Aug
15

Power Factor Correction to Help Lessen Load

Power Factor Correction to Help Lessen Load

The rise in electricity costs and the drop in commodity prices have led businesses across the industrial and commercial spectrum to look at how their electrical equipment converts electric current into useful power output in order to save on power by making use of power factor correction (PFC), says harmonic filtration solutions supplier Alpha Power Solutions.

“Companies such as sawmills, flour mills and plastic extrusion and recycling industries, along with industries that use machine tools, stamping machines, welders and compressors, foundries and mining units, fast-moving consumer goods industries, bottling plants, agricultural customers, large industrial and commercial customers can benefit from the use of PFC and maximum demand equipment,” says Alpha Power Solutions MD Eric Solot.

He explains that PFC refers to the process of improving the low power factor of a power system by means of installing PFC capacitors and, in so doing, increasing the ratio of active power to apparent power.

Solot adds that, when the apparent power is greater than active power, then the utility provider must supply the excess reactive power and working power. Power capacitors act as reactive power generators and reduce the total amount of current a system draws from the grid.

“The reactive power consumed by an opera-tion can be generated through capacitors rather than from the grid. “The on-site generation of reactive power to reach maximum demand will subsequently lower the amount of electricity that is required from the power utility,” Solot says.

He notes that, while lower energy costs remain the short-term benefit of power correction, in the long run, companies can free up capacity on their electricity supply, which allows companies to add more equipment and, in so doing, increase production or avoid relocation to different premises with a larger power supply.

“By reducing the total current drawn from an electrical distribution network, as well as ensuring electrical equipment effectively converts electrical currents supplied by the power utility, PFC improves useful power output while saving on electricity costs.”

Solot notes that the rise in tariffs has allowed an increase in return on investment for companies looking into the use of PFC for production. He explains that, while accurate measurements of the electrical load profile of a potential customer are required to determine the most cost-effective power factor correction solution, payback periods can vary between 3 and 18 months.

“Electricity has until recently been a cheap commodity in Southern Africa, in general. “The payback period of an investment in power factor correction has therefore been fairly unattractive. “Recent tariff hikes have significantly reduced the payback periods and will continue to do so in the short to medium term. PFC equipment of good quality has a life expectancy of at least ten years,” he states.

With the help of a comprehensive energy audit, companies will be able to establish the extent to which they can use PFC to their benefit. Solot notes that the collation of information gathered from sophisticated test equipment, which is installed on-site, along with the review of historical billing information and custom designs, which take space, ventilation and other logistical factors influencing the effective installation into account, results in the most efficient and lowest life cycle costs of PFC interventions.

Private Use and Fines

Solot states that power utilities in industrialised nations charge industrial users a penalty when their power systems’ power factor drops below the level of 0.90. This power factor surcharge covers the electric utility’s cost of supplying the power system with additional reactive power.

In South Africa, no fines are imposed as yet, although Solot emphasises that Eskom intends to introduce fines in the near future, albeit under an alias of the power factor surcharge, which was implemented by Zambian State-owned power utility Zesco in 2014.

“Some South African municipalities like City Power do charge for excessive reactive power consumed. “City Power charges for all reactive power consumed below a power factor of 0.96.”

While more companies are looking into PFC solutions to lower electricity costs, Solot emphasises that PFC for private use does not yield any savings.

“The addition of PFC may reduce the current drawn by a residence, but this will not result in a reduction of electricity costs. “This is because consumers are only being billed for active power consumption and not for maximum demand, nor for reactive power consumption,” Solot explains.

He adds that PFC in a residential application is primarily only used to prevent the main incomer circuit breaker from tripping by reducing the total current drawn. The power factor correction panel supplies most of the reactive current drawn by the inductive components in the residence and, in so doing, reduces the total current flowing through the incomer circuit breaker.

“There is no financial benefit in doing so – there is only a comfort benefit. “Installing a PFC system in a residential area would be paying for a product that is already pro- vided at no extra cost,” concludes Solot.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/power-factor-correction-to-help-lessen-load-2016-04-15

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05

4 Big Benefits of Lithium Ion Batteries for UPS Systems – and 2 Key Challenges

4 Big Benefits of Lithium Ion Batteries for UPS Systems – and 2 Key Challenges

Patrick Brouhon |

A confluence of events is setting the stage for what may well be dramatic change in a key component of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology that really hasn’t changed much for 40 years or more.

I’m referring to the lead acid battery, the energy storage technology used in UPS systems, which remains much the same now as it did decades ago. But as the industry develops new types of batteries for devices ranging from smart phones to electric automobiles, we can clearly see the day when UPSs take advantage of these developments.

It’s coming at a good time, because customers are facing some difficult challenges with respect to UPSs, whether they’re for data centers, critical buildings, industrial processes or critical infrastructure. These challenges are driving the need for specific UPS requirements, including:

  • Reduced UPS footprint and weight to allow for a more effective, flexible use of space
  • Reduced cooling capacity
  • Increased energy storage availability and ability to predict UPS failures
  • Extended UPS life and reduced maintenance overhead

I believe lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries on Wikipedia hold great promise to address all of these challenges and requirements. In this post I’ll explain the four main reasons why.

First, Li-ion batteries provide multiple times the energy and power density as compared to valve-regulated lead-acid batteries (VRLA), which are the most common type currently used in UPS systems. As a result, UPSs built with Li-ion batteries take up only about one-third the space or less of a VRLA-based solution that delivers the same power.

That smaller footprint translates to reduced cooling requirements as well as about a two-thirds reduction in weight, at least. That means customers have more flexibility in terms of where they install the systems and can often avoid costly building modifications.

Li-ion batteries can also withstand a wider temperature range than VRLA batteries. The rule of thumb is that VRLA battery life is reduced by half for every 10°C (18°F) increase above 25°C (77° F) ambient temperature. Li-ion batteries are far less sensitive to temperature fluctuations and can accept spikes in temperature with almost no effect on battery life. This again allows customers to reduce cooling capacity as well as the size of the room that houses the UPS.

A third benefit is that Li-ion batteries always come with sophisticated battery monitoring systems (BMS) that provide a clear picture of battery runtime and health. It’s essentially the same technology that enables you to easily see how much battery life is left in your smart phone.

In contrast, VRLA batteries rely on chemistry that makes it hard to accurately predict when they’re going to fail. Think about your car battery: it may crank perfectly fine one day but the next it’s a little chilly and the battery fails, without warning. That won’t happen with Li-ion batteries.

Which leads to the final benefit of Li-ion batteries for UPSs: increased life expectancy. In theory, VRLA batteries used in UPS systems have a life expectancy of 10 years. But due to the constraints around being able to determine their actual health and life expectancy, in practice most customers replace them after 5 or 6 years.

In contrast, Li-ion batteries of the sort best suited for UPSs are expected to last for more than 10 years, reducing the burden and cost of battery replacements, as well as the risks of down time or load interruption during maintenance.

Of course no new technology comes without certain implementation challenges and Li-ion batteries are no different. First is the need to find the type of Li-ion battery that’s best suited for UPS applications. UPS requirements are quite different from those for, say, an electric car battery. Car batteries are designed to store lots of energy so the car can travel as many miles as possible before recharging. With UPS batteries, the concern is not length of run time so much as the need to deliver a lot of power quickly for a short period of time, usually just a few minutes until the backup generators kick in.

For a UPS we’re also not really interested in a battery that can cycle on and off thousands of times, because a UPS kicks in only occasionally. Rather, we need it to be highly reliable and safe, with a long life expectancy.

Secondly, we need a battery that can deliver a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) as compared to VRLA batteries. Li-ion batteries are already competitive on that front. They may cost more up front, but will last about twice as long as VRLA batteries. Li-ion batteries also have a far smaller footprint, which drives down both space and cooling requirements – delivering further cost savings.

I expect the TCO story to get even better in coming months and years, since Li-ion technology is still quite new with respect to UPSs. Prices should fall at a much faster rate than that for the mature VLRA technology.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://blog.schneider-electric.com/power-management-metering-monitoring-power-quality/2015/06/24/4-big-benefits-of-lithium-ion-batteries-for-ups-systems-and-2-key-challenges/

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Aug
01

Electricity Myths, Hoaxes and Rumors

Electricity Myths, Hoaxes and Rumors from T&D World Magazine            

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Eskom Power Grid Crash

A warning message started circulating rapidly last year via email and social media that South African electricity supplier Eskom had notified the government that the main grid could crash at any time, plunging the country into darkness.

