2013 Event Archives

January 23: KC Mares, Latest trends in Data Center Design, Technology, and Siting

February 20: Mark Siira, Best Practices, Benefits and Economics of Load Testing

March 20: Robert Schuerger, Data Center & Critical Facility Reliability

April 17: Nathaniel Skinner: Long-term Perspectives on California’s Energy System

May 15: Utility and Facility Design for the New 49ers Stadium in Santa Clara

Dan Boresch, P.E., Lead Engineer, Cupertino Electric

Orville Plum, Acting Sr. Electric Division Manager, Silicon Valley Power

September 18: Pieter Noordan, Virtual Meter Management Solutions

October 16: Saurabh Samdani, PE, Cupertino Electric Inc. Maximizing production from solar PV plants

November 20: James Alvers, Data Center Design Engineer at Hewlett Packard, Modular Data Centers


Past Event Descriptions and Speaker Backgrounds:

January 23, 2013

Latest trends in Data Center Design, Technology, and Siting

Speaker:   KC Mares President & CEO, MegaWatt Consulting

Presentation: KC Mares

About the talk: Data center designs have evolved significantly over the last few years -- the focus on reliability, locations and new technologies has dramatically changed from what were the standards only a few years ago. Energy efficiency in data centers has become a key objective in the designs of today. KC will discuss not only these recent trends but also emerging trends that he is leading for many large Internet data centers, especially with the focus of the design, the locations of data centers and how this influences the designs. And KC will also highlight emerging technologies that may change the electrical designs of future data centers.

About the Speaker: KC Mares is President & CEO, MegaWatt Consulting and CTO of Unique Infrastructure Group the company developing the Reno Technology Park, the largest dedicated data center campus in North America with on-site renewable energy generation.
As CEO of MegaWatt Consulting, KC has completed data center site selection, design and efficiency projects for Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Equinix, NCAR, LBNL, US DoE, and many others. He has led the design of over $10 billion of data centers, all with industry leading energy AND cost efficiencies.
His work has earned numerous awards, including twice EnergyStar Partner of the Year, and is a pundit of long-term energy solutions that improve the quality of life, environment and sustained economic vitality.

February 20, 2013

Best Practices, Benefits and Economics of Load Testing

Speaker:  Mark Siira, Director, Business Development, ComRent® International and Industry luminary in smart grid

Presentation: MarkSiira

About the talk: Overview of Load Bank Testing, methods, and best practices for facilities that include Data Centers and Utility Substations, addressing:

  • Benefits and economics of Load Testing
  • Industry Trends
  • Innovations in Load Testing
  • Lessons Learned

Benefits and economics of Load Testing
Discussion of the cost of power failures, power quality issues, the importance of availability and reliability and, finally review an economic model of user benefits

Industry Trends
Review significant trends that will affect many facilities and industries, including:

  • IEEE Standards for Interconnection (IEEE 1547 Interconnection Series, IEEE Smart Grid interoperability Series, and UL 1741 and 6171 series on Wind Interconnection.)
  • Recent FERC Small Generator Interconnection notice of proposed rulemaking.

Innovations in Load Testing
We will discuss current and upcoming innovation in facility load testing, including:

  • Data Center Commissioning using multiple load bank types to test many aspects of power system and power quality.   Comprehensive testing also balances the thermal performance with electrical.
  • Medium Voltage Load Banks are used to provide a simpler safer approach to load testing at large facilities or a Utility substation
  • Application Specific Load Banks used to speed up setup and provide a safer layout of power system elements along with the testing equipment.
  • Interactive Load Banks are a new innovation that allows reactive control or communication based system to control load based on set conditions in the application (Mobile Generator or wind farm example)
  • Liquid Cooled Load Banks are emerging to provide very high power density loads and tie in to liquid cooling systems that are increasingly being used in High Performance Computing application.

Lessons Learned/Summary and Conclusion
Finally, we will summarize how organizations can take advantage of this important practice and improve availability, reliability and reduce incidence of business interruptions.   Mark is looking forward to meeting with and discussing the topic with this important audience.

