Distribution Automation/Communications

8:30 a.m. – The Case for a Private LTE Network: Utility Focused

Speaker: Peter Terrier, Burns & McDonnell

This presentation will focus on how a Private LTE Network can help utilities address and overcome these challenges. The discussion will focus on the what, how, and why of Private LTE and what else can be achieved to evolve the modern-day utility further. We will draw information from the utilities that have made the decision and are deploying Private LTE networks.

9:15 – Cybersecurity Overview and Maximizing Cyber Standards to Secure Your OT Environment

Speaker: Jeff Foley, Siemens Ruggedcom

The Operational Technology (OT) threat landscape is evolving rapidly. OT asset owners and operators who are responsible for keeping critical infrastructure operational are facing numerous and complex cyber threats as the expanded and interconnected attack surfaces are increasing due to newer technologies and smart cities. With new compliance requirements, budget restrictions, and an ever-expanding attack surface, organizations need integrated and orchestrated industrial standards-based policies and procedures in place to secure critical infrastructures efficiently.

10:30 – The State of DERMS in the Industry

Speakers: Eric Sortomme and Dan Lysaker, Open System International Inc.

Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) is fast becoming a key component of system operations for utilities to address complexities of renewable generation. This presentation will give an overview of the current state of industry DERMS deployments, the relevant use cases, and lessons learned through the deployments. Utility case studies will highlight experiences with stand-alone DERMS deployments, fully integrated ADMS DERMS solutions, DERMS for EMS and GMS, and API interfaces to third-party systems.

11:15 – Transformer Overload Protection Using Wireless Communications

Speaker: Galina Antonova, Hitachi Energy

This presentation describes a protection scheme that prevents overloading a distribution transformer connected to multiple distributed energy resource (DER) sites. The scheme utilizes wireless communications and directional overpower, supervised by overcurrent, to selectively ramp down and trip only DER sites contributing to the overload.

Project Management

8:30 – Straits of Mackinac Submarine Cable Replacement Project

Speakers: Dustin Johanek, Devin Mahaffey, and Adam Brecklin, American Transmission Company, LLC

This presentation is a summary of the emergency circuit reconfiguration and ultimate replacement of six existing 138-kV SCFF (self-contained fluid filled) single-phase cables with two 138-kV XLPE three-phase cables across the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan.

9:15 – The Power of Collaboration: 500kV Line Restoration

Speaker: Matt Reule, Great River Energy

Great River Energy received a report of a leaning transmission tower in northern Minnesota in January 2023. The leaning tower was the outside tower of a three-tower angle structure (comprising three separate towers supporting approximately 15,000 lbs. of line tension each) on a 500kV transmission line. Adding to the complexity, the structure is located 2.4 miles into a bog with depths ranging from 5' to 18' deep. Great River Energy requested and received assistance from Minnesota Power and Xcel Energy, resulting in a successful restoration effort that was one of a kind, leveraging experienced personnel and specialized equipment from the collective team of utilities.

10:30 – Managing the Community Solar Garden Interconnections Portfolio

Speakers: Mitchell Dienger, POWER Engineers/Xcel Energy

This presentation will touch on the high-level basics of the community solar garden (CSG) program involving the management of multiple consultant firms, what you need to know, the obstacles faced, and lessons learned when working with solar developers.

11:15 – Updates on IIJA/IRA Funding in Power Industry

Speaker: Autumn Meyers, HDR

"Once in a generation" is used to describe the IIJA and IRA due to the significant impact to infrastructure. With the IIJA and IRA in place, the US Department of Energy (DOE) grant programs and other power-related funding opportunities are well underway, with more to come. This session will discuss funding available to address industry-wide power needs including resiliency and reliability, new transmission, and new generation incentives, as well as funding to upgrade and execute other projects at hydropower facilities. Monitoring and planning ahead for these opportunities is important, and there is still time to plan and prepare for grant solicitations and other opportunities, such as tax credits.


8:30 – NuScale Power and the Small Modular Reactor Industry

Speaker: Michael Brasel, NuScale

Minnesota has taken a bold step forward by passing new legislation in 2023 requiring carbon-free generation by 2040. Small modular reactors (SMR) are poised to fill the need. SMRs are in development around the world by 20+ companies. With varying technologies, sizes and stage of development the SMR market can be difficult to navigate. NuScale Power, headquartered in Oregon, is leading the way with industry-first regulator approval and a construction work permit application submitted. The presentation will review the various technologies and sizes of SMRs and highlight the NuScale Power technology and its recent developments.

9:15 – Energy Storage Market and Technology Update

Speakers: Chris Ruckman and Josh Tucker, Burns & McDonnell

The energy storage industry is hitting an inflection point as more projects are deployed. Supply chain limitations and raw material shortages coupled with inflation are proving challenging the deployment of these projects across the United States. This presentation will cover major trends in the energy storage market including project pricing impacts, supply changes, new products on the market, updates in execution models, and an update on the state of nonlithium options on the market.

