Distributed Intelligence in Distribution Systems

Jan 10, 2017

One of the perks of being a member of DistribuTECH’s Advisory Committee is selecting innovative topics for discussion and debate at the 2017 Breakfast Roundtables on February 1.

I picked “Distributed Intelligence in Distribution Systems” for the Roundtable that I will be moderating. This topic got me stoked as this is an area of research that enables utility personnel to get maximum benefit from the smart grid infrastructure that they have been integrating into their distribution systems.

Distributed intelligence is prevalent in our daily lives as we just reach out for our phones to use apps for day-to-day tasks we take for granted, such as looking up the weather or news. We don’t need to search for a desktop computer to log on and get this information. The information we need is distributed close to where we need it—in the palm of our hands.

Take this same idea and apply it to the electric grid. Just as we’ve down-sized from desktop computers to smartphones, distributed intelligence allows utilities to move from central locations to local distribution equipment, including transformers, circuit breakers, reclosers, cap bank controllers, DER, and smart meters. This allows the utilities to see what is happening on the grid, identify sources of power outages, and respond with the tools needed to ensure the reliable and efficient delivery of energy.

In my mind, some of the benefits of distribution intelligence are:

  • Real-time diversion detection
  • “Self healing” of power distribution systems
  • Faster outage detection and analysis
  • Helping the grid run more efficiently and reliably

I am sure you have thoughts on this too. I think it’s a smarter, more seamless way to manage the supply and demand of energy to customers, and I’m excited to stimulate the discussion on this topic.

How are you currently using distributed intelligence? Come share your thoughts with me and other industry innovators – and enjoy a delicious breakfast!

I hope to see you at DistribuTECH 2017.

Register here for a breakfast roundtable