The email read: "ESKOM has notified Government in a special meeting that the main grid can crash at any time soon leaving the entire country in darkness for over two weeks, The American embassy has already put in place an emergency plan to evacuate all its workers and citizens at short notice. How will this affect you and?"

And of course, the email says at the end that it is not a hoax.

But it was. Eskom published a notice on its website that the email message was a hoax. Granted, South Africa is lacking in reliable electricity but "sharing false information would only serve only to spread fear and alarm in communities," according to the Hoax Slayer website.


Power Factor Correction Devices

A reader suggested we feature this myth: power factor correction devices for the consumer market that save electricity. If you've seen an Internet ad for capacitor-type power factor correction devices, you might be led to believe that using one can save you money on your residential electricity bill. However, a team including specialists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) explained in 2009 why the devices actually provide no savings by discussing the underlying physics.

The devices—sometimes referred to as Amp Reduction Units or KVARs—are touted as good investments because they reduce the amount of current drawn from power lines while simultaneously providing the necessary amount of current to appliances inside the house. Though engineers elsewhere have discredited the devices for use in typical residences already, NIST physicist Martin Misakian and two of his colleagues decided to write a brief primer describing the devices' inner workings for readers who are not power engineers, but who still have some technical background.

For a more thorough explanation of the physics, see the NIST site.

 

Body Charging

It seems as if there is always a new rumor about different ways you can charge your mobile phone. Last time we featured an onion. This time it is your body.

A video shows the "perpetual modern dilemma of how to ensure your cell phone is always charged or charging can be solved with just two silver coins, a piece of paper, a paper clip, and your hot, sweaty body," according to Snopes.com.

While you one day might be able to harness body-generated power to charge a phone, no useful manner of doing so existed when the video was posted. The claims of body-generated power to recharge cell phones were not proved within the video. Viewers were just informed that the trick "worked" without being presented with any evidence that the phone shown in the video hadn't been charged by a phone charger.

 

OverVolt-age Costs

The claim was that the Chevy Volt "costs more than seven times as much to run and takes three times as long to drive across country" than a standard automobile.

The claim, which circulated via email in 2012, was full of bulleted figures that featured Eric Boling of Fox Business Channel's test drive of the car. noting (among other factors) that the Volt took. He noted that it took 12 hours to charge and ran for only about 25 miles before discharging the battery and switching over to the gasoline engine, aspects he found particularly disappointing for an automobile that cost $46,500 and was heavily subsidized with taxpayer money. Some of that is a matter of debate, but Snopes indicated that the email/claims were a bit misleading.

"This criticism somewhat misses the mark, as the Chevy Volt is not intended to be a car drivable for long distances in electric vehicle mode: It's a niche vehicle that attempts to offset the current EV issues of limited range and scarcity of charging stations by combining EV capabilities with a gasoline engine to provide enough battery range to satisfy many consumers' daily driving needs while also accommodating extended travel beyond that range."

This is a bit dated as even in the past five years, the prices for full-on EVs and hybrids are coming down, even as utilities and other companies are installing more public chargers. (I still don't have one though. Do you?)


Don't Shower When It's Lightning!

My mother always prohibited me from taking a shower or bath when it was storming (and talking on the phone, for that matter). But we will deal with the bath situation here.

Lightning strikes into the ground near homes have, indeed, sent jolts up pipes and into sinks and bathtubs, according to Snopes research. Metal pipes used in household plumbing provide effective conduits for the massive electrical charges released by even a single bolt.

But how common is it? Should we really avoid the bath when it's storming? "Such injuries are relatively uncommon in the greater scheme of things because one has to be doing the dishes or bathing or showering in the right (or wrong) place at the precise moment when a bolt hits," David Mikkelson of Snopes wrote.

It has happened, however. Mikkelson provides four specific instances, including a case in 2008 when a Topeka, Kansas, teen was hit by lightning right when she stepped in the shower.

Experts advise to take precautions any time there is a lightning storm, and that means "staying off corded phones (not really an issue anymore as much)" and "avoiding plumbing."


Metal Giants

This is an image we have seen, and T&D World even shared on social media years ago. Hypothetically, these giants would be amazing. But they are only hypothetical for now.

In October 2015, this series of images showing Icelandic power transmission lines in the shape of giant humans started re-circulating online. While the majority of publications noted that these images were simply conceptual architectural designs and not actual photographs, misleading headlines such as "Architects Turned Boring Electricity Pylons Into Majestic Human-Shaped Statues in Iceland" led many people to believe that these were photographs of real installations, according to Snopes.

The images were created by the Choi + Shine Architects firm in 2008, and while the designs have won multiple awards, the "Land of Giants" they depict has never actually been built. That could change soon, however, as Choi + Shine told Snopes in response to an inquiry that these giants may come to Iceland in 2017.

Designing and building transmission towers into recognizable shapes has been done before, of course, such as when Tampa Electric built a 230-kV transmission pole in the shape of Mickey Mouse. The concept came from Disney artists.


Dirty Electricity

Are CFL light bulbs dangerous compared to conventional incandescent bulbs because they emit higher levels of radiation? A recent video claimed that CFL bulbs should be avoided because they emit harmful levels of radiation:

The transcript reads: "If you are using these type of bulbs, I'll show you the reason why you should not. Here I have a electromagnetic radiation detector. We're at zero right now. When I come to this light bulb, you'll see why you shouldn't use it.

(Radiation detector starts beeping)

"That's how much radiation these things emit. I advise you to go back to the old incandescent. This is not healthy for you."

Claims that EMFs from phones, meters, radios, etc, cause health problems have been around for a long time, but there is no definitive scientific evidence proving such claims.

A Science-Based Medicine round-up of claims surrounding CFLs noted that although CFL lamps can put out more EMF than other types of bulbs, that fact poses no health hazard. The EMF levels fall off so sharply with distance that measuring them from a few inches away (as shown in the video) is highly misleading, according to Snopes.

Oh well, we have replaced all of our bulbs with LEDs.


Malware is Real

Australian inboxes were being hit earlier this month by a spate of emails that look like they came from Australian energy giant AGL. The emails supposedly contain details of the customer's monthly bill and claims that they can click to view bill details or get more information.

However, the email was not from AGL. It is a criminal ruse designed to trick users into visiting a compromised website and downloading Torrentlocker ransomware. Once installed, Torrentlocker can encrypt computer files and then demand that the victim pay a ransom to receive an encryption key.

Hoax Busters reported the bogus electricity bills on June 2, and AGL published a warning about the malware attack on its website.

 

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://tdworld.com/asset-management-service/more-electricity-myths-hoaxes-and-rumors?elqTrackId=4F57AFA2F0E119A5A5AA3F0FE7B3165E&elq=4d9e9db909b04870a753f32f74e479a5&elqaid=9332&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=7836&utm_rid=CPG04000000918978&utm_campaign=9332&utm_medium=email&elq2=4d9e9db909b04870a753f32f74e479a5#slide-0-field_images-90561

 

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25

Why Data Centers love coming to Iowa

Why data centers love coming to Iowa

It seems that data centers can't get enough of Iowa.

Big names in the nation's technology industry have sought out the state to house their data storage, bringing multibillion-dollar investments with them.

West Des Moines is home to two Microsoft data center sites that have a combined investment of about $2 billion.

Social media company Facebook is constructing a third data center building in Altoona, just north of Interstate 80, having completed two others. Altogether, the project is expected to cost about $1 billion.

In Council Bluffs, Google has said, it will invest a total of $2.5 billion into its complex, which includes a four-story data center building.

"You’re becoming a more mature destination for the data center industry," said John Boyd, principal at New Jersey-based site-selection firm The Boyd Co. "That speaks to something that we look for in our reports, and that’s precedent."

Even if the data centers don't advertise their presence with large signs, Iowa officials haven't been shy about notifying those who will listen.

Iowa is an attractive place for data centers for multiple reasons, experts and economic development officials have said. They include incentives specifically designed for data center and web search companies, such as sales- and use-tax exemptions on purchases for computers, equipment and cooling systems.

Data centers also like Iowa because it has available land, relatively cheap and environmentally friendly energy sources, access to high-speed fiber optics and is a low natural disaster risk area.

While the data centers have been hailed by some as strong investments in Iowa and as a good marketing tool, the use of city and state incentives to attract them has caused criticism.