10:30 – Strengthening the System for Inverter-Based Generation

Speaker: Mike Marz, ATC

There are several options for strengthening the grid to allow for the stable connection of inverter-based generation. These options include building new infrastructure, adding synchronous condensers, requiring grid forming controls on batteries and generation, and ESTATCOM. This presentation reviews the advantages and disadvantages (technical and financial) of these various options.

11:15 – Inverter-Based Resource Performance Requirements at MISO: Supporting Renewable Integration During the Energy Transition

Speaker: Meagan Pamperin, MISO

In 2022, MISO began an IEEE 2800 adoption effort to prevent reliability events like those outlined in recent NERC disturbance reports and to examine the need for other beneficial IBR capabilities. MISO will share the motivation for IEEE 2800 implementation and the status of the process as it continues through 2023.


8:30 – Hot Line Tag: A Sacrifice for Safety

Speaker: Scott Iverson, PE, Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative

This presentation focuses on hot line tag for the distribution system. It covers both the pros and cons of using HLT and electrical contact vs. arc flash, as well as implementation, safety procedures for use, distribution automation, and the linemen perspective. Real-world examples of the topics will be presented.

9:15 – PPE for Protection of Line Workers against AC Induction Hazards during Overhead Line Work

Speakers: Eduardo Ramirez Bettoni, Xcel Energy; Balint Nemeth, Budapest University of Technology and Economics

Xcel Energy partnered with Electrostatics and BME to develop a conductive suit for protecting linemen against AC-induced current in overhead line work applications. The suits were developed and tested at the HV laboratory in Budapest and field trialed in Texas in 2022. This presentation and paper cover the main aspects of developing this new type of PPE, industry accident statistics, and experiences from the field trials in Texas. The suit can be applied for line construction and maintenance activities on de-energized lines in induction corridors with TPG up to 765 kV. Many lives of linemen have been lost due to AC induction throughout the years in the United States. The PPE is meant to be used with TPG and IEEE 1048 practices

10:30 – Cybersecurity-Operational Resilience for Electric Utility

Speakers: Michael Welch and Summer Esquerre, Burns & McDonnell

Many organizations still use outdated and reactive point-in-time cyber resilience approaches for modern problems. Adopting modern and sustainable techniques can help companies achieve long-lasting programs that will remain relevant for years. Session will cover security by design, consequence-driven, and cyber-informed engineering, including how to identify the emerging threat landscape, the best approach to creating a sustainable cyber-resilience program, and the key differences between new and outdated systems to cyber resiliency.

11:15 – Then and Now: Substation Compliance and Physical Security

Speaker: Blake Beale, Paladin Technologies

Background: Timeline leading up to the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Standards. CIP14 – Physical Security beginnings Standards Deep Dive CIPv6 – Current regulations CIP 14 – high-level NERC study Dec 2022 Best practice for improved Physical Security ("important to you") Observations, Trends, and things to be monitoring.


1:00 p.m. – Overcoming the Drilled Shaft Challenges

Speakers: Logan Nesseth and Caleb Jergensen, Burns & McDonnell

Caleb Jergensen and Logan Nesseth draw upon their combined experience to examine some unique drilled pier installation challenges on telecommunication towers they have encountered. This presentation will cover the situations, the consequences, the immediate resolution, and the ongoing lessons learned from each challenge. The presenters will engage the audience with not only an inclusive discussion of the engineering solutions and controls, but will also provide insight into the construction and safety perspectives.

1:45 – LiDAR for Transmission Lines: Collection and Processing for the Lifecycle of a Facility

Speaker: Jonathan Lemsky, SAM Companies

Collecting LiDAR data for transmission lines is critical to managing the lifecycle of a facility. This presentation will cover LiDAR technology and how the data is collected, processed, and converted into a PLS-CADD model for use in the conceptual planning, detailed design, through construction, as-builts, and maintenance lifecycles.

3:00 – Groundline Corrosion of Steel Embedded Structures: Practical Observations

Speakers: Josh Sebolt and Michaela Nickell, Burns & McDonnell

Groundline corrosion of direct embedded steel structures is a concern for many utility asset owners. The industry has offered several mitigation methods for prevention, but what happens if those were not used or successful? How does the section loss resulting from corrosion affect structure performance? What observations can be made? This presentation will answer those questions as well as a refresher on how steel pole capacity is calculated.

3:45 – Meandering River Study: Risk to Transmission Structures

Speaker: Eric Brezinka, Black & Veatch

A real-world case study of a line knocked out by flooding on the Minnesota River. Years of accelerated bank erosion destroyed upstream protection against debris and encroached on the structure foundation. The study delves into the characteristics of the river basin, river flow, and rainfall trends that are contributing factors to the acceleration of changes. When evaluating infrastructure placement along meandering rivers, an awareness of the acceleration of changing conditions is necessary for long-term risk assessment.


