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Build on the Past to Meet the Future of Power Delivery

Dec. 19, 2018
Looking back from when I started in 1971 to today, here is what jumps out at me.

I evidently checked a box when I first signed up for LinkedIn because each year I receive lots of congratulations and encouraging comments on my work anniversary. Let me share a few.

  • Jeff Fleeman, AEP — “I appreciate all that you do to spread knowledge and enthusiasm for our great industry.”
  • Steve Mauser, formerly PTI — “Aren’t you glad you didn’t come to work for us? You’ve had a major impact on the industry where you are.”
  • Robert Chapman, USA South Texas — “Congrats on your work anniversary! You do a great job for the industry.”
  • Billy Raley, formerly Georgia Power — “Dude, I can’t believe it has been that long. Hope you and the family are well.”
  • Dan Ward, retired from Dominion — “Congrats on your work anniversary! I always enjoy your enthusiasm and humor.”
  • Lew Grant, Structures Consultant — “Under your leadership, T&D really captures the stories behind the tremendous challenges our people overcome on each project.”

One of my buddies took it a bit further and challenged me with an assignment. Don McDonnell with the McDonnell Group posted this: “LinkedIn told me you’ve been at T&D World for 24 years. I think for one of your next editorials you should reflect on then vs. now.”

So thanks Don for the idea behind this editorial. So looking back from when I started in 1971 to today, here is what jumps out at me:

Past: 7% load growth.
Now: 0% to 2% load growth.

Past: Economy of scale was king.
Now: Distributed energy resources are king.

Past: A power company job was a job for life.
Now: The power industry is a career for life.

Past: An engineering degree and you were set.
Now: An engineering degree gets you in the door.

Past: Number one rule: Don’t screw up.
Now: Earn your keep and leave your mark.

A question Don didn’t ask is “Where do we go from here?” My answer is “We build on the past to meet the future.” Today we have a stable, well-designed, robust, built-to-last delivery system. So what do we need going forward? A dynamic, flexible, resilient two-way grid.

Where Do We Go From Here?

With our intelligent grid:

  • Transactions will to occur from one prosumer to another.
  • We will balance distributed generation, load and storage dynamically
  • We will need to rely on hydro and gas to as the ultimate back up to intermittent resources

At T&D World, we will continue to cover the critical work of designing, engineering, building, maintaining and operating the power grid. That is a given. We need a robust grid. And in addition we are committing right now to share the insights and resources to enable us to build-out grid enhancements to meet rapidly evolving needs.

I am thrilled to introduce Mark Johnson as our new Managing Director of Energy here at T&D World. Mark is an electrical engineer from New Mexico State and previously worked at an engineering consulting firm before co-launching Energy Central. Mark comes from a family who makes their living in electric energy. Mark is ready to put the pedal down and grow our coverage in the electric utility space. This is really exciting to have a business guy at the top that gets it. He loves what he sees at T&D World and is looking for opportunities to make a bigger difference.

We are committing to expanding our print coverage to share the significant steps utilities are taking to meet a more distributed future. And more is coming. You will hear more as we roll out a comprehensive media strategy in the months ahead that will outline similar enhancements to our on-line coverage.

To give you a taste of what we are up to, our editor Jim Dukart is right now visiting with Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service and will share what these utilities are doing to meet an increasingly electric transportation future. What else will we cover? We will let emerging technologies be our guide but look to see us expand our coverage in:

  • Connecting renewables to the grid
  • Integrating grid-scale wind, solar and storage
  • Covering Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems
  • Customer-side solutions
  • The convergence of IT and OT
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Our energy world in 10 years will look nothing like it looks today. We have the best opportunity to shape our industry of any time in my 47 years in the business. Let’s link together and build the grid that will address the challenges coming our way and that will stand the test of time.

About the Author

Rick Bush | Editorial Director

Richard A. Bush is the editorial director of Transmission & Distribution World. Prior to joining T&D World as editor-in-chief in 1994, Bush worked at the Georgia Power Company Research Center (now NEETRAC) where he held engineering and management positions.

In June 1988, Bush received the Georgia Power "Engineer of the Year" award, and in 1994, he received the "Technology Applications Recognition" award from the Electric Power Research Institute. In 1996, he was awarded a Jesse H. Neal Certificate of Merit for editorial excellence.

Bush holds BSME and MSME degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and he is a senior member of the IEEE.

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