49 episodes

The POWER Podcast provides listeners with insight into the latest news and technology that is poised to affect the power industry. POWER’s Executive Editor Aaron Larson conducts interviews with leading industry experts and gets updates from insiders at power-related conferences and events held around the world.

The POWER Podcast POWER

    • Technology

The POWER Podcast provides listeners with insight into the latest news and technology that is poised to affect the power industry. POWER’s Executive Editor Aaron Larson conducts interviews with leading industry experts and gets updates from insiders at power-related conferences and events held around the world.

    Good Water Treatment Systems Need Both Equipment and Chemistry - U.S. Water

    Good Water Treatment Systems Need Both Equipment and Chemistry - U.S. Water

    Good Water Treatment Systems Need Both Equipment and Chemistry.
    Proper water treatment is vital to successful power plant operation. The water treatment system must be designed appropriately, implementing a suitable water chemistry program, and operated and monitored correctly. Having adequate training and utilizing the services of a knowledgeable partner can be invaluable.
    Three water industry experts from U.S. Water, a Kurita company, were recent guests on The POWER Podcast. Kevin Milici, vice president of Marketing and Technology; Nathan Bach, vice president of Engineering Services and Equipment, and Joe Tirreno, vice president of Strategic Corporate Accounts shared insight from their years of experience helping customers develop sound water treatment solutions.
    Bach noted that many older power plants are shifting from primary ion exchange, that is, cation-anion mixed beds, to membrane treatment systems for their demineralized water needs. Meanwhile, some that may have had older-generation membrane treatment systems, such as reverse osmosis (RO) and electrodeionization (EDI) systems, have been upgrading to include ultrafilters ahead of the RO to reduce fouling and extend membrane life or utilizing two-pass RO units to reduce the loading on EDIs.
    A lot of things must be studied when designing a water treatment system for a power plant. Bach said boiler operating pressure is one of the first considerations, but the raw water source is also very important. “A plant that operates on well water will have different challenges than one that operates on surface water or maybe even a plant that has multi-source—maybe they have a blend of surface and well water or multiple wells of different depths blending into a common feed point into the plant,” Bach said. “Knowing where the water comes from really helps us determine how we might need to treat it.”
    Tirreno said two of the most important items in a power plant are steam quality and condenser cleanliness. He noted that most plants spend significant amounts of money to monitor steam quality, but they don’t always do the same on the condenser side. He said monitoring equipment is available today that allows biofilm and corrosion to be more instantaneously scrutinized. “The steam side is important,” Tirreno said, “but don’t forget the condenser side as equally as important to ensuring efficiency of electricity generation.”
    “The takeaway is that we can’t just think of it in terms of chemistry or equipment, we have to think of the combination of those things,” Milici said. “Every situation can be unique. It’s a function of the customer’s assets, their design, the water qualities that they’re working with, the other challenges they might be confronted with, for example, water scarcity or the discharge of conventional phosphate-bearing treatments and having to minimize those and look for alternative chemistries. So, my takeaway would be that it’s not one or the other, it’s the ability to be able to look at both of those levers in looking at the total solution and put them together in the right proportions to deliver the best and most cost-effective result.”

    • 21 min
    Recruiting the New Power Workforce - Robin Schawe

    Recruiting the New Power Workforce - Robin Schawe

    Recruiting the New Power Workforce.
    It’s a time of great transition in the power industry. Not only are generation resources changing, but so are the work skills needed to operate and maintain those resources. Meanwhile, a large number of workers are reaching retirement age, leaving open positions that had long been filled by highly experienced staff. And the talent pool to fill those positions is not as large as many employers would like.
    Robin Schawe, vice president and global workforce solutions leader with Kelly Services, discussed some of the challenges as a guest on The POWER Podcast. She offered insight into some of the trends Kelly Services is seeing in the power industry.
    “Our research shows that up to 30% of the overall industry will be ready to retire within the next 10 years, with 10% being ready to retire now, 11% within the next one to five years, and 10% over the next six to 10 years,” she said. “While these retireants mount, the industry grows younger—22% of utility industry workers are below the age of 34. The concern becomes making sure there are no skills gaps, and we’re seeing a lot of effort in this space.”
    Schawe suggested transition planning and knowledge transfer is key. Still, filling technical positions can be particularly difficult.
    “The number of graduating engineers is on the decline and recruiting new workers with the right skillsets for those jobs is becoming more and more difficult each and every year,” Schawe said. However, leading companies are doing innovative things to attract the right people.
    “What we’re seeing is that power generation companies are starting to engage with those pools of talent very early in a new and exciting way,” she said. “One utility I know does outreach as early as middle school, educating children on what a utility does and the different types of careers available. I see high schools with some amazing apprenticeship programs. For example, my local high school has a four-year welding program. I also see a lot of power generation utility organizations making very strategic commitments and investments into hiring veterans. It’s an exceptional source of talent.”

