Co-ops develop smart grid and renewable energy evaluation tool
Electric cooperatives and other utilities will soon have a customizable set of tools that will help decision-makers determine the potential value of adding smart grid components and renewable energy to their distribution feeders.
The Cooperative Research Network’s (CRN) Open Modeling Framework will enable electric co-op and other utility planners to make projections about the impact of solar panels and other emerging technologies on their distribution systems.
“We’ve developed an online platform that will house many engineering and economic models,” said Robbin Christianson, Director of Program Operations for NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network.
“We can develop load models at a tremendous level of detail,” said Craig Miller, a CRN Technical Liaison and a consultant to NRECA on smart grid technology. “We’re talking about the capability of looking at loads down to the level of an individual light bulb in a house.”
Residential developers, working with a co-op or other utility on subdivisions featuring renewable energy resources, could use the data to determine whether a community solar installation might be more efficient than rooftop panels.
The Open Modeling Framework has been developed through CRN’s smart grid demonstration project, supported by NRECA, 23 electric co-ops including several Illinois electric co-ops and the Department of Energy.
Source: Electric Co-op Today, Derrill Holly