Issue: 71  /  September 2020

Foreword

Welcome to the September 2020 issue of PSC News.

As we enter into the sixth month of the COVID-19 pandemic and adapt to the uncertainty of these times, PSC is more committed than ever to continue providing useful and relevant industry insights to our communities around the world.

In this issue, we’re pleased to feature three projects showcasing clients in the UK, Australia and New Zealand who are advancing clean energy by connecting renewable sources to their grids. You can also read about PSC’s contribution to BZE’s ‘Million Jobs Plan’ which offers solutions to two of Australia’s most urgent problems: climate change and recovery from COVID. And we offer a look at how we are actively supporting our clients in the UK as they respond to recent regulatory announcements aimed at delivering ‘Net Zero’ energy.

Rounding out our news in this issue, we have articles from two of our North America senior consultants sharing information about adapting to working more efficiently in the current environment.

These articles and more are featured in this issue which we hope you find valuable.

Enjoy the update, and as always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

Tim Ritchie Chief Revenue Officer

Waste-to-energy plants: helping power a more sustainable world

Author: David Mills

PSC is proud to offer Wheelabrator Technologies (WTI) our Owner’s Engineer specialist support services as they develop and commission new waste-to-energy facilities in the UK.

Overview

WTI is a developer, owner and operator of 25 waste facilities across the US and UK, of which 19 are waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities, including three under construction in the UK. Their UK facilities will process 2.4 million tons (2.2 million tonnes) of non-recyclable household and commercial waste each year, enough to power around 500,000 UK homes and businesses. [i]

In July 2020, Wheelabrator Kemsley, a new WTE facility at Kemsley in Kent, England, entered full commercial operation following a successful commissioning phase throughout early 2020. This facility is now operational as a combined heat and power facility and will generate up to 49.9 MW (gross)/44 MW (net) sustainable baseload electricity to power UK homes and businesses.[ii]

Earlier in the year, another WTI facility, Wheelabrator Parc Adfer, also entered full commercial operation. This is a combined heat and power energy recovery facility in Flintshire in north-east Wales producing 19 MW (gross) of electrical power and has the capability of providing valuable steam or heat to local industry and housing.[iii]

Navigating the unchartered waters of the UK’s latest utility business model evolution

Author: Graeme Hutchison

Changes to industry regulation pose challenges for utilities in the best of times.  In a rapidly evolving business environment like today’s electricity sector, anticipating changes and maintaining regulatory alignment to current policy can have a significant impact on a business.

 

When Ofgem issued its latest proposed settlements (“RIIO-2” draft determinations) for the next five-year price control period, it exposed transmission companies to a higher level of risk than ever before. Some companies have responded publically with their concerns.[i] [ii] [iii]

RIIO

In 2008, UK’s gas and electricity regulator, Ofgem, introduced RIIO (Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs). Ofgem’s RIIO framework is aimed at rewarding utilities for achieving desired outcomes and minimizing costs. Specifically, those related to greener networks, better value for money, better customer service, and safer and more reliable networks.[iv]

BZE publishes ‘Million Jobs Plan’ for Australia

Author: Chris Goebel

In July, globally recognized climate thinktank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) released its Million Jobs Plan. The Plan lays out a comprehensive range of initiatives to rebuild Australia’s economy post-COVID by ramping up the transition to a zero-carbon economy.  BZE received input from a range of contributors and advisors including Ross Garnaut, Malcolm Turnbull, Martijn Wilder and Richard Denniss.  This is a list that PSC is very proud to add its name to.

When PSC heard that BZE was preparing the Million Jobs Plan we eagerly put our hand up to offer technical assistance. Spanning renewable energy, energy efficiency retrofits for homes, electrifying transport, land use, manufacturing and mining, we think it’s a fascinating and important read that offers solutions to two of Australia’s most urgent problems: climate change and economic recovery from COVID. A couple of the areas we provided advice on were transmission lines and the engineering versus economic trade-offs for line capacity, and advice on batteries and the economic drivers for storage.

You can read the full Plan here, but we thought we’d highlight some of the proposed projects and initiatives.

