Webinar Green Energy: Successes, Opportunities, Challenges

IEEE Power & Energy Society Technical Webinar Series

Green Energy:
Successes, Opportunities, Challenges

June 25, 2014  2:00 pm eastern

Presented by Michael Ahern, WPI


This webinar provides a broad overview of U.S. Green Energy plans and progress.  It:

1)      Identifies that “Green Energy” is one of several U.S. Energy Policy goals.  It provides context by looking at the overall sources and uses of energy.

2)      Reviews successes in energy conservation since the 1973 Energy Crisis using facts and figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Includes facts and trends for major types of energy use - transportation, manufacturing and residential.

3)      Identifies opportunities for improved efficiency in the generation, delivery and use of electricity.  Develops an end-to-end picture of current system efficiency and specific opportunities for improvements.

4)      Discusses challenges to increased use of renewable energy.  The biofuel “blend wall”, cost concerns, legislative mandates, technology maturity, and operational challenges from intermittent renewable power sources are all explained and discussed.

5)    Newer engineers, students, energy policy makers, and energy consumers would benefit from this webinar.


The Presenter:

Ahern - Formal Picture1

Michael Ahern is the Director of Power Systems at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) where he is responsible for energy related graduate education and training programs.

Ahern began his career in 1978 at United Technologies Corporation.  He joined Northeast Utilities (NU) in 1981 and rose through a series of increasingly responsible positions in electric generation, distribution and transmission.  He was promoted to vice president of Utility Services in 2005.  In this capacity, he was responsible for a variety of operational services including engineering and training.  Following his retirement from NU in 2012, Ahern joined WPI in his current capacity.

One of the components that can make or break a Smart Grid (SG) deployment is the design of the underlying telecommunications network that’s used to support functions such as protection, control, real time operation, and SCADA.  An improper telecom strategy and design invariably leads to high O&M costs, reliability problems, network downtime, exorbitant capital spending, and reduced ability to extract maximum benefit and efficiency from the SG application.  In order to avoid these undesirable situations, a strategic telecom planning study should be performed as one of the earliest steps of any SG project. 

The study should assess different communication technologies and architectures on the basis of: (1) coverage; (2) operational performance; (3) cost; (4) compliance with standards and regulatory agencies; and (5) security.  Consultants/engineers vary in their choice of different tools and methodologies to assess these items – with each leading to different degrees of accuracy in the analysis.  How can you ensure you take the right approach to telecom planning, and ensure the success of your Smart Grid project?