Iowa has provided Google, Microsoft and Facebook with millions in tax incentives for the projects. In return, all three have had to guarantee certain job counts that pay $18 to $25 an hour.

Microsoft, for instance, had to promise to create 84 jobs in exchange for a $20.3 million sales tax rebate for its second West Des Moines data center, valued at about $1.1 billion.

The state also is host to several smaller, homegrown data center companies that service other businesses.

Des Moines-based LightEdge Solutions operates data centers in Altoona and Kansas City, Mo., and has announced plans for one in Omaha. Urbandale-based IP Pathways operates one in that city.
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Involta out of Cedar Rapids has data centers in Iowa, Ohio and other states. Enseva has operations in Hiawatha, its headquarters, Chicago and Altoona.

Technology companies are investing in more data centers as demand for internet and cloud-storage services has repeatedly grown.

Individuals and businesses are moving away from having their own personal storage centers, in part because of the cost of hosting individual servers. Instead, companies like Amazon offer to host other's data on their own servers.

"Everybody is so interconnected today that the cloud-based services allow us to put all of our data somewhere else," said Doug Jacobson, director of Iowa State University's Information Assurance Center.

Amazon’s cloud division, Amazon Web Services, has grown to be the most profitable part of the e-commerce company. AWS started a decade ago but is on track to report $10 billion in revenue this year, The New York Times reported in April.

Meanwhile, companies like Microsoft and Facebook all have their own services they need to keep up and running, whether it’s Facebook’s social media feeds or Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming platform.

"The demand for digital information continues to explode. There’s no stopping it," Boyd said. "The demand is increasing exponentially as smartphones dominate the landscape."

Data centers in Iowa, by the numbers

Google

Location: Council Bluffs
Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.
Total investment: $2.5 billion
Employees: 300
State-provided incentives: About $37 million

Facebook

Location: Altoona
Headquarters: Menlo Park, Calif.
Total investment: $300 million for first phase; $1 billion expected
Employees: 150
State-provided incentives: $18 million

Microsoft

Location: Two projects in West Des Moines
Headquarters: Redmond, Wash.
Total investment: About $2 billion between two data centers
Employees: About 150 expected
State-provided incentives: $41 million

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/tech/2016/07/11/why-iowa-data-centers-love-coming-to-iowa/86963974/

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18

Top 5 Data Center Knowledge Stories: Week of July 15

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Top 5 Data Center Knowledge Stories: Week of July 15

Google Devs Get to Run Google Infrastructure for Six Months – In an unusual practice, Google has a program that has engineers that work on product development work for six months on the team that runs operates its infrastructure, which consists of a global network of company-owned and leased data centers.

Here’s How Much Water All US Data Centers Consume – A recent US government study for the first time made an attempt to quantify water consumption of all data centers in the country.

Another Huge Quarter for Data Center REITs: What’s Next? – While it would seem highly unlikely for data centers to be able to top that quarter’s performance, the second quarter proved to be even stronger, with an average gain for the data center sector of about 50 percent through June 30, 2016.

Here’s How Facebook Ensures It Doesn’t Drain Your Phone Battery – Facebook’s software engineers have to ensure the application, which is in a constant state of change, works on thousands of kinds of smartphones, built by different manufacturers using different hardware components and running different versions of multiple operating systems. How do you test every single code change on such a maddening variety of devices? The answer to that question sits inside the Facebook data center in Prineville, Oregon.

Equinix to Build Huge Amsterdam Data Center – This will be the Silicon Valley-based giant’s second data center in the Science Park, after it was forced to give up a TelecityGroup facility there to rival and landlord Digital Realty Trust.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/07/16/top-5-data-center-stories-week-of-july-15/

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Jul
11

Data Center Site Selection

Data Center Site Selection: Knowing What You Want and What You Need

A guide to more effective data center site selection and facility design.

It Starts With Planning

Abraham Lincoln once said that if he had eight hours to chop down a tree, he’d spend the first six sharpening his ax. What this means to you as the erector of the new home for your company’s data processing and storage requirements is that everything starts with planning. This doesn’t mean that you have to completely design the facility before deciding where to put it, but it does mean you better have developed a clearly understood scope of the project and its requirements before breaking ground anywhere.

Developing the plan for your new facility must take into account a wide array of issues, and the following questions are critical for starting that planning process:

• Why are you building this new data center? As much as it may seem like it, this isn’t a “duh” question. The purpose of building a new facility immediately determines a number of parameters for the data center being constructed. For example, if your site is going to become your primary facility to support your mission critical applications then certain reliability related features are required like a hardened shell and a 2N architecture. Modular data center offerings can’t deliver these types of features, so just by answering the “why” narrows the acceptable options to use in the site’s construction and begins to define its essential requirements.

• What applications will be housed within the facility? Are they critical to the organization and how important is the information they contain in terms of security? Do you need a hardened facility and a 2N architecture or is N+1, or even N sufficient? If you are interested in building a new data center it would seem that the answers to these questions would be yes, yes, and no, but that isn’t always the case. Obviously, no two companies’ data center requirements are alike, but determining what applications the new facility would support enables you to better frame your requirements in areas such as security and reliability.

• What are your projections for the future? In other words, what capabilities must be included in your data center to ensure that it remains a viable asset for the next 20 years? This is an important question since no one builds a data center to discard just five or ten years later, but this happens more than you would think. The nature of the data flowing through a data center is changing. Many applications, video for example, are driving larger, rich packets through facilities while the Internet of Things (IoT) will be generating billions of tiny packets that will need to be processed “instantaneously” if the information is to be used effectively. If you don’t understand your long-range goals you can easily build a facility that will run out of space and/or power long before you wanted it to.

• What are your projected requirements for space and power? This question should be looked at from the perspective of question three above. Things like whether you plan on using high- or low-density racks have a bearing on both your power and space requirements. As you can see, answering questions three and four should be a little more detailed than just white boarding a wish list.

• What is your projected rate of growth? Along with questions three and four, your projected frequency of expansion is a critical element of consideration when you are determining the requirements for your new facility. For example, if you expect to grow quickly you may elect to build a slightly larger data center than dictated by your initial requirements, or since most data centers expand in larger “chunks” do you need a facility that is designed for easy expansion without interrupting your ongoing operations?

This is certainly not a comprehensive list of the questions that need to be addressed in the planning and design phases of your project, but as you have probably already deduced, your answers will generate new sets of issues that will need to be addressed. In other words, questions will beget questions and the answers will demonstrably affect the site selection phase of your project.


Selecting A Site

Unless you are fortunate to already own the land where you want to locate your new data center — and as you’ll see, even that is not a guarantee that it will support the facility — site selection is a little bit more complex than simple saying “we want to put it here.” In selecting your site, here a few of the key guidelines to keep in mind:

• Site selection is a process of attrition. A data center site isn’t so much selected as much as it is often the last one standing in a process of elimination. When factors like access to utilities, fiber, existing sites (synchronous communications encompasses a range of only 30 miles), local regulations, and proximity to performance affecting entities like a chemical factory are considered the “perfect” site often isn’t quite so perfect. This process of elimination also necessitates that you understand the zoning in the areas surrounding your dream location to understand any special requirements that you may have to take into account. We once built a facility near a residential area where we needed to dynamite through some rock formations. We were able to do it but we needed to put up the proper precautionary signs and speak to the surrounding neighbors to inform them of the times that these actions would be occurring.

• You have to understand the local “layout.” No two municipalities are the same. What is acceptable for one may not be in another. This may even be found to be the case in adjacent municipalities. For example, in building two new data centers in adjoining cities we had to build extensive baffling to reduce generator noise in one city while its neighbor had no such requirement.

• Obtaining permits and approvals is an arduous process. This issue is an extension of understanding the local layout. Even if you’ve purchased the land that doesn’t mean that you can build a data center there. The permitting and approval process can take months and even then, there is no guarantee that your project will be approved. Issues surrounding permits and approvals are also a major reason why using an existing building isn’t necessarily faster than building from the ground up.

Understanding the local “layout” is also important here since familiarity with the unique elements in a location’s processes can dramatically reduce the time required to complete this phase of your project. While the basic requirements tend to be the same, different communities often place more emphasis on specific items. One city that we built a data center in was very concerned with the aesthetics of the building itself and we had to provide very detailed renderings of what the completed facility would look like. When we were asked to build another site in the same community, we shaved more than a month off of the permitting process by preparing the required renderings in advance. “Be prepared” isn’t just a motto for the Boy Scouts.

