Abstract: Modern society is facing great challenges due to pollution and increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. As part of solving these challenges, the use of renewable energy sources and electric vehicles (EVs) is rapidly increasing. However, increased dynamics have triggered problems in balancing energy supply and consumption demand in the power systems. The resulting uncertainty and unpredictability of energy production, consumption, and management of peak loads has caused an increase in costs for energy market actors. Therefore, the means for studying the balancing of local smart grids with EVs is a starting point for this paper. The main contribution is a simulation-based approach which was developed to enable the study of the balancing of local distribution grids with EV batteries in a cost-efficient manner. The simulation-based approach is applied to enable the execution of a distributed system with the simulation of a local distribution grid, including a number of charging stations and EVs. A simulation system has been constructed to support the simulation-based approach. The evaluation has been carried out by executing the scenario related to balancing local distribution grids with EV batteries in a step-by-step manner. The evaluation results indicate that the simulation-based approach is able to facilitate the evaluation of smart grid– and EV-related communication protocols, control algorithms for charging, and functionalities of local distribution grids as part of a complex, critical cyber-physical system. In addition, the simulation system is able to incorporate advanced methods for monitoring, controlling, tracking, and modeling behavior. The simulation model of the local distribution grid can be executed with the smart control of charging and discharging powers of the EVs according to the load situation in the local distribution grid. The resulting simulation system can be applied to the study of balancing local smart grids with EV batteries. Based on the evaluation results, it is estimated that the simulation-based approach can provide an essential, safe, and cost-efficient method for the evaluation of complex, critical cyber-physical systems, such as smart grids.
Abstract: Italian New Public Management (NPM) has been mainly characterized by a political orientation toward power decentralization to local governments and privatization of public companies. Nowadays, local utilities in Italy are often run by joint stock companies controlled by public agencies such as Regional and Municipal Administrations. Due to this transformation, these companies must comply with a set of diverse expectations coming from a wide range of stakeholders, related to their financial, competitive and social performance. Such fragmented governance increases the presence of “wicked” problems in the decision-making sphere of these entities. Given this multi-level governance structure, how do these agents influence public services performance? In recent years, coordination and inter-institutional joint action have been identified as possible approaches for dealing with governance fragmentation and wicked problems deriving from it. How can we adapt a performance management perspective in order to help us reform the system and so have a better collaboration between the stakeholders involved? In order to address and discuss these research questions, a case study will be developed. The case concerns AMAT, the local utility providing the public transportation service in the Municipality of Palermo (Italy). The result of this study is a dynamic model including a set of performance indicators that help us in understanding the impact of the governing structure on the system’s performance.
Abstract: The growing proliferation of management systems standards (MSSs), and their individualized implementation, is a real problem faced by organizations. On the other hand, MSSs are aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness of organizational responses in order to satisfy the requirements, needs and expectations of the stakeholders. Each organization has its own identity and this is an issue that cannot be neglected; hence, two possible approaches can be attended. First, continue with the implementation of individualized management systems (MSs); or, integrate the several MSSs versus related MSs into an integrated management system (IMS). Therefore, in this context, organizations are faced with a dilemma, as a result of the increasing proliferation and diversity of MSSs. This paper takes into account the knowledge gained through a case study conducted in the context of a Portuguese company and unveils some of the advantages and disadvantages of integration. A methodology is also proposed and presented to support organizations in developing and structuring the integration process of their individualized MSs, and consequently minimize problems that are generators of inefficiencies, value destruction and loss of competitiveness. The obtained results provide relevant information that can support Top Management decision in solving that dilemma and consequently promote a successful integration, including a better control of business risks associated to MSSs requirements and enhancing sustainable performance, considering the context in which organizations operate.
Abstract: Sustainability and, in particular, green sustainability are very complex subjects, because they typically include several integrated sub-systems. Many of these contain dynamically changing objects and variables, which are often difficult to measure and calibrate. Green sustainability means waste reduction and optimization with a non-toxic process focus that can be maintained over time, for a very long time. Furthermore, it means the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes and functions, biological diversity and productivity over time. Sustainable, green engineering design, manufacturing, demanufacturing and re-engineering are changing every aspect of our lives. In this paper, we offer an overview, a systems engineering framework, as well as some methodology and concrete results.
Abstract: This paper suggests a new methodology capable of accessing in detail the contribution of companies to countries’ sustainability related to economic performance. The concept of sustainability has been brought up in several debates, leading to a clearer understanding of its progress in recent decades. The most adequate indicators to achieve a unique value to define sustainability have been identified. However, specific behaviors of economic agents such as exist in particularly large organizations, have rarely been exposed and evaluated regarding their positive or negative contribution to the increase of sustainability throughout the world. This paper proposes an integrated approach incorporating an evaluation of the positive and negative contributions to sustainability by means of a logistic biplot application. This allows the creation of a summarized index that combines all single sustainability indicators. These synthetic indices allow the positioning of each of the companies in a geometric representation for an original exploration of the sustainability paradigm. The supplied method permits accessing and evaluating information concerning specific behaviors of economic agents such as big companies. In our paper, we have followed the engagements towards sustainability of big corporations, individually or as groups, across the different activity sectors in Portugal and Spain.