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Sam Sciacca is an active senior member in the IEEE and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the area of utility automation.He has more than 25 years of experience in the domestic and international electrical utility industries.

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If areas of uncertainty remain, where existing standards don’t apply to the situation, having a face-to-face meeting with the utility’s engineering staff is a must so that the areas in question can be worked out in a manner satisfactory for both sides.

The key is to understand the utility’s requirements and the client’s needs and future plans and ensure that both parties are well-informed and communicating in the early design stages for a successful project, while eliminating uncertainties.

At higher, transmission-level voltages, the utility may require specific protective relay equipment, again, down to the specific vendor make and model.

Of course, the utility also has safety concerns for its field crews when bi-directional power flows are integrated with the grid.

A consulting specifying engineer with a large commercial/industrial client that is planning to inject power into the grid must address aspects of that client’s substation design to accommodate the bi-directional flow of power.

The power source could be traditional such as thermally generated power or it could be renewable sources such as wind turbines and/or solar photovoltaics–the same issues apply.So if you’re engaged by a client planning for or even just contemplating the future use of bi-directional power flows, be aware that a different set of rules apply.Engage with the affected utility at the earliest possible stage.Sciacca serves as the chair of two IEEE working groups that focus on cyber security for electric utilities: the Substations Working Group C1 (P1686) and the Power System Relay Committee Working Group H13 (PC37.240). After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations: It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think.After the demise of Mod-VP, American and Canadian interests progressively shifted to mano a mano lake boat drag races.

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