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The Energy Exchange: An EnerNex Podcast
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The Energy Exchange: An EnerNex Podcast

Author: EnerNex

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Welcome to The Energy Exchange podcast hosted by EnerNex. Concise and Actionable Intelligence for Today’s Most Relevant Grid Modernization Topics.
22 Episodes
Host Ron Chebra talks with New Jersey Commissioner Bob Gordon on electric vehicles (EV’s) and the mandates and initiatives underway in the state and across the country to accelerate the adoption of these. The conversation also dives into the electric utility infrastructure requirements to support charging and specific incentives to help integrate this as a key element of an Energy Master Plan.
EnerNex was recently engaged by DSTAR, a consortium of North American utilities, to develop and deliver a comprehensive study on 5G digital cellular service and its potential impact on utility operations. Listen in as we discuss how utilities and members of the telecommunications industries are working together to leverage the power of 5G technology. Host: Ron Chebra, Vice President of Grid Modernization, EnerNex Episode guests: Paul Jakubczak, Director of Electric and Gas, Fort Pierce Utilities, DSTAR project technical lead representative Bill Jabour, Senior Product Marketing Manager, GE Energy Consulting (GE Gas Power) For access to the report or to learn more, please visit
If you are in any way connected to the electric utility industry, you have probably heard the term “Grid Modernization.” Although this term is used quite often, there are various views regarding its preferred definition and implementation approach. In this episode, EnerNex host Neil Placer talks with Autumn Proudlove of the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center. Autumn is the lead author of the 50 States of Grid Modernization report. This publication provides national insights on a quarterly basis to help keep all of us up to speed on this fast moving and growing topic. Tune in to hear more about the past, present, and future direction of Grid Modernization. Hear how different jurisdictions are implementing Grid Modernization planning and how internal and external stakeholders are grappling with the intersection between technology, people, and financial concerns.
The energy industry is a critical infrastructure that is core to our business operations, safety and comfort and general well-being. With the growing use of technology at the edge of the grid and the widespread use of communications networks to transport data used for situational awareness and near-real-time operational control, these innovations bring both opportunities for greater detailed information, but also potentially exposes the enterprise to greater threat surfaces. While many of the current standards within our industry focus on physical security measures, standards such as ISO 27001 go well beyond implementing technical safeguard measures. It provides a framework for policy and protection to achieve business objectives for information security, establishes policies on control and expectations, allocates resources to enforce this, and regularly reviews the efficacy of the plans. This has become even more acute as utilities are now faced with a “brave new world” with remote workers. How does this now impact how we will operate in the future and what will be our new standard of operation? Tune in as host Ron Chebra interviews Brian Smith, cybersecurity expert with EnerNex, and John Verry, CISO of Pivot Point Security, on cyber protection, remote access and information assurance.
As our grid adapts to the rapidly changing customer environment, Portland General Electric (PGE) has taken a bold step and launched its Smart Grid Test Bed, a first-of-its-kind-project that will integrate smart grid technology on a scale never before attempted in the United States. The project aims to accelerate PGE’s vision for a clean energy future through partnering with customers in entirely new ways to decarbonize the grid. Ananth Sundaram, Chief Architect/Principal Manager of Integrated Grid with PGE, is leading this effort and is focused on key areas, such as customer Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Transportation Electrification. Ananth discusses all this with EnerNex host Ron Chebra from the show floor at DistribuTECH 2020 in San Antonio.
Smart home technology is one of the fastest growing industries, thanks in part to devices and services such as Nest, Ecobee, Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple. Research from Parks Associates from its Q4 2019 survey of 10,000 broadband households found that over 41% of US broadband households now own a smart home device, a 20% growth rate from one year ago. With all this connectivity in the home and enablement to better monitor, manage and control appliances, lighting and security that it brings to the consumer, what role does all of this ability bring to the grid? Utilities are forging ahead with bold efforts targeted at grid modernization, much of which focuses on greater situational awareness and action. In the connected home, consumers are also focusing not only on awareness, but conditional actions based on comfort, convenience and logical actions. Are we at the nexus of both of these innovations, can the grid benefit and support the smart home and vice versa? Denise Ernst, Vice President of Parks Associates, discussed all this with EnerNex host Ron Chebra live from DistribuTECH 2020 in San Antonio.