    • 18 min
    Is Carbon Pricing the Key to a Clean Energy Future? - Rich Dewey

    Is Carbon Pricing the Key to a Clean Energy Future? - Rich Dewey

    Is Carbon Pricing the Key to a Clean Energy Future?
    The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) has proposed incorporating the social cost of carbon into the wholesale price of electricity.
    According to an October-released study conducted by the consulting firm Analysis Group, “A carbon price in NYISO’s competitive wholesale power markets can help deliver New York’s clean-energy transition in faster, cheaper, more reliable, more efficient, and more creative ways.”
    NYISO President and CEO Rich Dewey was a guest on The POWER Podcast. He seemed to agree that carbon pricing is the best way for New York to achieve its clean energy goals.
    “We just thought that unleashing the power of competitive markets is really the most cost-effective and the most efficient way to do that,” Dewey said. “So, we designed a mechanism by which New York state as the policy-setter could establish a social cost of carbon. We could embed that cost right into the offers that the generators put in for producing power, and using the competitive forces, we could reward those sources of power that are zero or low-emitters and at the same time institute a payment, if you will, for the emitters of carbon dioxide to essentially pay for the pollution that they’re putting into the air. And we thought that by using the competitive market forces and the optimization engine that we have in place that we could more-efficiently and more-effectively achieve those carbon reduction goals from the electric sector.”
    NYISO is the first ISO/RTO in the U.S. to propose a market-based mechanism for pricing energy-based carbon emissions. It would incorporate a carbon price in the NYISO-administered wholesale energy markets, in dollars per ton of CO2 emissions resulting from power plant operations. The carbon price would be based on the social cost of carbon emissions, which is to be established by the state.
    Power plant operators would include their expected cost of carbon in their NYISO market offer prices, in dollars per unit of electricity sold. While suppliers of power with zero or low CO2 emissions would benefit from higher net revenues, fossil generators’ payments would reflect a deduction for the carbon charges related to their emissions.
    Retail electricity suppliers (known as “Load Serving Entities” in the NYISO market) would be charged the locational price for power they need for their consumers, with that price reflecting carbon-related costs. They would also receive a credit to substantially offset the impact of carbon pricing, because consumers would see a portion of the carbon charges collected from generators returned to them.
    The carbon charge would provide incentives to suppliers of power with low or no carbon emissions, including innovative low-carbon technologies that may not yet be developed or are unable to be commercial in wholesale markets that do not include carbon pricing. Imports of power into New York would include a carbon price to discourage leakage of CO2 emissions from neighboring regions.
    “We’re sensing that even some of the participants who were skeptical or opposed to it are now recognizing it is the most cost-effective way to achieve these goals,” Dewey said. The Analysis Group found that carbon pricing could save up to $850 million while achieving New York’s aggressive climate targets.

    • 26 min
    Experts Share Insight on the Industry at Recent Power Event

    Experts Share Insight on the Industry at Recent Power Event

    Experts Share Insight on the Industry at Recent Power Event.
    POWER was at the POWERGEN International exhibition and summit, which was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, Nov. 19–21, 2019. Among the experts we met with at the show were Paul Browning, CEO of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas (MHPSA); Chris Mieckowski, director of global solutions marketing and strategy with Siemens; Robert Yeager, president of Emerson’s Power and Water Solutions business; Britt Burt, vice president of power industry research at Industrial Info Resources (IIR); and Eduardo Almeida, director of innovation with Industrial Specialists By BrandSafway.
    Here snippets from the interviews on The POWER Podcast. Topics covered include the latest developments in gas turbine and digital technology, energy storage and wind power growth, and innovative power industry solutions.

