IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2017 - 16

guest editorial

Luis (Nando) Ochoa

slowly but surely
smart grids are just around the corner

T

The Term Smart Grid means
different things to different people, and
quite rightly so. Our relationship with
electricity varies significantly around
the world. many countries are trying to
decarbonize their electricity systems; for
them, a smart grid should be able to integrate large volumes of renewables. In
other parts of the globe, the main concern is reducing the number of outages
during common and uncommon events
(such as natural disasters). For these
countries, a smart grid is one that uses innovative solutions to increase reliability
and also to make the grid more resilient.
We also have countries that simply want
to use electricity more efficiently; hence,
a smart grid should help, for instance,
in reducing technical and nontechnical
losses (energy theft).
On the other side of the spectrum,
we cannot forget that around a billion
people in the world still do not have
access to electricity. For those countries, cost-effectiveness and remoteness
are major challenges, and a smart grid
might be able to bring about innovative
yet inexpensive community-based solutions. It is because of this diversity of
contexts and objectives that different
implementations of smart grid concepts
have emerged in the last few years-and
continue to emerge.
many small and large-scale trials
around the world have successfully demonstrated that we have the technology and
the know-how to make (many types of)
smart grids a reality. In fact, some smart
grid schemes have already moved from
trials to actual investment alternatives; a
clear example is the active curtailment of
utility-scale renewable distributed generdigital Object identifier 10.1109/mPE.2017.2664400
date of publication: 19 april 2017

16

ieee power & energy magazine

ation to increase hosting capacity without
traditional reinforcements.
These early signs of industry adoption,
combined with all the practical lessons
continuously being accumulated through
trials, are indications that the rollout of
smart grids is getting closer and closer, and
this is exciting. however, making smart
grids a "business as usual" alternative requires more than just our technical ability
to implement clever ideas. The business
proposition from any smart grid scheme
has to make sense to all stakeholders involved. This is challenging, particularly in
regulated environments.
The rules by which many utilities
play do not substantially incentivize innovation. moreover, these rules were designed to profit from capital expenditure
with long life spans (traditional assets)
and not to cover significant operational
expenditure. smart grids use technologies that increase operational expenditures and are also likely to have life
spans much shorter than, for instance,
transformers. many other regulatory
barriers can also be found in areas such
as the creation of markets at the distribution level and the ability of network
operators to invest in storage. many regulators around the world, however, want
to improve the rules to pave the way for
smart grids. This, however, takes time
not only due to complexity but also because regulatory periods (for which the
rules are set) last years. But time flies,
so let's prepare as smart grids are just
around the corner.
This issue of iEEE Power & Energy
magazine is a taste of the many exciting
small- and large-scale smart grid trials
happening around the world, particularly at the distribution level, where changes are a necessary priority. The authors

share their technical knowledge about
the different smart grid concepts and,
importantly, also the learning that comes
from the implementations. In each article you will find interesting discussions
on what the authors believe is needed for
smart grids to become business-as-usual
alternatives. no one has a crystal ball,
but we trust that these discussions will
highlight how crucial it is for the power
and energy community, particularly our
younger members, to understand and actively engage with business and regulatory aspects if we are to succeed in making smart grids a reality.

In This Issue
The articles in this issue come from different corners of the world, involving trials
in austria, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, mexico, spain, the
United Kingdom, and the United states.
✔ "Flexibility Is Key in new York,"
by Currie, abbey, ault, Ballard,
Conroy, sims, and Williams, presents the Flexible Interconnection
Capacity solutions project, which
focuses on providing new interconnection solutions for distributed energy resource (Der) developers in new York. The authors
show that, with innovative control
systems to manage Ders, it is
possible to increase the hosting
capacity of existing distribution
networks to help meet renewable
targets while reducing connection
costs and times.
✔ "The IGreenGrid Project," by
Varela, hatziargyriou, Puglisi,
rossi, abart, and Bletterie, explores the extent to which different smart grid solutions, involving
the use of on-load tap changers,
may/june 2017



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2017

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2017 - Cover1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2017 - Cover3
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