About the Speaker: Mark Siira is a senior member of IEEE and currently active in IEEE Interconnection and Smart Grid standards development.  He is an officer of the Standards Coordinating Committee 21 which establishes standards for Grid interconnection and smart grid interoperability, and a member of the UL Standards Technical Panel 1741 (Inverters) and 6171 (Wind farms).  
Prior to joining ComRent, Mark spent sixteen years  at Kohler Company developing products and solutions for electric power, including an inverter and energy storage appliance, combined heat and power systems, critical power systems paralleling switchgear, microturbines and  Distributed Generation strategies.  Before joining Kohler, Mark worked for Rockwell International’s Automotive business and General Motors Truck and Bus Group.
Mark has a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Degree from GMI Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University), and an MBA from Harvard University. He is a senior member of IEEE.


March 20, 2013

Data Center & Critical Facility Reliability

& IEEE Std P3006.7

Speaker:  Robert Schuerger, PE, Hewlett Packard, CFS/EYP MCF .

Presentation: Robert Schuerger

About the talk: Reliability engineering is a very effective tool for data center assessment, upgrading existing facilities and in evaluating new designs. In the data center/critical facility world, much has been written about reliability, but only a small amount of it could really be considered “engineering.” The IEEE has a new standard coming out, Std P3006.7 Recommended Practice for the Determining the Reliability of “7 x 24” Continuous Power Systems in Industrial and Commercial Facilities. The draft standard has been balloted and is currently in ballot resolution, which means it will most likely be approved and available in early 2013. The presentation will: 1. Review the basic concepts and terminology of reliability engineering 2. Provide an overview of the draft standard 3. Present typical designs and show reliability analysis for: a. Critical electrical distribution systems b. Critical mechanical cooling systems c. Electrical power for the mechanical system The origin of P3006.7 was Chapter 8, “7 x 24” Continuous Power Systems, of the IEEE Gold Book, Std. 493-2007. With the reorganization of the whole IEEE Color Book series, what was chapter 8 is now a standalone standard. It has also been greatly expanded.

About the Speaker: Robert Schuerger was the Chair and primary author for Chapter 8 of IEEE Gold Book and is the current Chair of P3006.7. He has over 35 years of experience in electrical power generation and distribution, including start-up of both fossil and nuclear power plants, and many years of electrical testing and maintenance on low and medium voltage distribution equipment. In 2000 he joined EYP Mission Critical Facilities, Inc., thus focusing his career on data centers. With EYP MCF, which was purchased by HP in 2008, he has provided on-site engineering support, commissioning and electrical design. One of his primary tasks has been to develop methodologies to use commercially available reliability analysis software for analyzing critical electrical and mechanical infrastructures of existing and new data centers.

April 17, 2013

Long-term Perspectives on California’s Energy System

Speaker:  Nathaniel Skinner, California Public Utilities Commission

About the talk: This presentation will address electricity Demand Growth and the role of the CPUC in policy.  Expectations of electric demand growth are driven by where people are moving.  Further, electrification is becoming more important, e.g. Electric Vehicles and Electrification of rail.  The CPUC is concerned about system reliability as well as protecting the public interest in fair pricing.  As contracting meets or exceeds 33% energy delivery obligations, what is the next step for Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)?  How do reliability costs and benefits get traded off against other benefits?

About the Speaker: Nathaniel Skinner is currently a senior analyst in the CPUC’s Generation and Transmission Planning section of the Energy Division.  In his capacity as a senior analyst, he focuses on long-term electricity infrastructure issues ranging from forecasting infrastructure needs to market design.  He has also worked on enhancing the CPUC’s quarterly compliance report audit process, utility procurement rules, and served on working groups for improving demand forecasts.  He joined the CPUC in 2008.  Previously he has worked on natural gas and weapons of mass destruction issues in Washington DC.  Mr. Skinner graduated from the Monterey Institute of International Studies with a MA in International Policy, and has a BA in Political Science and a BA in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Washington.  He is currently working on his PhD in Public Policy and Administration at Walden University.


