July 2015 Technical Society News

28 Jul

On July 13, 2015.  Tom Rice described  the TVA Energy Resources Plan.

Maintaining the diversity of TVA’s energy resource options is fundamental to the ability of providing low-cost, reliable power. In order to fill a forecasted capacity gap TVA considered the addition of a wide range of supply-side generating resources as well as energy efficiency and other demand-side resource options. TVA’s future portfolio of generating assets consists of various fuel sources and diverse technologies that support varying power demand and the other services required for reliable operation of the power system. TVA’s resource portfolio also includes power purchases through both short- and long-term contracts, as well as increasing the use of renewable resources and demand-side options. TVA plans to buy wind energy- which will be generated in the midwest (1500MW). The Racoon Mountain pumped storage is big (1600 MW). The major power generation still comes from coal (12,000MW) but no new coal fired plants are planned. Natural gas plants will be added (9000MW).  Solar is projected to be a small contributor (120MW). The TVA projections are all based on current technology. A carbon tax or a significant increase in rooftop solar could result in a significant change in the plan. More solar and more wind power will need more storage and rapid peaking power because of their inconsistencies.

July 20, 2015 Matt Wakefield of EPRI spoke on the topic “Smart Grid”.  Since its beginnings in 1972, EPRI membership has grown to represent approximately 90% of the electricity generated in the United States and extends to more than 30 countries internationally. They have 450 participants and 24 smart grid collaborators. He described an emphasis on lowering the voltage to consumers as a way to reduce electrical demand without lowering voltage to unacceptable levels. He described ways to influence consumer demand- all of which seem to run into customer inattention or indifference.

In November 1965 the Great Northeastern Blackout left 30 million people in the United States without electricity, starkly demonstrating the nation’s growing dependence on electricity and vulnerability to its loss. It marked a watershed for the industry and triggered the creation of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRIThe EPRI research portfolio addresses a range of issues that change with the times and the technology, even as the underlying expectations remain constant for electricity that is affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible. Matt Wakefield is Director of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) research at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). His responsibilities include furthering the development of a modernized grid with a strong focus on leveraging emerging information and communication technologies that can be applied to the electric grid infrastructure. He and his team are focused on Smart Grid Research that enables advanced applications. He wishes to apply emerging technologies innovatively with a focus on cost benefit .

Matt has a BS in Technology Management from the University of Maryland.

On JULY 25, 2015 Cliff Hawks was speaker.   Mr. Hawks is president and CEO of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the UT Research Foundation that was formed to oversee recruitment and management of the university’s new Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus. Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus is a 188-acre site (77 acres are useful for development) on the banks of the Tennessee River and is modeled after other successful research parks around the country. It will provide laboratory and work space for collaborations between private industry and scientists and researchers affiliated with the University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Cherokee Farm is the Southeast’s only R&D park where the resources of a major research university and a leading national laboratory are combined. The close proximity of an airport and ORNL and UT is helpful. The present building if filled and additional buildings will be required for additional participants. The money for additional facilities will come from the participants. Companies insist on zoning and the proper zoning is in place for research and also some food , retail and hotel facilities as needed. All that is needed for world class benefits will be world class management patience and commitment.

Steve Hillenbrand, our air pollution board representative, reported that Knox County is currently in attainment and will probably continue in attainment unless the new EPA rules are lower than expected (or hoped for).

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