Pedagogical considerations of grid resiliency

Author: David Mills

What does the peak hurricane season in the North Atlantic Ocean have in common with kids heading back to school? The obvious answer is timing since the season’s climatological peak of activity occurs around September 10 each season, right around the same time we’re sharing our back to school photos on social media.

A more esoteric answer may be in the way utilities are adapting to restoring power due to hurricanes using some of the same tools and techniques schoolteachers are incorporating into their remote classrooms.

Challenges of remote utility operations

Between 2002-2019, the US suffered over 2,500 major power outages. Nearly half of them were caused by weather conditions like storms and hurricanes for an average of 65 weather-related outages per year. During this pandemic, however, the face-to-face communications and physical meetings to coordinate between utility operations centers and support teams have gone virtual so utilities are working to bridge the last mile of restoration work with web conferencing and specific procedures.

Why now is a better time than ever to use consultants

Author: Tracy Rolstad

In uncertain times, it’s critical for utilities to maintain stable operations, reliable service and strong revenues without increased overhead. Between today’s challenges of adapting to remote work scenarios, managing the grid impacts of inclement weather and looking out for the people we care about at work and at home, just keeping the lights on is enough to keep utility managers up at night.

So how do utilities tackle pressing issues like investigating the cause of a breaker failure, or staying on track with their technology evolution plan without overwhelming their staff with skill sets that may not be a core need down the road?

Project Summary: Due Diligence studies and advisory services for Cultana Solar Farm

Author: Chris Spencer

Overview

Electranet is the Transmission Network Service Provider (TNSP) for South Australia. They provide electricity transmission for South Australia’s major load centres and generators, including synchronous (gas-turbine and coal-fired) and asynchronous (wind and solar) generators as well as the mining, manufacturing and telecommunications industries in South Australia. ElectraNet is also the largest connector of wind generation in Australia.

SIMEC Energy Australia is delivering a 280 MW solar farm, connecting in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula that once constructed will generate electricity to the National Electricity Market (NEM) via the existing Cultana 275 kV Substations.

White Paper: Passive filter to improve power quality at Tekapo hydro power station 

Author: Stephen Butler

New Zealand’s aging hydroelectric stations are undergoing refurbishment. This includes replacing excitation systems with modern power electronic-based solutions.

 
The stations’ auxiliary power supply is critical for ensuring a secure power supply for the stations’ operation. However, the exciters can cause issues with power quality that in turn can cause issues for auxiliary systems, which are sensitive to poor power quality.
 
Station auxiliary power quality issues have been experienced for many years at the Tekapo B Hydro Power Plant. After excitation system upgrades in 2013, there was a slight improvement in the power quality but, on occasion, electronic component failures on UPS and battery charger systems were still occurring. Due to these ongoing failures, it was decided to source the station auxiliary supply from the local distribution network as an interim measure. The continued equipment failures prompted an in-depth analysis of the station auxiliary power quality.

PSC announces two Certified Information Systems Security Professionals

Congratulations to PSC’s Mark Prentice (top) and Rob Anderson (bottom) who recently earned their official CISSP badges!  

This vendor-neutral certification validates Mark’s and Rob’s information security knowledge and experience to design, engineer, implement, and manage the overall security posture of an organization.

The CISSP certification is required by the world’s most security-conscious organizations and is recognized as the gold-standard information security certification that assures information security leaders possess the breadth and depth of knowledge to establish holistic security programs that protect against threats in an increasingly complex cyber world.

PSC Welcomes New Staff

Phil Devine – PSC Europe

PSC welcomes Phil Devine to the Europe team.  Phil has joined us from WSP where he was Chief Engineer of HVDC and in his time there was involved in many aspects of HVDC projects including:  Concept development, Connection agreement applications, Technical specification writing, Procurement, Fault finding, repair and return to service, Factory inspections, FAT witnessing, Commissioning and Maintenance, Control system upgrades.  Prior to that, Phil spent 25 years working for Alstom/GE mainly involved in Control and Protection and Power Electronics.  Phil is married with two children and lives in Stafford. 

