Why Grid-Tied Solar Power Systems Are Recommended Over Other Solar Systems?

by the 3 Phase Associates "TEAM"
Renewable energy and distributed energy resources (DERs) continue to flood the electric utility grid providing cleaner and more sustainable energy. As the traditional power grid evolves into a smarter electric grid, environmental regulations push for more cleaner renewable energy sources. Solar PV electric power systems are leading the path in this effort with improvements in technologies, efficiencies, and cost reductions. The grid-tied solar systems are gaining popularity and becoming more favored over other solar electric systems. 
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Major Components for Improving Power Distribution Reliability

by the 3 Phase Associates "TEAM"
Electric power has evolved from a simple need to a major necessity. Everyday we rely more and more on electricity to do just about everything. When the lights go out, its not just a major inconvenience, but a catastrophe in some cases. A major focus for power distribution utilities is to deliver reliable power to its customers safely and at the lowest possible cost.
Newer state-of-the-art, digital devices are making it possible to achieve near perfect power reliability while offering more monitoring and control functionality of electric grids. Smarter grids are evolving with improved and faster automation systems, working in harmony with: IEDs, SCADA, FLISR, AMI, AMR, DMS, EMS, OMS, etc.
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Modernized Power Grid

Basics of Designing Power Substations

by Matt Cole
Power substations are the most integral part of a power utilities' electric system. Substations make up the various electric systems - power generation, transmission, and distribution systems. Power substations consist of power transformers, voltage/potential transformers, current transformers, electrical bus, foundations/structures, circuit breakers, switches, outdoor cabinets, control house, fencing, etc.
Many design aspects and processes go into engineering and designing a power substation from the ground up. This discusses the basic steps performed in planning and implementing a new substation.
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Power Delivery Substations
Substation Configuration Scheme

Is Your Legacy SCADA System Secure?

by Matt Cole
For the electric power industry and other service sectors, Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition (SCADA) has performed a crucial role by allowing better decision making through operating, controlling, monitoring and maintaining critical control systems.
With Smart Grid (SG) and Distributed Generation (DG) gaining more popularity results in more 3rd party stakeholders demanding access to utilities' SCADA system. Some utility SCADA systems are older legacy systems that are in dire need of replacing in order to have:  a more secure system, access to the latest vendor security patch updates, and to allow for better functionality, etc.
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Testing & Commissioning

Importance of an Adequate Substation Ground Grid Design?

by the 3 Phase Associates "TEAM"
Designing substation ground mats is an important step in designing power substations. A proper grounding system is essential for human safety, especially during faulted conditions. For lower voltage panels and equipment, the NEC recommends maintaining a ground resistance of 25-ohms or less per NEC 250. With substations, the recommended ground grid resistance should be 5-ohms or less due to much higher voltages and increases in fault current, depending on substation size and voltage levels.
The main goal for a grounding system is to ensure that the path of least resistance for electrical current is not through personnel or equipment. A well-designed substation ground grid can uphold human safety for authorized personnel working in or around substations during faulted conditions. It is recommended to extend the substation ground grid outside the substation fencing for adequate protection.
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Some Strong Utility Trends for 2019 and Beyond

by Matt Cole
Major trends are happening within the electric power industry that are affecting the electric power grid. There are changes taking place with many power utilities and their stance on the typical power generation mix.
Many electric providers are making changes to their power portfolio by decreasing their demand on fossil power and nuclear generation; moving towards cleaner and greener power sources with renewable resources, such as: natural gas, wind, solar and energy storage. As the efficiencies increase and installation costs decline for these renewables; this makes these generation assets much more attractive for future utility investments.
Some of these major utility trends will continue to evolve in 2019 and beyond.
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Distribution Utilities Now Affected by NERC CIP Regulations

by Matt Cole
As NERC CIP's regulations and standards continue to evolve with the recent approval of CIP-003-7, new compliance regulations will affect the low voltage distribution providers. Previous CIP standards were considered only for voltage suppliers delivering power at transmission level voltages (100kV and above).
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The Importance of Protection & Controls (P&C) and IEDs

by Matt Cole
Protection and Controls (P&C) engineering and design is extremely important in power grid protection and coordination especially with the use of intelligent electronic devices (IEDs). Proper P&C designs and coordination with protective relaying and IEDs is an essential part of electrical power engineering for protecting large expensive power equipment such as: generators, transformers, transmission lines (TLs), power circuit breakers, electrical bus, etc.
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T&D Services
Power Delivery Substations

