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Celebrating Energy Central's Top Voices in the Community for 2022 – Grid Network

Posted to Energy Central in the Grid Professionals Group
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Matt Chester's picture
Energy Analyst Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Dec 21, 2022
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As our Energy Central Community thrives and grows with each passing year, it's clear to us that we have something special here. This community of power industry professionals who so eagerly and openly share their insights, their lessons learned, and their questions to allow for constant collaboration is unparalleled anywhere else in our sector. 

The most critical part of this successful undertaking, though, is of course the people behind it all. The voices in our Community who are driving those conversations and keeping readers and peers coming back again and again. To once again celebrate the importance of our community members in making Energy Central the powerhouse that it is, we're ending the year by honoring the members on Energy Central who went above and beyond—frequently sharing news and content, reliably starting conversations across the site, and providing some of the most genuinely high-value contributions throughout 2022.

All week, we’ll be publishing articles highlighting the Top Voice of 2022 for each of our 6 Networks. As part of this tradition, some of those community members recognized were kind enough to answer a few questions to highlight what they found valuable in the sector in 2022, their predictions for 2023, and some personal insights to get to know the men and women behind it all. 

So, with that, thank you and congratulations to the following Top Voices in the Grid Network in 2022!

See the Top Voices in Our Other Communities:

 

Sujan Bose - Practice Head, Wipro Technologies Transmission & Distribution Business

Link to Sujan’s Profile

Recommended submission from Sujan: Enabling digital operations and smart grid integration for a leading utility

What stories have stood out to you as the most interesting, surprising, or important in 2022?

2022 has been an exciting year. Post-pandemic, as more governmental funding has become available, we saw more opportunities from global utility clients across a variety of capability areas. The following are some key themes that I see driving spend in the global utilities sector:

1.      Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) – This US law was signed in mid-November 2021. While it talks about federal spend across diversified infrastructure areas such as roads and bridges, public transport, airports and ports, passenger rail, internet access, etc., there is significant spend (USD 65 Bn) earmarked for upgrading the national power infrastructure. This primarily consists of investments to improve the resiliency of the power infrastructure, bring more renewable energy into the electricity grid, enhance manufacturing facilities and projects, and develop clean energy demonstrations and research hubs. The areas getting a great deal of interest lie within the grid modernization portfolio and focus on preventing outages by enhancing grid resiliency, increasing grid flexibility (supported by smart grid deployments), and advancing self-healing grids.

2.      Asset management plan (AMP7)/Price Review (PR19) – Under this directive, OFWAT has provided funds to UK’s water utilities so they can focus on major initiatives such as water supply network resiliency improvements to reduce water leakage, sewer flooding, and pollution events while also improving customers’ experiences and affordability. It will also promote self-consumption optimization, sustainability and net zero initiatives. Over the past year, many water utilities announced various capital projects that are predominantly smart network-related. Projects include smart metering, enhanced telemetry systems, and digital platforms to improve customer/employee engagement with the utility.

3.      Energy supply security – In both the UK and Europe, energy supplies have predominantly depended on Russian gas. With the Russia/Ukraine war, and subsequent sanctions on Russia, both regions are facing severe challenges in securing their energy. As a result, they are exploring various options to better manage the efficiency and flexibility of the energy supply both up, down, and all around the value chain. One example is the establishment of operations outside the Europe (e.g. Asia). Both Europe and the UK are also introducing more hydrogen into their natural gas, sourcing more green energy into the electricity grids, and building/upgrading the energy infrastructure to support all these initiatives.

What topics do you have on your radar that you expect to come into focus in 2023? 

Of the many emerging areas within grid modernization and smart networks, I expect these to be the top 8 priorities in 2023:

  1. DNO to DSO transformation and the Total Energy Market.
  2. Enhanced telemetry system deployments using IIoT and 5G.
  3. Moving from project-centric deployments to product/platform-centric services.
  4. Designating cybersecurity as a core tenant for all grid modernization system deployments.
  5. Accelerated utility transformation deployments using data platforms and AI/ML/analytics.
  6. Greater focus on improving the customer/employee experience through IT-OT convergence that enables the seamless exchange of data on both sides.
  7. Actively building “innovation as culture” in everything, with an emphasis on building innovation platforms to vet and validate ideas and use cases that have potential for business transformation.
  8. Increasing the use of hydrogen in the natural gas mix to meet expectations and goals of sustainability and net zero.

How do you hope to see your participation on the Energy Central platform evolve or grow in the coming year?

I see Energy Central as an important medium to exchange ideas and share experiences within the energy and utilities community. I often scroll through the contributions of fellow members to obtain a preview of hot ideas and current initiatives. I like to see if there is relevance to various opportunities we are building for our clients. We rely on Energy Central to identify future-facing themes, capabilities and pilots so that we can verify their potential for scale. My participation will continue, and I look forward to actively engaging with community discussions to learn about new, up-and-coming industry topics.

 

 

Alan Ross - Managing Editor, APC Technologies

Link to Alan’s Profile

Recommended submission from Alan: Impact of Electrification of Transportation on the Grid

What topics do you have on your radar that you expect to come into focus in 2023? 

Will this be the year, 2023, that we look back upon decades from now that we point to as “getting over the hump” of Hydrogen as a player in the green energy revolution?

What value do you get by being an engaged member of the Energy Central Community?

In one word, perspective. Energy Central provides a plethora of great content in many forms, video, audio and written, with either great insights or challenging thoughts on the issues and events that make this industry so exciting.

What goals do you have for next year, personal or professional, that you'd like to put out into the universe?

Send more time with my kids and grand baby in LA and London for the most part and help elevate the conversation. I am on my third retirement so it is all gravy at this point, when career is no longer the issue, but legacy is. I want to leave a legacy of three things beyond the legacy I am leaving for my family: 1. Lifelong learning is the only way to real success. 2. "Leaving it better than I found it”, with IT being anything I am engaged or involved in. 3. Enjoying the journey is the most important part of a successfull and fulfilling life. If I could describe my legacy it would be “SHALOM” without any of the religious connotations. 

 

Becky Wheeler - Head of Marketing, PXiSE Energy Solutions

Link to Becky’s Profile

Recommended submission from Becky: Managing the grid with your eyes shut—why high-speed control of your inverter-based assets matters

What topics do you have on your radar that you expect to come into focus in 2023? 

As utilities continue to grapple with the integration of DERs onto the grid, we are going to see more discussion around a unified approach to communication across the network and the benefits of standardization. We will start to see the implementation of programs that became possible under FERC Order 2222 in 2020, which won’t be attainable unless participating DERs can communicate with the market. I think the 2030.5 communications protocol is likely to be at the center of this ongoing conversation since it was designed explicitly for this purpose.

What value do you get by being an engaged member of the Energy Central Community?

I appreciate the vast array of voices that are available on the platform and the engaging questions that open up when we interact with one another.

Do you have any surprising or unexpected hobbies, talents, or interests that might make you stand out?

When I’m not consuming content to keep up with the renewable energy industry, I watch and listen to exclusively Korean media. The world went crazy for Squid Game last year and I never really looked back. I could talk your ear off about the phenomenal content coming out of Korea right now from dramas to films to music. <Ahem> I’m obsessed. Seriously. Reach out to me if anyone wants to discuss. 😊

 

Congratulations once again to our Top Voices in the Grid Network, and thanks to all Energy Central Community Members for enabling the community and platform to thrive this year! And keep an eye out for the next Top Voices Articles to come as this week unfolds.

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