May 15, 2013

Utility and Facility Design for the New 49ers Stadium in Santa Clara

Orville Plum, Acting Sr. Electric Division Manager, Silicon Valley Power
Dan Boresch, P.E., Lead Engineer, Cupertino Electric

Presentation: Dan Boresch

Presentation: Orville Plum

About the talk: One of the major construction projects underway in Silicon Valley is the new San Francisco 49er stadium.  Given recent power disruptions at Candlestick Park and at the Superdome, the local utility and design-build contractor will describe solutions to minimize the potential of future disruptions without complicating the system.

SILICON VALLEY POWER: Providing service to the new San Francisco 49er stadium offered many unique challenges to Silicon Valley Power (SVP), the municipal electric utility serving the City of Santa Clara.

Orville will discuss the challenges faced by SVP, including the installation of multiple facilities within a very constrained space, meeting stadium power requirements and operating conditions.  The approach to and design of the distribution facilities that will serve the stadium is expected to provide a very high level of reliability and maximum operational flexibility to meet all of the varied uses for the stadium.

CUPERTINO ELECTRIC:  The stadium power distribution serves many building functions such as concession stands, five star amenities, data systems, suites, offices, and most critically sports lighting and audio visual systems used to help transmit the game across the country and globe. From utility to sports lights, each voltage level is configured to minimize the possibility of disruption to such critical components.

Dan will recap the event at the Superdome and how this type of outage can be avoided at the New Santa Clara Stadium with careful planning and engineering. He will discuss the architecture of the sports lighting system and how each level in the power distribution system is designed to maximize uptime. Some of the elements required to achieve maximum uptime include relay restraints, calculated coordination with SVP, and special planning at the switchgear and substations.

About the Speakers:

Dan Boresch, P.E., Lead Engineer, Cupertino Electric
Dan is currently a Lead Electrical Engineer in Cupertino Electric’s Engineering Department, executing power and lighting designs for complex facilities. This covers a wide range of industrial, pharmaceutical, institutional, and commercial projects within Cupertino Electric’s project management and production capabilities.
Cupertino Electric became a key player with the final development and construction of the New Santa Clara Stadium in February 2012 under general contractor Turner-Devcon Joint Venture. Cupertino Electric is responsible for the design and installation of all power, lighting, and low voltage communications system raceways and network cabling necessary to bring the stadium to life.

Orville Plum, Acting Sr. Electric Division Manager, Silicon Valley Power
Orville is the Acting Senior Electric Division Manager – Engineering & Compliance for Silicon Valley Power.  His team is responsible for designing the electric system to serve new customers and coordinate the construction activity between the SVP and customer contractors.  He is also responsible for overseeing and approving the interconnection requirements for emergency/stand-by generators and any alternative generation (solar) intended for parallel operation with the utility system.

September 18, 2013

Virtual Meter Management Solutions

Pieter Noordam, co-founder of Alchemy Unlimited, Inc.

About the talk: Large facilities consume vast quantities of energy.  Due to the large expenditures and the focus on efficiency and energy conservation, these facilities have implemented metering and sub-metering systems.  For large installations, the complexity of these systems introduces significant new data management problems.  In particular aggregating meter data into cost and performance data is problematic.  Customers tend to have low confidence in the accuracy of the aggregate data due to data quality issues, complex association and constant changes in the physical infrastructure.   Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) and other sites are facing these issues and have recently deployed a “VIRTUAL METER” database software tool which specifically solves these problems. This presentation will discuss these recent deployments and highlight the architecture, SLAC’s system and examples of the following:

1.       Layered, Web Based Virtualization: Summary of virtual meter definition using complex associations and status with underlying physical meters
2.       Data Quality Analysis: Data gaps are automatically recognized, flagged and identified
3.       Automatic Meter Rollover, Data Backfilling and Meter Replacement Detection
4.       Forecasting: managers need to know what the energy spend will be prior to receiving the utility bill.
5.       Web based graphical representations of data, physical infrastructure and associations.

