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Ben Kellison: Grid Researcher

“In the past, analytics work was done by a few professionals crunching data using software from an analytics vendor to build reports over days or weeks about customer, infrastructure, or business processes."

Ben Kellison has found in the past three years that analytics is no longer a term used to describe a separate group unit within the utility.

“In the past, analytics work was done by a few professionals crunching data using software from an analytics vendor to build reports over days or weeks about customer, infrastructure, or business processes,” Kellison said. “Today, analytics is becoming an integral part of the operation of every business silo within the utility. Analytics and big data software is no longer used by just a select few.”

Kellison, director of grid research for GTM Research, will be moderating three panel sessions at Greentech Media’s Soft Grid 2014 on Sept. 10-11 in Menlo Park, California, Soft Grid Executive Forum: Applications in Practice and Resource Planning in the Age of the Soft Grid: Targeted Investment in EE and DERs; and Grid Infrastructure Analytics: Advancing Utility Operations and Reliability.

Although the foundations of the grid were built on advanced hardware, it is software that provides the tools for industry advancement, maturation and product differentiation. The amount of data being generated on both sides of the meter is staggering and solutions are being put in place to analyze that data and take meaningful action. Now in its third year, The Soft Grid: Data, Analytics and Software-Defined Utility provides a two-day forum to understand the software layers of grid modernization and how consumer evolution trends will shape the electric utility industry in the years to come.

The utility executive forum will feature executives from four progressive utilities on their view of the soft grid and the increasing importance that data and analytics will play in their businesses going forward. This session will cover data and analytics use cases and applications on both sides of the meter as well as strategic thoughts relating to planning for intelligent grid infrastructure and increased customer engagement in the future.

Resource Planning in the Age of the Soft Grid will focus on emerging efforts and technology to integrate DERs into integrated resource plans. It will encompass a discussion on efforts, like REV in New York State, to redefine utility planning to target energy efficiency and distributed energy resources to particular areas of the grid based on capacity constraints, the need for power quality improvement, and carrying capacity for distributed generation.

The other session Kellison will moderate on grid infrastructure analytics will look at sensors and applications that continue to be deployed at utilities around the world to better understand the flow and quality of power traveling through the distribution grid. Stronger more integrated data storage and processing platforms inside the control center and out in the field are providing new insights and more efficient solutions to traditional utility problems. Cost-effectively integrating enterprise solutions and networking and translating data still remains difficult, however results from early adopters and new architectures are providing compelling results. This panel will focus on new architectures, applications and processes applied to utility operations that are creating value through improved reliability, grid efficiency, operational efficiency, and investment planning.

“Analytics and big data software are being used throughout the industry, from executives checking on operational performance to customer service reps querying a customer’s interactions with the organization to a vendor using remote monitoring data to identify equipment performance trends,” Kellison said. “An analytics layer is the driving force behind information-driven decision-making throughout the utility.”

Kellison’s experience has given him and his team a uniquely wide view into the activities within the market from the vendor, utility, and regulatory perspective. “This perspective is important as it enables a holistic and grounded view of what is changing to shape the future of the utility industry,” he said.

Kellison has always been fascinated by a wide range of topics surrounding public policy, technology, and business. These varying interests led him toward a career as a consultant or analyst.

“I began to zero in on the energy industry while working on Capitol Hill in 2008 and 2009. Early meetings discussing smart grid technologies piqued my interest in energy and utilities, pushing me to over time, look deeper and deeper into the complexities in the industry, until I decided I wanted to analyze the market full-time,” Kellison said.

Now he specializes in distribution automation, network management and renewables integration markets. He previously worked as a research analyst for Knwldg Houston, formerly a green energy and healthcare consulting firm, where his research focused on AMI deployment and smart grid regulatory policy. Prior to Knwldg Houston, Kellison was a policy intern with Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates where he performed research for energy, transportation, and defense clients.

At GTM Research, he typically concentrates on regulatory change, distribution automation, power electronics, and asset health technologies. His next report will be focused on examining the market for and regulation behind alternative volt/VAR control schemes such as conservation voltage reduction and renewables integration schemes.

Kellison has a unique perspective on the industry from all of his research, conversations and projects, and he enjoys having that ability to help shape various vendors’, utilities’ and integrators’ perceptions of the industry and their understand their place in it.

He even spends some of his free time trying to stay current with industry news, exploring energy market structures, or examining technology advancements. “When I am able to pry myself away from my computer or phone, I enjoy experimental cooking, running, traveling and playing basketball,” he said.


Greentech Media’s Soft Grid: Data, Analytics and the Software-Defined Utility

September 10-11, 2014

SRI International Headquarters in Menlo Park, CA

Learn more: http://www.greentechmedia.com/events/live/the-soft-grid-2014

Register today: http://www.cvent.com/d/q4qd0t/4W

Use discount code TDWORLD10 for a 10% discount off of your ticket price!

Join Greentech Media and industry leaders as we explore how to effectively manage, analyze and take action on the data generated by grid networks and intelligent, energy efficient endpoints to enable an energy system of the future.  Now in its third year, The Soft Grid: Data, Analytics and Software-Defined Utility provides a two-day forum to understand the software layers of the grid modernization and how consumer evolution trends will shape the electric utility industry in the years to come. Claim your spot and register today before seats fill up!


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