Turning the Tide on Outages: What are the true costs of implementing—or failing to implement—a stronger, smarter and more robust grid, asks Massoud Amin is a must read, September 29, 2010, article written by Dr. Amin himself on greentechmedia.com.
As expected, Dr. S. Massoud Amin has given us a very important lecture on the future of the electric power industry in the US. I propose that his article should be widely read by those participating in the IEEE Smart Grid World Forum (IEEE SGWF), that will take place in Brussels on the 2nd and 3rd days of December, 2010.
I will try to enhance his insights by adding the complementary issue of electricity policy. When the government initiated the restructuring of the power industry, back in the 1990s, it was because vertical integration was already obsolete. Many American states were at different stages in the process of industry restructuring, but the California crisis put the process to a halt for many of them. I will give next a not well known perspective of why that process was seriously flawed.
In a presentation I gave in March 2006, at the Academy of Science of the Dominican Republic, I quoted Eberhart Rechtin and Mark Maier, from their book “The Art of System Architecting,” by saying that “social system quality… is less a foundation than a case-by-case trade-off; that is, the quality desired depends on the system to be provided. In nuclear power generation, modern manufacturing, and manned space flight, ultraquality is an imperative. But in public health, pollution control, and safety, the level of acceptable quality is only one of many economic, social, political, and technical factors to be accommodated.”
The main flaw in the electric power policy was made by following the traditional political process as “one of many economic, social, political, and technical factors to be accommodated.” I have written many times in both blogs that the essence of the resulting erroneous policy was “economy first, system reliability second.”
As can be seen in the December 2007 article Demand Integration is NOT the Province of Politics, the policy that had already emerged through me is “system reliability first, economy second.” It is such a policy the basis for the proper restructuring of the industry into two highly cohesive systems that are lightly coupled among them: first is the priority regulated T&D Grid system, which will fulfill the requirement of the ultraquality imperative; and second is the complementary Enterprise system on a value chain of wholesale and retail markets that mutually reinforce each other.
That is how the EWPC Architecture Framework (EWPC-AF) emerges. It is also very important to learn that the ongoing smart grid process is compromising the security of the whole system by having a much larger complexity than necessary. By restructuring the industry with the EWPC-AF, the job of the Department of Homeland Security is greatly simplified. I hope that the EWPC-AF also finds its well earned place at the IEEE SGWF.