• Beware of hidden requirements. Just because you want to “just build a data center” doesn’t mean that your selected site won’t have to include requirements (like what should be included in your landscaping) that you haven’t anticipated or, more importantly, budgeted for. In one municipality we were required to build a “community gathering” area as part of the project. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you can quickly learn that you haven’t. The gathering area turned out to be quite nice however.

• Experience counts. Site development is a learned skill. On the job training is not the methodology you want to use when selecting and developing a data center site. Attempting to perform the activities necessary to perform this function with personnel, consultants, or contractors who are not familiar with data centers will only add time and costs to your efforts. For example, you’ve acquired the land only to find out that a gas main easement runs through it or the site has actually been built but someone neglected to send in the load letter and the utility dedicated the power elsewhere. If you don’t have this experience within your organization you will need to retain an expert in this area to ensure that your development schedule doesn’t become measurable in years.

Although building a new data center and finding and selecting the site where it will reside can be a detailed process, the most important element in successfully navigating all of the associated elements is to do your planning first. There is simply no substitute for a detailed and well understood set of requirements to alleviate the various pitfalls associated with any data center project. Knowing what you want, and what is needed to get and support it, seems like overly simple advice, but a majority of data center projects are initiated with little more than the equivalent of a “wish list,” and oftentimes those dreams wind up being more like nightmares.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://www.missioncriticalmagazine.com/articles/88423-data-center-site-selection-knowing-what-you-want-and-what-you-need?

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Jul
05

Energy Amount All US Data Centers Consume

Here’s How Much Energy All US Data Centers Consume

electricity transmission pylons getty e1466813395789

It’s no secret that data centers, the massive but bland, unremarkable-looking buildings housing the powerful engines that pump blood through the arteries of global economy, consume a huge amount of energy. But while our reliance on this infrastructure and its ability to scale capacity grows at a maddening pace, it turns out that on the whole, the data center industry’s ability to improve energy efficiency as it scales is extraordinary.

The demand for data center capacity in the US grew tremendously over the last five years, while total data center energy consumption grew only slightly, according to results of a new study of data center energy use by the US government, released today. This is the first comprehensive analysis of data center energy use in the US in about a decade.

US data centers consumed about 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2014, the most recent year examined, representing 2 percent of the country’s total energy consumption, according to the study. That’s equivalent to the amount consumed by about 6.4 million average American homes that year. This is a 4 percent increase in total data center energy consumption from 2010 to 2014, and a huge change from the preceding five years, during which total US data center energy consumption grew by 24 percent, and an even bigger change from the first half of last decade, when their energy consumption grew nearly 90 percent.

Efficiency improvements have played an enormous role in taming the growth rate of the data center industry’s energy consumption. Without these improvements, staying at the efficiency levels of 2010, data centers would have consumed close to 40 billion kWh more than they did in 2014 to do the same amount of work, according to the study, conducted by the US Department of Energy in collaboration with researchers from Stanford University, Northwestern University, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Energy efficiency improvements will have saved 620 billion kWh between 2010 and 2020, the study forecasts. The researchers expect total US data center energy consumption to grow by 4 percent between now and 2020 – they predict the same growth rate over the next five years as it was over the last five years – reaching about 73 billion kWh.

 

LBNL DOE DC energy use efficiency impact

This chart shows past and projected growth rate of total US data center energy use from 2000 until 2020. It also illustrates how much faster data center energy use would grow if the industry, hypothetically, did not make any further efficiency improvements after 2010. (Source: US Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Counting Electrons

Somewhere around the turn of the century, data center energy consumption started attracting a lot of public attention. The internet was developing fast, and many started asking questions about the role it was playing in the overall picture of the country’s energy use.

Many, including public officials, started ringing alarm bells, worried that continuing to power growth of the internet would soon become a big problem. These worries were stoked further by the coal lobby, which funded pseudo-scientific research by “experts” with questionable motives, who said the internet’s power consumption was out of control, and if the society wanted it to continue growing, it wouldn’t be wise to continue shutting down coal-burning power plants.

The DOE’s first attempt to quantify just how much energy data centers were consuming, whose results were published in a 2008 report to Congress, was a response to those rising concerns. It showed that yes, this infrastructure was consuming a lot of energy, and that its energy use was growing quickly, but the problem wasn’t nearly as big as those studies of murky origins had suggested.

“The last [DOE] study … was really the first time data center energy use for the entire country was quantified in some way,” Arman Shehabi, research scientist at the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and one of the new study’s lead autors, said in an interview with Data Center Knowledge.

What authors of both the 2008 report and this year’s report did not anticipate was how much the growth curve of the industry’s total energy use would flatten between then and now. This was the biggest surprise for Shehabi and his colleagues when analyzing the most recent data.

“It’s slowed down, and right now the rate of increase is fairly steady,” he said. “There’s more activity occurring, but that activity is happening in more efficient data centers.”

Fewer Servers

There’s a whole list of factors that contributed to flattening of the curve, but the most obvious one is that the amount of servers being deployed in data centers is simply not growing as quickly as it used to. Servers have gotten a lot more powerful and efficient, and the industry has figured out ways to utilize more of each server’s total capacity, thanks primarily to server virtualization, which enables a single physical server to host many virtual ones.

Each year between 2000 and 2005, companies bought 15 percent more servers on average than the previous year, the study says, citing server shipment estimates by the market research firm IDC. The total number of servers deployed in data centers just about doubled in those five years.

Growth rate in annual server shipments dropped to 5 percent over the second half of the decade, due in part to the 2008 market crash but also to server virtualization, which emerged during that period. Annual shipment growth dropped to 3 percent since 2010, and the researchers expect it to remain there until at least 2020.

The Hyperscale Factor

The end of the last decade and beginning of the current one also saw the rise of hyperscale data centers, the enormous facilities designed for maximum efficiency from the ground up. These are built by cloud and internet giants, such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon, as well as data center providers, companies that specialize in designing and building data centers and leasing them to others.

According to the DOE study, most of the servers that have been responsible for that 3 percent annual increase in shipments have been going into hyperscale data centers. The cloud giants have created a science out of maximizing server utilization and data center efficiency, contributing in a big way to the slow-down of the industry’s overall energy use, while data center providers have made improvements in efficiency of their facilities infrastructure, the power and cooling equipment that supports their clients’ IT gear. Both of these groups of data center operators are well-incentivized to improve efficiency, since it has direct impact on their bottom lines.

The amount of applications companies deployed in the cloud or in data center provider facilities started growing as well. A recent survey by the Uptime Institute found that while enterprise-owned data centers host 71 percent of enterprise IT assets today, 20 percent is hosted by data center providers, and the remaining 9 percent is hosted in the cloud.

LBNL DOE 2016 dc energy use by space type

This chart shows the portion of energy use attributed to data centers of various types over time. SP data centers are data centers operated by service providers, including both colocation and cloud service providers, while internal data centers are typical single-user enterprise data centers. (Source: US Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Additionally, while companies are deploying fewer servers, the amount of power each server needs has not been growing as quickly as it used to. Server power requirements were increasing from 2000 to 2005 but have been relatively static since then, according to the DOE. Servers have gotten better at reducing power consumption when running idle or at low utilization, while the underlying data center power and cooling infrastructure has gotten more efficient. Storage devices and networking hardware have also seen significant efficiency improvements.

From IT Closet to Hyperscale Facilities

To put this new data in perspective, it’s important to understand the trajectory of the data center industry’s development. It was still a young field in 2007, when the first DOE study was published, Shehabi said. There was no need for data centers not too long ago, when instead of a data center there was a single server sitting next to somebody’s desk. They would soon add another server, and another, until they needed a separate room or a closet. Eventually, that footprint increased to a point where servers needed dedicated facilities.

All this happened very quickly, and the main concern of the first data center operators was keeping up with demand, not keeping the energy bill low. “Now that [data centers] are so large, they’re being designed from a point of view of looking at the whole system to find a way to make them as efficient and as productive as possible, and that process has led to a lot of the efficiencies that we’re seeing in this new report,” Shehabi said.