EnerNex host Steve Rupp interviews Girish Balachandran, CEO, Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) to discuss the evolution of California's electric utility business models. Silicon Valley Clean Energy is one of the most successful new utility business models to emerge under California’s initiative to decarbonize, decentralize and digitize the utility sector. Serving more than 270,000 customers in 13 San Francisco Bay Area communities, SVCE is proving that the CCA model works and works well. With a growing customer base, competitive retail electric rates, and increasing financial reserves, SVCE is by all measures a success. But like all energy service providers in California, an uncertain regulatory, environmental and political landscape requires CCA leadership to address a wide range of challenges and opportunities including energy storage, distributed generation, grid resiliency, cybersecurity, procuring renewable energy supplies and managing the evolving role of distribution system operators. Silicon Valley Clean Energy, under the leadership of public power veteran Girish Balachandran, is a leader in innovative customer energy programs, electrification and decarbonization. He joins The Energy Exchange to share his views on why CCA’s are succeeding and how they plan to thrive in a future filled with challenges and uncertainty.
Cybersecurity is at the front of mind for many utility operators, IT specialists, and has risen to the level of importance for many utilities that actually have a Chief Information Security Officer. While there is a growing need to have access to more field assets in the grid, the result is that we now expose more potential threat vectors. Secure devices, secure communication links and secure systems are many of the typical tools that utilities employ to thwart the potential for intrusion. There is a significant difference between IT Security and OT security. On this episode, we hear from Andrew Ginter, VP of Industrial Security with Waterfall Security. The author of two books, SCADA Security: What's Broken and How To Fix It (the red book) and Secure Operations Technology (the black book) and is the host of The Industrial Security Podcast series. To download the brief on this topic, visit:
EnerNex Senior Consultant Sean Morash brings on special guests Rob Gramlich with Grid Strategies and Ryan Hruska with Idaho National Laboratory to talk resiliency in the electric power sector. This topic has been widely discussed for many years, seemingly coming to a head in 2018 as Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry questioned whether a shift was necessary in evaluating our resource generation mix in the light of resilience and national security. Utilities and other entities are considering how to plan and include resiliency amid their operations, planning, and general business processes. In this episode, we hear from Rob and Ryan on why resiliency is important, how we plan for it and a forward-looking perspective on what’s next for the electric sector, as well as other critical infrastructure sectors. To download the 2-page brief on this topic, visit:
On this first episode of The Energy Exchange Season 2, EnerNex Vice President Ron Chebra interviews Joy Ditto, President and CEO of the Utilities Technology Council (UTC), to discuss the importance and dependence the energy industry has on reliable, scalable and secure telecommunications for virtually every operational aspect of a utility. With the transitions taking place and a rapidly changing landscape of options, how is a utility able to do both short-term decision-making and deal with mitigation of operations previously dependent on legacy services, while still maintaining the highest level of availability and cyber protection? How does the telecom service roadmap, driven by consumer demand for higher bandwidth services and more streaming services, impact the plans that utilities must rely on for day-to-day operations? In addition, Joy shares the actions UTC is taking to raise the industry concerns regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s plans to change the rules for a critical spectrum band utilities and other critical-infrastructure industries use for mission-critical communications. As Joy describes, this plan, if approved as proposed, will negatively impact critical operations for electric, gas and water utilities.
As we conclude Season 1 of The Energy Exchange, host Ron Chebra gives listeners an overview of what's been covered featuring clips from our guests and adding commentary on some of the most interesting topics in the electric power industry: big data analytics, enterprise architecture, pre-pay, standards and more. Listen in to the highlight reel and get a preview of what's to come in Season 2. 
Wi-SUN Alliance: A global ecosystem of member companies seeking to accelerate the implementation of open standards-based Field Area Networks (FAN) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Host and EnerNex Vice President Ron Chebra talks with Phil Beecher, President and CEO of Wi-Sun Alliance, on interoperability, security, the process of testing and certification, and how the Alliance has created an ecosystem of capable devices as the most widely deployed IoT network technology in the world. With more than 91 million Wi-SUN capable devices awarded globally, Beecher comments on its growing success as service providers and city developers deploy new IoT applications and services for smart cities and utilities.