Behnam Mahamedi – PSC Australia

PSC welcomes Behnam to PSC Australia.  Behnam comes to PSC with a very strong background in power system protection as well as system studies and modelling of grid connected inverters. Before coming to Australia to complete his PhD in Power System Engineering, Behnam was employed by the Iran Grid Management Co (IGMC) which is similar to AEMO in Australia.  Behnam will be based in Melbourne where unfortunately due to the current Covid restrictions he will be working from home for the next few months. We look forward to a time when the staff in Melbourne can actually all meet face to face. all meet face to face. 

Matt Mazhari – PSC North America

PSC welcomes Matt Mazhari to the North America team.  Matt joined PSC during mid-July in the Power Networks group in the Vancouver office.  Matt comes to us from the University of Saskatchewan where he was a postdoctoral research fellow working on power system stability analysis using statistical machine learning techniques.  He is a registered Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) with APEGS.  Matt obtained his Ph.D. from Amir Kabir University in Tehran in 2016, and worked as an electrical engineer in Iran prior to relocating to Canada with his spouse. In his free time, Matt enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as sightseeing. In addition, he is involved in volunteering activities like helping fresh graduates refine their career goals and go about job-hunting. 

Manoj Sinha – PSC Australia

PSC welcomes Manoj to PSC Australia. Manoj Sinha has worked alongside PSC Australia Operational Technology staff on GE eTerra Grid Control software projects for many years at client site AEMO. He joined PSC briefly in 2019 at PSC Electranet South Australia before working a new GE assignment in Saudi Arabia.  Back in Sydney Australia as a COVID19 isolated worker Manoj has gladly accepted a PSC assignment with the PSC team at TransGrid Sydney  New South Wales.  Manoj joins Ellis Gentle, Ken Choy, Raheleh Jahanbakhsh as part of the growing Sydney OT project and business as usual support group for deploying and maintaining Power System SCADA EMS control systems for transmission clients.

Jared Craig – PSC Australia

We would like to welcome Jared Craig to PSC Australia.  Jared has joined the IT team and will be based in the Brisbane office. Jared has come to us from the Managed Service Provider space where he spent five years providing outsourced IT services to clients.  Prior to this, Jared helped support staff working for a large national not-for-profit provider in their IT department. Jared also enjoys camping, four-wheel driving, cycling and spending time with his wife and three children. Welcome to PSC Jared! 

Staff Milestones

Alice Seuala celebrates 20 years of excellent service with PSC

PSC would like to congratulate Alice Seuala on a fantastic 20 years of service at PSC.  Alice joined PSC on May 1st, 2000 as an Administration Assistant / Payroll Clerk.  In the 20 years that Alice has been with PSC, she has covered all facets of the Administration / Operations aspect of PSC New Zealand at that time, and all the other entities that have come along since.  She is the friendly face greeting everyone at the PSC Tawa office and is well known around the world.  We look forward to celebrating with Alice in the near future. Congratulations Alice!

Craig Spring celebrates 10 years of excellent service with PSC

PSC congratulates Craig Spring who celebrated his 10-year milestone with PSC in July.  Craig is a Senior SCADA/EMS Engineer with over 25 years’ of experience primarily in the development and installation of energy management systems for the electricity industry and SCADA and control systems maintenance and project delivery for water supply utilities. Craig has worked for clients across Australia and the United States, and is based in our PSC Perth office. Congratulations Craig.

Cavar Chan celebrates 10 years of excellent service with PSC

Congratulations to Cavar Chan for reaching the significant 10-year milestone with PSC.  Despite the pandemic, Cavar has continued to provide excellent work and support on multiple projects up in Calgary, in the province of Alberta, Canada.  Cavar has been providing integration, development, and support for clients in Calgary for those years.  He started by providing system support for the Alberta Electric System Operator (the AESO) and then moved over to AltaLink where he’s been involved with the majority of the over 90 projects we’ve completed over the last almost 10 years. Cavar’s efforts have helped make him and PSC a valued partner to AltaLink. Cavar is always eager to help and in his spare time, Cavar performs volunteer work at a local animal shelter. Unfortunately due to the pandemic and the restrictions on border crossings between the U.S. and Canada, his manager Ken Pratt was unable to present his award in person, however a celebration will be in order when Ken is able to visit Calgary again in the future.  Congratulations Cavar.

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