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Executive View

How AI Can Improve Performance and Reduce Downtime in Utilities and Power Generators

CEO of Fischer Block Explains How AI and Proactive Monitoring of Power Systems in Utilities Can Improve Performance and Reduce Downtime

Greg Wolfe

President & CEO
Fischer Block, Inc

Fischer Block logo - transparent - Certrec

Mr. Greg Wolfe, the President & CEO of Fischer Block, Inc., is responsible for the vision and strategic direction of the company and the execution of its business operations.

Read the full bio here.

Below is an excerpt of Certrec Sentinel’s recent interview with Mr. Wolfe.
To read the full interview, click here.

Certrec Sentinel Question: Greg, as a co-founder of Fischer Block Inc., please tell us what led you to set up Fischer Block? How can Fischer Block improve the reliability and efficiency of energy?

Answer: As you mentioned, my background in electrical power systems afforded me a thorough understanding of the importance of tests and measurements of each electrical component as required for reliable and safe power generation. In previous capacities, I led organizations which designed and sold portable test and measurement equipment to the electrical power industry. Portable equipment is primarily used in a reactive mode, i.e., for scheduled maintenance and/or diagnostic purposes (after an unplanned outage). However, to keep power generation running smoothly, I saw a great opportunity to provide insights into the existing health of their systems with continuous high-resolution monitoring of their critical assets/circuits. This paradigm shift for utilities, from reactive to proactive monitoring, provides new insights which can significantly improve the reliability and efficiency of their operations with an “early-warning” system.

Certrec Sentinel Question: Please provide a tip to aspiring professionals in the field of power system management and analytics solutions.

We believe this is an exciting time for the electrical power industry. New technologies are now available which perform very high-resolution monitoring of power system signals and, when fed into predictive analytics engines, provide new insights into the inner-workings and health of the critical assets involved. This insight goes well beyond what traditional SCADA (usage monitoring) systems provide and, therefore, to any aspiring professional in this regard, I would recommend they “think outside the SCADA box” and seek out platforms which provide these new data flows and early warning systems, reducing risk and improving the overall efficiency of their operations.

Expert View

Your Power Generators Must be Weatherized if You Want to Avoid Brownouts

Allan Glass

Senior Compliance
Analyst at Certrec

Our expert recommends: “When determining your local winter temperature extreme, do not forget to include the most recent extreme cold weather event temperatures, even if they are outside the recent five-year historical period.”

Want information on NERC’s guidelines on extreme weather?

 Click here to read more about NERC’s EOP-011-1 standard

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November Poll Insights

Which renewable method is currently the cheapest to generate electricity per kilowatt hour (kWh)

52.5% of participants strongly agreed that power plants should be doing more to prevent security threats from hostile nations. With reports of cyber-attacks from Russia on the Ukrainian power grid, there is a threat that nation states will utilize blackouts to cause disruptions. According to the Department of Homeland Security, President Biden’s 2023 Fiscal year Budget includes $175 million for infrastructure security efforts to secure and increase resilience for privately owned critical infrastructure through risk management and collaboration with the critical infrastructure community. What do you think power plants should be doing to prevent threats?

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63% of respondents voted that energy generation in solar panels decreases from between 31 to 50% during winter. According to research by energy.gov, a solar panel’s effectiveness during winter depends on its design. During light snow, solar panels are virtually unaffected, but heavy snow has the potential to accumulate and prevent power generation. According to research from Rated Power, cooler weather can increase efficiency. Overall, solar panels are impacted year-round by the elements, and plants should be prepared to meet the new challenges each season.

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Certrec Recognized as One of the Most Promising 2022 Compliance Technology Solutions Providers

Industry Recognized — Certrec and its Executive Director of Operations, Michelle Thomas, have recently been profiled by CIO Review in their 2022 Compliance Edition. In addition, CIOReview has awarded Certrec as a Twenty Most Promising Compliance Technology Solutions Provider in 2022…
Click here to see the award and full article

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New Product Release – With Version 3, IMS continues to simplify the management of documentation and action items during an NRC inspection. This significantly reduces the number of billable hours and time spent supporting the inspection…
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Grade Your NERC CIP Compliance in Minutes with Certrec’s Free Health Check Tool

An Industry First — Certrec has developed an online tool to help NERC entities gauge their compliance with NERC CIP standards in 20 minutes. This free online tool grades an energy company’s NERC CIP status and helps them pinpoint what needs improvement. Once the health check is completed, Certrec’s NERC CIP team is available at no cost for up to 30 minutes to answer questions about the test results.
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Upcoming Industry Events

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