Analysis needs to be more than surface-level deep in order for us to truly learn the important lessons, according to Michael Quinn, vice president, Strategy, and chief technology officer for Oncor Electric Delivery. He is referring to utility analytics and how they will drive the platforms of the future.
“We need to determine the most valuable use cases and commit the resources until we get them nailed,” Quinn told T&D World. “Failing fast is just failing unless you learn fast also.”
Quinn has been charged with setting Oncor’s course in transforming the value of the electric grid through innovative, technology-driven and customer-focused solutions that meet the growing and changing needs of the market.
He will co-present with Raiford Smith, vice president, Energy Technology & Analytics, Entergy at Energy Times’ Empowering Customers & Cities event in Chicago in November. In his panel session, Big Data: DERMs, Analytics & More Magic, Quinn will discuss how analytics in general can be a game-changer, but it still needs some use-case boundaries. “We are not all faced with the same exact situation or circumstances so determining which use cases are more valuable to your organization should be the driver of your efforts.”
1. The collective pace of change on all fronts in our industry and our ability to be nimble and learn quickly in this environment keep Quinn up at night.
Because the grid and technology capabilities will be more complex, this doesn’t lend itself naturally to learning quickly. In response, I am excited to see the level of engagement and problem solving of all our employees and especially the millennial’ s who really want to make an impact and are not afraid to tackle big projects and challenges.
2. The most exciting part of his job is likely also one the hardest parts of his job. It is focus and discernment.
The options, opportunity and long-term impact of what we are considering or implementing is awesome. The challenge is to work your way through lots of options, technologies or solutions to determine how they intersect our existing or near-term challenges, if in fact they do. Right now there are a lot of solutions out there that are looking for problems to solve. Additionally, there are technologies that look directly applicable to our challenges that the vendor hasn’t realized are at an intersection with what we have going.
3. He thinks the advancement in grid performance and overall market structure will change the course of energy forever.
Control systems and market settlement sophistication in response to technology adoption is potentially the next big step.
4. He has found that the true breakthroughs, empowering customers and optimizing performance take real commitment and hard work.
There are lots of buzz words flying around but the required analysis to bring some of these to fruition has been glossed over. Oncor developed 10 different screening criteria to review a feeder to see if it was a candidate for energy storage as an outage mitigation strategy. If we hadn’t had experience with our microgrid and five other storage installations, I don’t know how we would have come up with those criteria.
5. He was born into the industry.
My father worked at two utilities and in fact, on the way up to Clemson University my freshman year, we had to make a detour to look at some transmission right of way for a project before I could move into the dorms.
6. He has a passion for where we are headed as an industry and how technology supports that journey.
Oncor subscribes to a “purposeful technology integration perspective” rather than just trying to install what is being hyped. If we believe a technology can really support the performance or solve a need or future need, then that is where we spend our due diligence time.