Smart Grid Research from a Utility Perspective
The electric utility industry is currently making significant investments in researching and demonstrating a wide range of new technologies that have potential to update and modernize electric distribution systems domestically and across the globe. Much of this work targets deployment of devices and systems that would generate and collect massive amounts of data while suggesting greater levels of operational control and automation. Many researchers suggest the future grid will be more reliable, dynamic, interactive, and intelligent, and at the same time, offering greater utility customer engagement in managing their energy use and customer-owned energy systems.
Utilities have the responsibility to own, operate, maintain, and manage distribution system assets while keeping costs low and electricity reasonably priced for our customers. Many utilities have invested appropriately to maintain or improve reliability of aging assets over many years and currently strive to balance operational needs with keeping costs low. This presentation suggests research needs, within this view of the utility role, in order to achieve the vision of a smarter grid.
Richard Smith currently serves as Ameren’s Director of Corporate Research and Development. He has over thirty-six years of industrial experience, including engineering, manufacturing, management of major projects, electricity generation operations, business planning, and advanced technology management. At Ameren companies, Mr. Smith has been responsible for project management and engineering related to coal power plants, hydro, and combustion turbine construction and maintenance projects, including development and implementation of a variety of environmental control systems in both regulated and merchant generation business lines. Mr. Smith is currently responsible for R&D and advanced technology management related to electricity generation, energy delivery, and customer systems.
Mr. Smith previously worked in manufacturing at Texas Instruments and has served on a variety of U.S. utility industry committees, including the Research Advisory Committee, Generation Council, Power Delivery Council, Smart Grid Demonstration advisory committee, and environmental control committees of the Electric Power Research Institute. He also serves in advisory roles with the University of Missouri campuses and Washington University in St. Louis. Mr. Smith is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and is a certified Project Management Professional. Mr. Smith is licensed as a Professional Engineer in the states of Missouri and Illinois. He earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri – Rolla.
The seminar series is presented by the Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIPG) Project, an $18 million multi-university research effort whose partner institutions include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Arizona State University, Dartmouth, and Washington State University. The TCIPG Project, a successor to the earlier NSF-funded TCIP Center, was founded in 2009 with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is housed in the Information Trust Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.