About the Speaker:

Pieter Noordam is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.  He is founder of RFISoft and co-founder of Alchemy Unlimited, Inc. which along with Applied Power Technologies, Inc. has developed the software tools discussed in this presentation. Pieter brings over 15 years of experience in engineering, management and marketing with significant expertise in systems development, software, general management and other fields such as digital video and RFID. Prior to RFIsoft, he was one of the founders of the Digital Video Systems business unit at Philips. Pieter sits on the board of the Association of Engineering (AFE) Silicon Valley. He earned a Master degree in Computer Science from the University of Delft in The Netherlands.


October 16th

Maximizing production from solar PV plants

Saurabh Samdani, PE, Cupertino Electric Inc.

About the talk: Solar plants are instrumented with numerous weather and electrical sensors and this data is logged every minute yielding very large data sets. The process of installing sensors, data acquisition and communication devices can be so complicated that sometimes people forget what the data is for: understanding plant performance. The first half of the talk will demonstrate how this data can be used to maximize system production. The examples presented to answer important questions of solar plant performance will clarify important concepts in data presentation that are universally applicable.

The true promise of information age isn’t tons of data but decisions and actions based on a thorough understanding obtained from accurate data. Engineers collect data and make decisions using detailed analysis. The engineer’s task is only half done at this point. The other half is to convince others that the action is the correct one. A lot of attention is given to data collection and storage techniques. However data is like a ¼” drill but what everybody wants is the ¼” hole: better decisions and understanding. Data should be presented in graphical format for effective communication.

The second half of this talk will focus on the general principles for graphical data analysis and presentation.

About the Speaker:

Saurabh Samdani, PE received his MS from Stanford University in 2008 and B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology in 2006. He is responsible for system performance analysis of more than 150 MW of Cupertino Electric, Inc.’s solar power installations. He also oversees new product evaluation, design optimization, commissioning and startup of solar plants. He has spent many years working for solar companies to drive innovative processes for deployment of solar power plants. He is very active in the solar industry and has been an invited speaker at Solar Power International, Intersolar North America, and the Utility Scale PV Optimization Conference. He blogs at

November 20th

Benefits and Implementation of Modular Data Centers

James Alvers, Data Center Design Engineer at Hewlett Packard

Presentation: James Alvers

Information technology today is a world whose watchwords are volume, variety and velocity. We are awash in data from Facebook, Twitter, IM’s, internet searches, emails, video or mobile devices, etc. and updates are eagerly awaited.  That has made the data center a new type of utility: critical, essential infrastructure much like water or power.  

As such, with a long construction cycle and a lifespan of 20 years, the typical monolithic greenfield data center is antithetical to the agility demanded by today’s IT. It typically begins with a custom design which can become inflexible over time and requires inordinate amounts of energy, maintenance and capital.  Modular and containerized solutions offer an attractive alternative.

In this presentation we will discuss:

  • Definitions and differences for containerized and modular data centers and a comparison to the traditional approach.
  • A review of the major components of a containerized data center solution: IT, Power & Cooling
  • A case study for a containerized data center solution including selection, criteria, implementation, pros and cons.  

About the Speaker:

James Alvers joined Hewlett Packard as a Data Center Design Engineer in 2013.  Previously he had been with Schneider Electric as a Global Account Manager to HP for almost 10 years.  In that capacity he has been involved in numerous data center applications with both HP and its clients throughout the world.  Many of these applications involved HP’s Flexible DC or POD designs.  He has worked specifically with the power aspects DC design and electrical equipment.  James has also worked with HP on its major data center consolidation in 2006 as a power equipment supplier and application consultant.  

Before being involved in data centers James worked in applications, marketing and sales management for Schneider Electric’s Industrial Automation Division.  He is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and was certified as an Energy Management Professional at Schneider Electric.