1:00 p.m. – Electric Vehicle Penetration in a Distribution System

Speaker: Daisy Selvaraj, UND EERC

In this presentation, the drivers behind the current efforts on electric vehicle integration into the distribution grid, the challenges faced, and the current research directions to address these challenges are discussed. The presentation will focus on the EV hosting capacity analysis on a distribution feeder and the effects of large penetration of EV charging loads on the feeder.

1:45 – Current Status of the Transformer Industry

Speaker: Travis Baldwin, ERMCO

The Distribution Transformer Market is currently faced with overwhelming demand, diminished supply, and regulatory interventions that challenge manufacturers to aid the electric utility industry in the struggle for "keeping the lights on." This presentation will focus on the situation from the manufacturer's perspective.

3:00 – Distribution Outage Management at Runestone Electric during Summer 2022

Speaker: Al Haman, Runestone Electric Association

This presentation will cover technology, methods, and best practices of managing multiday outages at a midsize rural electric cooperative.

3:45 – Smart Inverters Updates in the MN TIIR

Speakers: Kristi Robinson, Star Energy Services; Craig Turner, Dakota Electric

With the increase amount of distribution energy resources being interconnected to the grid, the State of Minnesota has updated the Technical Interconnection and Interoperability Requirements (TIIR) to incorporate the functionalities of smart inverters. This presentation addresses the updated requirements for smart inverters used in Minnesota along with the logistics of getting inverters configured properly, per the Utility Required Profiles.

1:00 p.m. – Case Study: Defining and Measuring Protection Signal Transfer Speed, Latency, and Reliability within Digital Trip Circuits

Speaker: David Dolezilek, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.

This paper investigates methods to measure the speed and performance of digital trip circuits and provides speed comparisons for multiple trip circuit technologies. It also offers guidance, resources, and standards to implement digital trip circuits in protection systems.

1:45 – Performance of IEC 61850 Sampled Values Relays for a Real-World Fault

Speaker: Ryan McDaniel, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.

This paper provides an overview of a ComEd protection scheme implemented at a 138 kV substation, which is a mix of conventional relays that use traditional potential transformer and current transformer inputs and Sampled Values relays that use merging units from multiple manufacturers.

3:00 – Summary Paper for IEEE C37.104 - 2022 Guide for Automatic Reclosing on AC Distribution and Transmission Lines

Speakers: Manish Patel, Southern Company Services; Scott Elling, Burns & McDonnell

This paper provides a very high-level summary of the IEEE C37.104-2022, Guide for Automatic Reclosing on AC Distribution and Transmission Lines. The guide discusses fundamentals of automatic reclosing, application considerations, and coordination practices as well as application of emerging technologies for automatic reclosing. Accepted industry practices for application of automatic reclosing on transmission and distribution lines are documented in this guide.

3:45 – Event: Analysis of 4.16 kV Generator Differential Misoperation

Speaker: JC Theron, GE Grid Solutions

Generator differential protection has been used for about a century and has proven to be very secure for external faults, energization, and load pickup and dependable for detecting internal faults. Since the development of Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs), the traditional percentage differential algorithm has been greatly refined and improved with rare cases of misoperation. This paper discusses a percentage differential misoperation of a 1.55 MW, 4.16 kV generator shortly after synchronization and during loading of the generator, what caused the misoperation, and how it was fixed. Additional security measures added to the percentage differential and enhancements to the inrush inhibit will also be presented to enhance generator differential security against large-load energization events.

Emerging Technologies

1:00 p.m. – Design and Implementation of a Wide-Area Automated Voltage Control System

Speakers: Aaron Wilson, Xcel Energy; Mark Nelson, POWER Engineers

Xcel Energy implemented a novel voltage control system on a single long-radial transmission line that includes five wind farms and a STATCOM. System modeling and studies demonstrated the need and established the operating parameters for the control system. Learn about system design considerations, review hardware-in-the-loop and field testing processes, and see examples of actual system performance before and after the controller was placed in service.

1:45 – Advances and Future Trends in Transmission STATCOM Applications

Speaker: Anders Bostroem, Hitachi Energy

The presentation will focus on advancements in STATCOM technology in general and transmission applications in particular. Topics will include STATCOM topologies and grid following vs. grid forming capabilities. Case studies will be used to provide context of the functionality. Enhanced STATCOM with active power capability will be introduced and discussed.

3:00 – Black Start and Grid Forming Inverters

Speakers: Scott Karpiel and Lucas Meubrink, SMA America

This presentation will go over the difference between a normal inverter and one that can be used for "black start" applications along with its voltage/VAR, fault current, and frequency capabilities. Actual applications will be discussed.

3:45 – Hydrogen Production from Prairie Island Nuclear Plant

Speaker: Dylan Sylvester, Xcel Energy

The presentation will explore not only the current uses of hydrogen and why it is such an important element for our clean energy future, but will discuss the current best methods of producing clean hydrogen, and how Xcel Energy is paving the way forward for our carbon-free hydrogen future.