Balancing requirements in the electric grid are difficult to satisfy in today's open power market where the Independent System Operator might switch power suppliers within minutes. At such switching speeds, traditional communications between market managers such as CA ISO and power providers such as PG&E aren't fast enough nor accurate enough to produce a balanced grid in an open market. Here's the problem. In order to satisfy market maker's requests, the power supplier must guarantee cyber secure continuously open electronic communications over long periods of time. The supplier must: receive each power level electronic message process it determine if it is within the supplier's responsibility contract, select, and inform the generating station personnel of the new target instruct the control system of the generator to match the power level maintain an auditable real-time log Using the OSIsoft PI System and custom software, PG&E is solving this problem and producing new opportunities in the renewables market. This system is now deployed at PG&E's combined cycle plants. The operators are tremendously relieved. Instead of watching the clock every five minutes and adjusting power levels, they are focusing on load forecasting, generator capacity, and equipment maintenance. PG&E is now considering how to deal with hydro and renewable resources. These resources are numerous and can switch power levels quickly. Much tighter timing in communications and control are required to manage these resources. PI System future data allows PG&E to control this timing precisely for a large number of generators. PG&E has benefited from automated dispatching, increased power tracking accuracy, an entry into the spot market, and increased operator effectiveness."
Greg Dumas is Chief Technical Officer of DST Controls, which has automated and monitored continuous and discrete process plants for 30 years. Greg's background is as an Information Systems Engineer. He has four patents, 5 publications, and has taught graduate level engineering courses and has focused is real-time systems to data bases at ROLM, IBM, and Siemens. Greg holds a black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys scuba diving.