The Importance of Construction Permit Inspections

by Matt Cole
The permit and inspection process is essential to ensure that codes, regulations, and safety are enforced to help prevent faulty or poor installations that could jeopardize human life. In most cases, engineering blueprint drawings are required to be submitted along with the permit request which must be sealed by a registered professional engineer (PE). Other permits with sealed drawing plans are required for each discipline, such as, architectural, civil, electrical, fire protection, mechanical, plumbing, structural, etc.
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Electric Power Delivery

3D CAD Modeling and Substation Design

by the 3 Phase Design Team
3D CAD Modeling and 3D CAD Design enhances the design characteristics in many ways while providing several benefits. Design efficiencies are improved where traditional 2D drawing representations can be easily achieved from a completed 3D design versus manually drawing each 2D representation in CAD. Being able to view equipment, components, and systems in three dimensional space allows almost endless possibilities towards planning, implementation, construction, and manufacturing efforts, which is extremely important in the electric power industry. 3D CAD Design and Modeling is improving and aiding with power substation designs compared with 2D designs ....
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Substation Yard View Elevated
Substation 3D Yard View

The Importance of Arc Flash Analysis

by Matt Cole
Arc Flash Analysis is extremely important in power systems and electric facilities (including any other facility that is comprised of major electrical components) especially for upholding the safety and well-being, including protecting electrical workers from electrical arc bursts and hazardous conditions. OSHA, NFPA, NEC, and others require arc flash studies to be performed with arc flash warning labels to be placed on the exterior of electrical equipment, cabinets, and panels indicating the proper PPE required for ensuring the safety of employees, contractors, and vendors. There are several software packages available that can aid the power professional in performing an arc flash analysis. 
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Arc Flash
Arc Blast Explosion

Major Advances with Motor Control Centers (MCCs)

by Matt Cole
MCCs are most widely used in the utilities, manufacturing, industrial, and large commercial industries that operate machinery and motors. MCCs offer enormous flexibility across differing industries and are suitable for many applications, such as: utilities, communications, oil, gas, chemical, pulp, paper, water, waste, mining, metals, industrial production, and mass-production manufacturing. MCCs are used to house various power distribution equipment and controls such as: main distribution panels (MDPs), main circuit breakers (MCBs), protective relaying, transformers, load centers, panelboards, etc. 
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The Best CAD Drafting and Design Practices

by the 3 Phase Associates, "CAD Design Team"
Its always important to utilize best design and CAD drafting practices when involved in creating design drawings for various industries, such as: utilities, industrial, commercial, residential, and others. Performing CAD designs for drawings in separate disciplines can be modified or created with different software package suites, like: AutoCAD, Revit, MicroStation, SolidWorks, Visio, etc. These electronic CAD tools help make the CAD designers' job easier and still requires self-checking and reviews from the CAD operator for ensuring the highest quality and accuracy.
These drafting and design practice tips explained here can help improve your CAD drawings' clarity and accuracy, including saving you time and efforts in preventing rework and redraws.
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A Basic Explanation Summary of How the Electric Power Grid Works

by Matt Cole
Many wonder exactly how the electric power grid works from generation to transmission to distribution and to the end users. There is more to electricity than simply turning on a light switch. Electric power has given us many conveniences and has improved our quality of life forever more, sometimes more than we can imagine. This provides a basic explanation of the electric power grid.
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Cybersecurity Considerations for Power Substation SCADA Systems Using IEC-61850 Communications

by Matt Cole & Others
When including security controls into a SCADA system design, it is sometimes difficult to separate design
goals from security requirements. The foremost goal for a SCADA system is to provide protection,
automation, and data acquisition. This paper discusses major
vulnerabilities and cybersecurity considerations that require proper analysis when designing and
implementing a secure IEC-61850 standard-based SCADA system within a power substation. 
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Recommended Solutions to Major Security Challenges Facing OT & IT Personnel within Smart Substation Environments

by Matt Cole & Others
The OT and IT convergence are a reality due to the integrated and complex computing networking and communications taking place within OT
environments. This paper reviews some of the major security challenges facing OT and IT convergence with power utilities, particularly within smart grid (SG) and smart substation environments. 
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Cyber Awareness