This episode of The Energy Exchange is focused on data connectivity between applications and the information it generates that goes beyond Big Data and Smart Algorithms, as well as how IT plays a key role in using the information received from connected systems. Anyone who has purchased an item, or even just simply looked at certain items online, has experienced the magic of related suggestions for purchase that are pushed to us by various search engines. This type of customer predictive behavior is only one example of how and what we do is noted, recorded, analyzed and acted upon. In looking at what the electric utility business is doing with the vast amount of available data, it is often hard to envision how this can be transformed into meaningful and actionable tactics. To help us better understand the potential of mining data, host Ron Chebra gains insight from Jerry Sullivan.
OpenADR is an open, highly secure, and two-way information exchange protocol and global Smart Grid standard supporting grid modernization efforts around the world. Host Ron Chebra of EnerNex gains insight from Rolf Bienert, Managing and Technical Director of the OpenADR Alliance, on the history of the OpenADR standard– how it started in California but has now come into the global market to enable utilities and aggregators to cost-effectively manage growing energy demand and decentralized energy production, and customers to control their energy future. Rolf gives an update on the adoption for OpenADR 2.0 and other initiatives the Alliance is exploring.
 While at DistribuTECH 2019, Host Ron Chebra had the opportunity to interview Rick Bush, T&D World and Mark Johnson, Utility Analytics Institute and talk about the next generation of engineers in our industry - how to make an environment where they want to work and play. Plus, they chat about how to ensure we don't create a swamp out of the data we're collecting. All that and more in this episode.  
Live from the DistribuTECH 2019 show floor: EnerNex host Ron Chebra interviews Teresa Hansen, Vice President of Content at Clarion Events and Chair of the DistribuTECH advisory committee. What's her take on the buzzwords and hot topics from this year's show and what are the goals for DTECH 2020.  
Take a listen as EnerNex Vice President of Grid Modernization Ron Chebra along with special guest Mark Everette, CEO of MWE Consulting, explore the nuances and challenges of building a solid and defensible Cost Benefit Analysis for grid modernization investments. Given the track record of a number of programs, regulators and others are asking for more concrete evidence of investment efficacy. As a result, many utilities now need to offset program costs with even more tangible, identifiable and measurable benefits. 
As the utility industry looks to gain more information at the edge of the distribution network, the need to capture, analyze and act upon sensor data presents a unique opportunity to leverage assets and infrastructures that may already be in place. This is the vision that an AMI system seeks to achieve. While many utilities have deployed this technology, we are now beginning to see leading companies execute on this goal. EnerNex host Ron Chebra interviews Glenn Pritchard, Manager of Advanced Grid Operations & Technology at PECO, about his experiences with bringing convergence of information over the AMI communications infrastructure.
Today utilities have the potential to harvest a wealth of information to help them better understand, analyze and control the grid. We’re at the beginning of experiencing the explosive area of Grid of Things, where devices not only perform their fit for purpose design, but are a critical part of a holistic mesh of interconnectedness to more effectively deliver safe and reliable electric service. The plethora of data that is being captured not only needs to be structured, organized, and accessed but also to be analyzed to truly extract greater value. The challenge now is not how to gather data, but rather what to do with all of it. Join host and EnerNex Vice President Ron Chebra in this episode of The Energy Exchange as he explores this topic with special guest Raiford Smith, Vice President of Energy Technology and Analytics at Entergy.
This episode explores the challenges and needs utilities have in developing a good foundational solutions architecture that is flexible and extensible enough to support many of their grid modernization programs. Many leading utilities have developed and implemented an established process and methodology to help ensure their investments are done in a holistic and orchestrated manner. For insight on real-life experiences, VP Ron Chebra of EnerNex interviews special guests: Jerry Casarella, Enterprise Architect at PSE&G and Kay Stefferud, Director of Implementation Services at EnerNex.
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