Efficiency Won’t Be the Final Answer

While the industry as a whole has managed to flatten the growth curve of its energy use, it’s important to keep in mind that a huge portion of all existing software still runs in highly inefficient data centers, the small enterprise IT facilities built a decade ago or earlier that support applications for hospitals, banks, insurance companies, and so on. “The lowest-hanging fruit will be trying to address efficiency of the really small data centers,” Shehabi said. “Even though they haven’t been growing very much … it’s still millions of servers that are out there, and those are just very inefficient.” Going forward, it will be important to find ways to either make those smaller data centers more efficient or to replace them with footprint in efficient hyperscale facilities.

As with the first data center study by the DOE, the new results are encouraging for the industry, but they don’t indicate that it has effectively addressed energy problems it is likely to face in the future. There are only a “couple of knobs you can turn” to improve efficiency – you can design more efficient facilities and improve server utilization – and operators of the world’s largest data centers have been turning them both, but demand for data center services is increasing, and there are no signs that it will be slowing down any time soon. “We can only get to 100 percent efficiency,” Shehabi said.

Writing in the report on the study, he and his colleagues warn that as information and communication technologies continue to evolve rapidly, it is likely that deployment of new systems and services is happening “without much consideration of energy impacts.” Unlike 15 years ago, however, the industry now has a lot more knowledge about deploying these systems efficiently. Waiting to identify specific efficient deployment plans can lead to setbacks in the future.

“The potential for data center services, especially from a global perspective, is still in a fairly nascent stage, and future demand could continue to increase after our current strategies to improve energy efficiency have been maximized. Understanding if and when this transition may occur and the ways in which data centers can minimize their costs and environmental impacts under such a scenario is an important direction for future research.”

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/06/27/heres-how-much-energy-all-us-data-centers-consume/

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27

Southwire Recalls Voltage Detectors Due to Shock and Burn Hazards

voltage detector

The detectors can give a false “no voltage” reading when testing live wires, causing a shock, electrocution and burn hazard.


Southwire is recalling voltage detectors due to a shock and burn hazard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the detectors can give a false “no voltage” reading when testing live wires, causing a shock, electrocution and burn hazard.

The company reported that it is aware of an incident of a false reading by the voltage detector. The consumer received an electrical shock and fell off a ladder.

This recall involves non-contact voltage detectors with model numbers 40110N and 40120N. The recalled voltage detectors are cylindrical shaped, about six inches long and about two inches in circumference. They are brownish gold in color with a black center insert. “Southwire,” the model number and the CE and UL listing symbols are printed on the voltage detectors.

They have red LED lights to indicate the presence of live electric current. Model 40110N detects voltage from 100VAC to 1,000VAC. Model 40120N detects voltage from 24VAC to 1,000VAC.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled voltage detectors and contact Southwire for instructions on returning them for a free replacement voltage detector.

The devices were sold at Lowe’s and other home and hardware stores nationwide and online at lowes.com and other websites from June 2013 through February 2016 for about $15.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://ecmweb.com/shock-electrocution/southwire-recalls-voltage-detectors-due-shock-and-burn-hazards

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Jun
20

My Challenge to You....

My challenge to you….care enough to find out someone’s story. It might just change your life.

LOBusTrip 1

By: Denise Allacher
Leadership Omaha Class 38

I met Rita last Thursday morning. I was riding the bus as part of my Leadership Omaha seminar. She was at the bus stop. Something told me I needed to hear her story. Rita is homeless. She lives with dissociative identity disorder. There are five of them. She’s taking classes on how to manage her illness. She’s working on more permanent housing. I asked if I could introduce her to my group. She said no, because it’s always the violent one that talks to strange men. We continued chatting about life. We prayed for each other. As we got off the bus at the same stop I thanked her for sharing her story. She said something I will never forget. She said, “Thank you for caring enough to ask. No one else ever has unless it was their job.”
Friends, isn’t that what all of us want? Someone who cares about our story.

My challenge to you….care enough to find out someone’s story. It might just change your life.

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Jun
13

Eaton to Help U.S. Army Upgrade Electrical Utility, Critical Power and Cybersecurity Systems

Eaton to Help U.S. Army Upgrade Electrical Utility, Critical Power and Cybersecurity Systems at Fort Gordon in Georgia

Power management company Eaton announced a $20 million contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, to lead complete electrical utility upgrades for normal and critical power systems at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. Under the multi-year agreement, Eaton will provide turnkey engineering services, as well as all necessary power distribution, electrical control and power quality equipment.

Eaton was awarded the project under the Utility and Monitoring Control Systems-IV (UMCS-IV) contract for U.S. government infrastructure improvements. The work will help Fort Gordon, which is home of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, continue to deliver high-quality power with an adaptable, secure and responsive infrastructure.

“For specialized military installations such as Fort Gordon, it is vital for electrical systems to support critical reliability while offering the flexibility to meet evolving requirements,” said John Stampfel, vice president and general manager, Electrical Engineering Services and Systems Division, Eaton. “With a successful record of deploying electrical system upgrades for U.S. government agencies spanning more than 30 years, Eaton’s engineering, manufacturing and training resources will help Fort Gordon continue to deliver high-quality power to securely support mission needs.”

To help Fort Gordon establish reliable critical power systems in compliance with Uptime Institute Tier IV requirements, Eaton will provide high-power generators, a redundant network of uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), in-row cooling equipment with hot-isle containment, and facility-wide monitoring and control systems. For enhanced reliability and safety, Eaton will also perform system testing and commissioning, as well as comprehensive cybersecurity analysis to help ensure all electrical systems comply with current standards.

Eaton has extensive experience in critical design/build power projects and utilized an innovative approach of supporting electrical utility system optimization with the Eaton Modular Integrated Transportable Substation (MITS). The scalable and transportable electrical power assembly is designed to expedite and reduce the cost of substation deployment through factory-assembly, wiring and testing.

The contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is one of several recent facilities optimization projects awarded to Eaton. Last year, Eaton helped advance electrical safety at a major U.S. Army hospital and multiple medical clinics in Georgia and led electrical infrastructure modernization at the Temperature Test Facility at the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico.

Eaton has one of the largest and most experienced teams of power system engineers in the industry. Eaton's Electrical Engineering Services and Systems team offers a comprehensive portfolio of services tailored for every stage of a power system’s life cycle, whether design, build or support. To learn more, visit www.eaton.com/service.

To learn more about Eaton’s solutions and services for government and military, visit www.eaton.com/government.

See the origial article and read more at: http://www.eaton.com/Eaton/OurCompany/NewsEvents/NewsReleases/PCT_2203913

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Jun
06

4 Big Benefits of Lithium Ion Batteries for UPS Systems – and 2 Key Challenges

4 Big Benefits of Lithium Ion Batteries for UPS Systems – and 2 Key Challenges

by Patrick Brouhon

A confluence of events is setting the stage for what may well be dramatic change in a key component of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology that really hasn’t changed much for 40 years or more.

I’m referring to the lead acid battery, the energy storage technology used in UPS systems, which remains much the same now as it did decades ago. But as the industry develops new types of batteries for devices ranging from smart phones to electric automobiles, we can clearly see the day when UPSs take advantage of these developments.

It’s coming at a good time, because customers are facing some difficult challenges with respect to UPSs, whether they’re for data centers, critical buildings, industrial processes or critical infrastructure. These challenges are driving the need for specific UPS requirements, including:

Reduced UPS footprint and weight to allow for a more effective, flexible use of space
Reduced cooling capacity
Increased energy storage availability and ability to predict UPS failures
Extended UPS life and reduced maintenance overhead

I believe lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries on Wikipedia hold great promise to address all of these challenges and requirements. In this post I’ll explain the four main reasons why.

First, Li-ion batteries provide multiple times the energy and power density as compared to valve-regulated lead-acid batteries (VRLA), which are the most common type currently used in UPS systems. As a result, UPSs built with Li-ion batteries take up only about one-third the space or less of a VRLA-based solution that delivers the same power.

That smaller footprint translates to reduced cooling requirements as well as about a two-thirds reduction in weight, at least. That means customers have more flexibility in terms of where they install the systems and can often avoid costly building modifications.

Li-ion batteries can also withstand a wider temperature range than VRLA batteries. The rule of thumb is that VRLA battery life is reduced by half for every 10°C (18°F) increase above 25°C (77° F) ambient temperature. Li-ion batteries are far less sensitive to temperature fluctuations and can accept spikes in temperature with almost no effect on battery life. This again allows customers to reduce cooling capacity as well as the size of the room that houses the UPS.