    • 20 min
    Using Extreme Visibility to Protect Industrial Control Systems - Dave Weinstein

    Using Extreme Visibility to Protect Industrial Control Systems - Dave Weinstein

    Using Extreme Visibility to Protect Industrial Control Systems.
    What does it mean to have “extreme visibility” in an operational technology (OT) environment? According to Claroty, a New York-based company that offers cybersecurity products for industrial control systems, it’s having the ability to see all assets on a network, knowing what they are, and understanding what functions they perform. The company says the more organizations know about their OT network assets, the better equipped they will be to detect and investigate suspicious behavior.
    “In order to really understand how to protect these networks, you really have to have your finger on the pulse of the threat landscape,” Dave Weinstein, Chief Security Officer with Claroty, said as a guest on The POWER Podcast.
    “With respect to industrial control systems, nation-state actors continue to monopolize, if you will, the threat landscape. That is to say that the barriers to entry are sufficiently high enough at this point to prevent your average script kiddie or high school hacker from doing serious damage to, for example, the electrical grid,” Weinstein said. “But our observation is that those barriers to entry that I referred to are slowly but surely falling to the point where in the next couple of years we may start to see non-state actors penetrate this threat landscape, which of course is a troubling scenario because it’s much more difficult if not impossible to deter non-state actors.”
    Weinstein said one of the main factors contributing to increased cyber risk is that OT networks, which have historically been isolated from the internet, are increasingly connected by way of corporate IT networks.
    “Our assessment is that it’s only going to grow more connected with time, which compels organizations to think really proactively about how to deal with this phenomenon,” Weinstein said. “Quite frankly, the first step is gaining really deep visibility of the assets on the OT side of the house. What once was a trusted network can no longer be trusted,” he said.
    Most of the traffic on OT networks involves machine-to-machine communications. That can actually be beneficial when it comes to threat detection. “When you’re dealing with industrial control systems, they are communicating in highly predictable ways. It’s repeatable. There are lots of patterns. Deviations from those patterns are typically indicative of either a malicious threat or some sort of operational anomaly,” Weinstein said.
    “We perform something called deep-packet inspection on all the network’s communications. And by doing that, we’re able to—at a very granular level—understand the communications between all these devices and parse their protocols,” said Weinstein. The result is that end-users get the information needed to better understand security and operational events, so they can perform actions to mitigate risks.

    • 16 min
    Using Data to Improve Power Plant Operations - David Thomason

    Using Data to Improve Power Plant Operations - David Thomason

    Using Data to Improve Power Plant Operations.
    Power plants have an abundance of data. Temperatures, pressures, flows, and various other parameters are all monitored constantly to ensure plants are operating properly. However, a lot of data is not used to its fullest extent. With the right tools, data can be more-thoroughly analyzed and findings can be acted upon to improve efficiency and catch asset deterioration before equipment fails.
    David Thomason, industry principal of Global Power Generation with OSIsoft, was a guest on The POWER Podcast. OSIsoft offers several solutions for the power industry that help utilities ensure reliable and stable system operation.
    “What we’ve seen is kind of an evolution of what we’re calling layered analytics,” Thomason said. “You really want to be able to monitor the health of your assets in real time. So, it’s kind of a movement from periodic conditioned assessments around equipment and assets, and move to a more online condition monitoring.”
    Thomason mentioned an innovative solution that has been implemented at the Itaipu dam in Brazil. The facility is using a real-time data system to scrutinize the structural integrity of the dam. He said there are “key blocks within the hydroelectric facility” that were instrumented with sensors that can detect movement. The system allows operators to monitor the health of the entire structure. “It’s such a cool use case that I really wish I could see this expanded across multiple places, of course, multiple hydro dams, but also even things like tunnels and bridges,” he said.
    In another example, Thomason said several power companies around the world are incorporating parameters such as depth and density of snowfall into water inventory calculations to allow better day-to-day decisions and optimize hydro resources. “This is that whole concept around using data and information in ways people really weren’t planning to use in the past, but being able to have it available to help them to make those types of decisions,” said Thomason.

    • 15 min

Top Podcasts In Technology

Listeners Also Subscribed To