wind is not enacted within 10 minutes of the transmission utility's request, it may apply fines that are calculated on a per-excess-megawatt scale.

Traditionally, Limit to Wind meant 24/7 monitoring of a SCADA interface by a worker, which entailed calculating values and deciding which turbines should be shut down. A human operator would then be tasked with putting these decisions into effect by administering commands to devices in the field that controlled the functions of wind turbines.

SUBNET's presentation will discuss how automation of wind turbine curtailment can be balanced with output, ensuring maximum efficiency.

DistribuTECH 2012 will touch on several smart grid aspects in which SUBNET has expertise, including substation automation and remote access capabilities. The solutions provider also helps utilities meet the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's standards for critical infrastructure protection, which the Department of Homeland Security has named one of the country's highest priorities.  

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