A third benefit is that Li-ion batteries always come with sophisticated battery monitoring systems (BMS) that provide a clear picture of battery runtime and health. It’s essentially the same technology that enables you to easily see how much battery life is left in your smart phone.

In contrast, VRLA batteries rely on chemistry that makes it hard to accurately predict when they’re going to fail. Think about your car battery: it may crank perfectly fine one day but the next it’s a little chilly and the battery fails, without warning. That won’t happen with Li-ion batteries.

Which leads to the final benefit of Li-ion batteries for UPSs: increased life expectancy. In theory, VRLA batteries used in UPS systems have a life expectancy of 10 years. But due to the constraints around being able to determine their actual health and life expectancy, in practice most customers replace them after 5 or 6 years.

In contrast, Li-ion batteries of the sort best suited for UPSs are expected to last for more than 10 years, reducing the burden and cost of battery replacements, as well as the risks of down time or load interruption during maintenance.

Of course no new technology comes without certain implementation challenges and Li-ion batteries are no different. First is the need to find the type of Li-ion battery that’s best suited for UPS applications. UPS requirements are quite different from those for, say, an electric car battery. Car batteries are designed to store lots of energy so the car can travel as many miles as possible before recharging. With UPS batteries, the concern is not length of run time so much as the need to deliver a lot of power quickly for a short period of time, usually just a few minutes until the backup generators kick in.

For a UPS we’re also not really interested in a battery that can cycle on and off thousands of times, because a UPS kicks in only occasionally. Rather, we need it to be highly reliable and safe, with a long life expectancy.

Secondly, we need a battery that can deliver a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) as compared to VRLA batteries. Li-ion batteries are already competitive on that front. They may cost more up front, but will last about twice as long as VRLA batteries. Li-ion batteries also have a far smaller footprint, which drives down both space and cooling requirements – delivering further cost savings.

I expect the TCO story to get even better in coming months and years, since Li-ion technology is still quite new with respect to UPSs. Prices should fall at a much faster rate than that for the mature VLRA technology.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://blog.schneider-electric.com/power-management-metering-monitoring-power-quality/2015/06/24/4-big-benefits-of-lithium-ion-batteries-for-ups-systems-and-2-key-challenges/

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May
31

OSHA Finds Multiple Electrical Hazards at Kansas Battery Manufacturer

OSHA Finds Multiple Electrical Hazards at Kansas Battery Manufacturer

exide logo

As they investigated unsafe working conditions at a Salina, Kan., battery manufacturer, federal investigators initiated a second safety inspection after the company reported an unguarded machine partially amputated a 32-year-old worker's left middle finger.

On April 26, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued one willful, and 10 serious safety and health violations to Exide Technologies based on the Oct. 27 complaint and Dec. 3, 2015, injury inspections. OSHA found workers exposed to electrical and machine hazards. The agency also issued a hazard alert letter to the plant for failing to implement a heat-stress program. OSHA proposed total penalties of $127,300.

OSHA cited the company for:

  • Using electrical cable trays and equipment found deteriorating from exposure to sulfuric acid vapors.
  • Allowing acid and water to accumulate on floors causing holes, slip and trip hazards.
  • Impeding exit paths.
  • Failing to develop a permit-required confined space program.
  • Not training and monitoring workers in confined space.
  • Not labeling hazardous chemical containers.
  • Failing to train workers about hazardous chemicals in use.

"Exide Technologies is exposing workers to dangerous electrical and machine hazards that can cause devastating and life-changing injuries like the one this worker suffered," said Judy Freeman, OSHA's area director in Wichita. "While working as a strip caster, this man joined 65 other Kansas workers who, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports suffered preventable, workplace amputation injuries in 2015. Exide needs to clean up its act and take immediate action to fix these hazards."

Inspectors found the amputation injury occurred when the strip caster's left hand was caught in the unguarded belts, pulleys and gears of a lead chopping machine at the facility.

View citations from Oct. 27 health, safety and Dec. 3 safety inspections.

Based in Milton, Ga., Exide focuses on smart battery development and advanced materials and process design at research facilities in the U.S., Germany, Italy and Spain. The company employs about 620 workers at the Salina facility and 5,000 globally.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://ecmweb.com/accidents-investigations/osha-finds-multiple-electrical-hazards-kansas-battery-manufacturer

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May
23

Free Arc Flash Handbook

130 Pages of Expert Advice & Arc Flash Information

imagegen.ashxThis informative book was developed as a go-to resource for safety managers, electrical engineers, or anyone responsible for creation of an electrical safety program.

Sign up to receive it here:

https://www.graphicproducts.com/guides/arc-flash-hazards/ppc/?campaign=Arc_Flash_US_DSK_Hazard_Low_Cost&adgroup=Low_Cost&gclid=CJfz79-j8MwCFQsPaQodUCoBQg#form

 

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: https://www.graphicproducts.com/guides/arc-flash-hazards/ppc/?campaign=Arc_Flash_US_DSK_Hazard_Low_Cost&adgroup=Low_Cost&gclid=CJfz79-j8MwCFQsPaQodUCoBQg

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May
16

Grid of Things to Come

The Grid of Things to Come, No One Can Be Left Behind

hogan 4

Patrick M. Hogan of PG&E makes a point at the recent California Renewables Rush conference in San Francisco while Kevin Lynn, DOE director of grid integration, listens.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Patrick M. Hogan, Pacific Gas & Electric senior vice president, Electric Transmission and Distribution, recently addressed The California Renewables Rush conference in San Francisco. This article is extracted from his remarks.
The modern, resilient, dynamic electric grid offers our customers more choice, more control and more convenience when it comes to their energy.

PG&E won’t be the only player on that grid.

 

For example, we’re proposing a pilot project to test the idea of replacing the aging underwater cable that supplies power to Angel Island, in San Francisco bay, with a microgrid system that would combine on-site wind and solar generation with storage to manage all of the island’s energy needs, and help the state park system meet its clean energy goals.

That could involve inviting companies that make the necessary components to design parts of the system around their technology. Who would own that equipment, and how the costs and responsibilities would be divided, have yet to be decided. But we’re working with the California Public Utility Commission and others to explore the idea.

Of course, there’s another piece of the puzzle, one that can’t be forgotten amid the enthusiasm for clean energy solutions.

Unlike other businesses looking to join us in the energy space, utility companies have unique responsibilities. An essential part our job is to make sure the system works for everyone.

The investments and infrastructure that make it possible for the fortunate among us to connect private solar panels and charge an electric vehicle in the garage must also continue to serve our 1.5 million customers who qualify for low-income discounts.

That’s why we pay so much attention to the costs of integrating new clean technologies into our system, and who bears these costs. We’re already seeing how this can tilt the playing field over the long term.

The benefits of a clean-energy future have to be accessible and affordable to all. No one can be left behind. That’s a responsibility we will not walk away from.

The electric system has to be reliable for everyone. When there’s a storm or a major earthquake, people need to know there’s someone they can count on to restore power and get everyone back on their feet quickly. It’s hard to see who else would do that.

So when you take in the full picture, the more you try to plan for a clean energy economy, the more it becomes clear that our century-old pricing model -- the one which assumes the only product a customer receives from the grid is a kilowatt-hour -- will no longer make sense. Paying for the grid through volumetric rates and revenues isn’t going to work anymore.

In a future where energy is generated and used differently -- and grid loading is changed by increased energy efficiency, distributed generation, and Community Choice Aggregation -- the cost of the grid should be recovered in a way that reflects the value of the services provided, not on the amount of energy delivered.

Although some may view clean energy technologies as a way to cut ties with the utility grid, the reality is most aren’t feasible without it, and many use the grid even more intensively than before.

This means moving toward a rate structure where utilities are compensated for the grid services we provide to customers and customers receive clear value for the things they bring to the grid.

In the meantime, we’re working hard to implement new approaches to energy storage and other applications through the various efforts being led through the CPUC.

That’s part of the point, though. Clean energy technologies will continue to change and multiply, but we need the right regulatory framework that can help further the market and create a clear path instead of a piecemeal approach.

Even in an industry that has continuously changed since its inception, I don’t think there has ever been a period quite like the one we’re in now.

Except, perhaps, for those very early days, when giants like Edison and Tesla first figured out how to harness electricity for the benefit of every home and business. Like them, we have a chance to make a real difference in people’s lives, to change the world for the better, and to shape the course of the future for generations to come.

It’s a very exciting time. And we’re excited to be part of it.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://tdworld.com/news/grid-things-come?eid=forward

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May
09

What to Do with an Older UPS

Guidance on What to Do with an Older UPS White Paper produced by APC by Schneider Electric

 

“When should an older UPS be replaced with a new one?” is a question that virtually all data center owners will have to answer. The answer is not always self evident and depends on several factors. This paper provides data center owners and managers a simple framework for answering the question in the context of their own circumstances and requirements. Three options are explained and compared: run to fail, upgrade, and buy new.

Download Now

 

 

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  2009 Hits
2009 Hits
May
02

Top 14 Reasons Electrical Service Installations Get Red Tagged

Whether located inside or outdoors, premises wiring systems powered by an electric utility have what is known as an electrical service. It is the portion of the electrical system from the utility-defined point of connection to the input terminals of the main overcurrent device — although strictly speaking (not included in this definition), the entrance panel is generally considered part of the service.

Because the service components carry a substantial amount of current and their overcurrent protection is much higher (less sensitive) than the ampacities of service conductors and terminals, design and installation are critical. Typically, an electrical inspector will take a good hard look at the service to make sure all is in order prior to signing off on the installation. It’s your job to avoid these all too common “red tag” failure points.

This photo gallery shows some common missteps electricians, and other non-professional installers, make in electrical service installations across the country

Entrance Panel1

1. No Cover on Panelboard

An energized electrical panel should not be operated with the cover removed because:

  • A complete enclosure is necessary to contain sparks in case of line-to-line or line-to-ground fault.
  • Exposed energized terminals are a shock hazard.
  • The cover helps hold the main and branch circuit breakers firmly in place, preventing arcing at the bus bars.

No directory2

2. Missing or Incomplete Directory on Panelboard

A complete and accurate directory is needed to selectively de-energize branch circuits for maintenance. Entries should not refer to current occupants (e.g., John’s Room).

Plumb3

3. Meter Enclosure Out of Plumb

All boxes, including the entrance panel, must be plumb and firmly secured.

Closure Blanks4

4. Missing Knockout Closures

Unused knockouts that have been removed must be fitted with closure blanks (made for the purpose) to ensure integrity of the enclosure.

Bonding5

5. Missing Bonding Connection on Water Pipe

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires metal water piping to be bonded to the electrical grounding system. This is usually accomplished by connecting to the grounded conductor at the service equipment enclosure. The bonding conductor is sized in accordance with NEC Table 250.66. The points of attachment of the bonding jumper(s) must be accessible.

grounding6

6. Insufficient Grounding

The NEC requires that a single rod, pipe, or plate electrode be supplemented by an additional electrode if its resistance to earth is greater than 25 ohms. Rather than go through the hassle of measuring ground resistance, many electricians simply drive a second ground rod [as required by NEC Sec. 250.53(A)(2)], and call it a day. In addition, the grounding electrode conductor raceway, which is metallic, should extend below grade and be bonded at the bottom. Most electricians use PVC raceway here to eliminate the need for bonding.

No Inhibitor7

7. Lack of Corrosion Inhibitor with Aluminum Wire

Aluminum conductors are generally used instead of their copper counterparts between the utility point of connection and the main breaker. Including the meter socket, which is usually part of this scenario, there are numerous aluminum terminations. Each one of these requires corrosion inhibitor to ensure that the connection does not oxidize with attendant heat and arcing. Manufacturer’s instructions, which are incorporated in the UL listing, state that the metal is to be wire brushed before applying the inhibitor.

Missing MBJ8

8. Main Bonding Jumper is Missing

The main bonding jumper is to be field-installed. It is not to be used if the box is not used as service equipment (i.e., as a downstream load center).

Large Hotel9

9. Improperly Sized Service

The service size is based on the lighting load plus other loads. Calculation requirements are detailed in NEC Art. 220. Residential and commercial occupancies are figured differently.

Sizing10

10. Service Wire Not Sized Properly

Service conductor sizing is based on the connected load, with different sizes for dwellings and non-dwellings. This is critical because the service conductors are not protected for their ampacity by up-stream overcurrent devices.

Masthead Service11

11. Telephone or Data Wires Attached to Masthead

A very common Code violation is connection of non-service conductors or other equipment to a masthead. The problem here is that they add to the lateral load on the masthead raceway, especially if there is ice build up or wind load present on the span.

Masthead12

12. Coupling in Masthead Raceway Placed Above the Roof

Because strength of the masthead is critical, there should not be a coupling between the point at which the raceway emerges from the roof and the point of attachment, which is where the lateral loading occurs. Waterpipe should never be used as a masthead.

Clearance13

13. Inadequate Ground Clearance

The point of attachment at the building must be 10 ft above the finished grade and high enough so that the required clearance above grade level is maintained for the entire span. For overhead service conductors over residential property and driveways — and those commercial areas not subject to truck traffic where the voltage does not exceed 300V to ground — this clearance is 12 ft.

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14. No Arc Fault Breakers in Panelboard

Just as the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protects individuals against electric shock, the arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) mitigates the hazard of electrical fire. Neither of these life-saving devices is effective if not in place. NEC requires specific locations in dwellings and non-dwellings to be so protected. AFCI protection usually takes the form of specialized circuit breakers installed in the entrance panel. Because of their distinctive appearance with an extra white pigtail that is to be connected to the neutral bar, it is obvious when they are missing.

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See the origial article and read more at: http://ecmweb.com/contractor/top-14-reasons-electrical-service-installations-get-red-tagged#slide-0-field_images-134491

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Apr
25

Grant County PUD Fined for Safety Violations Connected to Electrical Explosion

Grant County PUD Fined for Safety Violations Connected to Electrical Explosion

Grant County Public Utility District #2 has been fined $35,000 for five serious safety violations following an explosion at its Priest Rapids Dam in Beverly, Wash. Six workers were hospitalized with very serious electrical burns from the incident last October.

Under supervision, the workers were troubleshooting a mechanical problem with a generator. The workers did not know that a circuit had been re-energized when they closed a breaker, which caused the high-voltage electrical arc flash explosion.

An investigation by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) concluded that the arc flash could have been prevented if the employer had ensured the use of safety locks and safeguards to prevent the breaker from being closed when other parts of the circuit were energized.

L&I cited the utility district for five serious violations, each with the maximum penalty of $7,000. The investigation found that:

  • The employer did not ensure the use of lock-out/tag-out safety devices to prevent inadvertently closing a breaker that could cause an arc flash.
  • Employees were not briefed on the circuit conditions that affected them and exposed them to risk of arc flash burns and electrocution.
  • Employees were not aware that the lock-out/tag-out devices had been removed from the circuit.
  • One worker was not wearing fire-resistant clothing while working on the hydro-electric equipment.
  • The employer did not provide any records to show it was in compliance with the state regulation on protecting workers from injury due to hazardous energy.

The utility district has 15 days to appeal the citation. Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://ecmweb.com/accidents-investigations/grant-county-pud-fined-safety-violations-connected-electrical-explosion

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Apr
11

Build a Better Safety Net With an Electrical Safety Gap Analysis

Build a Better Safety Net With an Electrical Safety Gap Analysis

We’ve come a long way from Thomas Edison’s light bulb. Electricity powers our workforce, connecting mechanical assembly lines and propelling conveyors across the country.

Electricity is an integral component of our way of life and global economy, but it’s not without hazards. Electrical hazards can be unpredictable and dangerous, placing engineers, electricians and other professionals in harm’s way.

Effective health, safety and environmental (HSE) management systems deploy a variety of training procedures and safeguards to lower their company’s Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and ensure workers and assets are protected. Forward-thinking companies contract a third party to provide an electrical safety gap analysis.

Electrical Safety Gap Analysis
The premise is simple: No electrical system is without gaps. Often, third parties are best equipped to analyze existing HSE management systems to pinpoint strengths and opportunities for improvement. Depending on the size of your company, these on-site evaluations can be completed in an afternoon or over the course of a few days.

An electrical safety gap analysis:
-Examines low-cost solutions to meet regulatory compliance needs,
-Documents safety measures for OSHA audits and compliance,
-Creates safety proposals for budget generation,
-Provides recommendations and regulatory standards for personal protective equipment (PPE), and
-Offers an in-depth report of recognized gaps or “hazards.”

When in doubt, call in the cavalry. A trained professional will not only evaluate your electrical safety program, but help prevent accidents and fines.

Electrical Regulatory Standards
Electrical hazards inundate OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Violations year after year, affecting a multitude of industries. An electrical safety gap analysis can help prevent your company from becoming a fateful statistic.

OSHA’S Top 10 Safety Violations for 2014 included:
-Powered industrial trucks, with 3,147 violations (No. 5);
-Lockout/Tagout (LO/TO), with 3,117 violations (No. 6);
-Electrical/wiring methods, with 2,907 violations (No. 8);
-Machine guarding, with 2,520 violations (No. 9); and
-Electrical/general requirements, with 2,427 violations (No. 10).

OSHA’s electrical standards are designed to protect employees exposed to dangers such as electric shock, electrocution, fires and explosions. While electrical hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general industry (29 CFR 1910), shipyard employment (29 CFR 1915), and marine terminals (29 CFR 1910), the benchmark for safety in workplace practice is established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the standard NFPA 70E.

NFPA 70E defines work practices that protect workers from electrical hazards during the inspection, operation and maintenance of electrical equipment. NFPA 70E also specifies safe work practices for employees who may not be directly working on electrical equipment, but who are performing work that might expose them to electrical hazards.

An electrical safety gap analysis will walk your HSE professionals through complex regulatory standards-and most importantly-provide real-world safety applications and resources. Much like Edison’s first light bulb, successful safety programs must evolve, constantly be tinkered with, and be open to scrutiny.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://www.utilityproducts.com/articles/2015/10/build-a-better-safety-net-with-an-electrical-safety-gap-analysis.html

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Apr
11

How Apple is grooming the iPad to take over the Mac

How Apple is grooming the iPad to take over the Mac

The iPad Pro shows a maturation of the iPad lineup, moving it in a much more Mac-like direction.

As Apple’s first truly new tablet in years, the iPad Pro is every bit the beast it was rumored to be. Built around a gorgeous 12.9-inch screen, it doesn’t skimp on the pixels or the power. With its eye-popping 2732-by–2048 resolution and the cutting-edge A9X chip, the big iPad Pro drew a clear line in the sand between it and the Air. As Steve Jobs might have said, it was a screamer.

With the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, however, Apple has blurred those lines a bit. With the same screen size and resolution as its predecessor, the smaller iPad Pro might seem like an inevitable evolutionary step, an update that ticks off the usual boxes and offers basic incentives to upgrade over previous generations. But by elevating the classic form factor, Apple is grooming the iPad to one day replace the Mac, creating a diverse family with clear differences that belie the natural overlap between models.

Like a pro

In many ways, the iPad Pro is Apple’s first tablet with an identity all its own. A unique device that raises the post-PC bar, it establishes a new set of standards for what an iPad can do. Where the original iPad was criticized for being a giant iPhone, the Pro is much more than a refresh of the classic tablet; it’s Apple’s first touchscreen device truly imagined for professionals.

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It’s not a toy.

Before the Pro, the iPad was viewed mostly as a companion device, more than capable of performing a variety of tasks but still seen as needing to defer to the Mac for longer, labor-intensive projects. The Pro has removed much of that perception. While Apple has made it clear that it won’t be building a hybrid machine anytime soon, the new iPad Pro is an important step in the post-PC march, one that brings it closer to replacing the Mac as our most capable device.

Breaking the trend

Apple’s idea of pro has never had much to do with screen size. While there’s a general rule that larger screens equate with more powerful processors, Apple never assumed professional Mac users preferred them. Case in point: at the same time a monstrous 17-inch PowerBook was released in 2003, a diminutive 12-inch model also made its debut, and both were geared toward professionals on the move.

But the assumption that the 12.9-inch screen would be the main distinguisher between the Pro and the Air made sense in light of the iPad mini and the iPhone Plus. Apple’s iOS naming scheme has always been contingent on the size of the screen—Plus at 5.5 inches, mini at 7.9, Air at 9.7—and without any BTO options for processor or RAM, going Pro was primarily a decision to opt for more pixels.

One Pro, two sizes—but Apple’s keeping the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 in the lineup as well, at least for now.

But now there’s a smaller Pro, and for the first time there are two distinct models of the same iPad to choose from. If the the iPad Air 2 isn’t left to languish and die, the iPad line begins to look very much like the MacBook one, with numerous options in the middle to fit various needs. Where the 7.9- and 12.9-inch models will likely continue to bookend the iPad line and appeal to specific niches of buyers, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the breakout star, with models differentiated by performance and expansion rather than size.

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Expansion pack

When pitting the new iPad Pro against the iPad Air 2 (which is still on display at the Apple Store), there is a noticeable speed difference, not unlike the one you’ll encounter when switching from a MacBook Air to a MacBook Pro. Applications open faster, Split View is snappier, and the overall performance enhancement improves the whole experience.

Even without accessories, the iPad lets you do more. You would never shoot video with your Mac, for example, but the 9.7-inch iPad Pro can shoot in 4K, and then edit the video too.

But the beauty and the power of the PC has always been its expansion capabilities. As far back as the Macintosh 128K, Apple has cultivated a close-knit community of peripheral device makers, but the iPad’s add-ons have mostly been limited to cases and covers. Much like the MacBook Pro offers ports that the Air and the MacBook don’t, the Smart Connector and Apple Pencil are the main step-up features for professional Multi-Touchers, the first tablet accessories built to truly expand the capabilities of the iPad. The Smart Connector changes that by opening up the iPad to a world of expansion, and hopefully it won’t be long before hubs, docks and hard drives are available, further blurring the division between it and the Mac.

Closing the gap

With the iPad Pro, Apple finally has a post-PC device that can actually replace a PC. iOS still pales in comparison to OS X, but with the latest multitasking capabilities, that performance gulf is becoming less of an issue. And I think iOS 10 will only continue the shift away from the iPhone.

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The Pencil is a natural for artists, but also anyone who just thinks better using pencil and paper.

With the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, Apple has two tools that can give iPad users smarter, faster ways to navigate and multitask, spending less time tapping the screen and more time working. And apps, too, could use a boost. The most glaring omission is Xcode, which has always been tied to the Mac. Porting its integrated development environment to the iPad wouldn’t just give coders a break; it would pave the way for powerful desktop apps to make their way to iOS without sacrificing features or dumbing down the interface.

If the iPad mini was a concentration, the iPad Pro is a maturation. To fight flagging sales, Apple has doubled-down on the iPad, following the blueprint created by the Mac to build a diverse, versatile line of tablets able to handle anything you can throw at them. The post-PC revolution is far from over. But the Mac might be running out of weapons to fend it off.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://www.techconnect.com/article/3053477/ipad/how-apple-is-grooming-the-ipad-to-take-over-the-mac.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TechConnect%20Daily%202016-04-07&utm_term=techconnect_daily

 

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Apr
04

Schneider Electric Announces Lithium-ion Battery Options for Its 3-Phase UPS Solutions

Schneider Electric Announces Lithium-ion Battery Options for Its 3-Phase UPS Solutions

Technology improvements and lower cost accelerating adoption by the data center industry

Andover, Mass., March 3, 2016 – Today, Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation, announced that it will support the use of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries as an alternative to Valve Regulated Sealed Lead-Acid (VRLA) batteries for many of its three-phase
uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs).

Schneider Electric is helping customers address some of the key challenges they face with using

UPSs including:

  • Significantly reducing UPS footprint and weight to allow for a more effective use of space: Li-ion batteries pack a lot of energy into a much smaller footprint. As a result, they take up only about one-third the space (or less) of a comparable VRLA-based solution that delivers the same power. This helps customers increase the footprint available for IT equipment while also reducing cooling requirements, which saves both capital costs and ongoing operating costs.
  • Extending UPS battery life and reducing maintenance overhead: Lithium’s long design life greatly reduces the cost and maintenance burdens of performing battery replacements.

“While VRLAs remain the dominant UPS energy storage technology due to their low cost and high reliability, lithium-ion is becoming a more attractive option for a growing set of customers,” said Pedro Robredo, Vice President of Secure Power Systems, Schneider Electric. “While the initial cost remains higher than comparable VRLA, the price gap has reduced significantly in the last few years. Based on the application, Li-ion solutions can offer a projected Total Cost of Ownership savings from 10 percent to 40 percent over their design life.”

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial article and read more at: http://it-resource.schneider-electric.com/h/i/223066032-schneider-electric-in-the-news-march-2016

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