Puerto Rico update: Partnership to boost grid planning effort


The New York State Smart Grid Consortium (NYSSGC) has entered into a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and ProsumerGrid, Inc., to assist with Puerto Rico’s long term grid planning efforts.

When Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, it caused severe power outages across the island, knocking out the entire system.

Due to significant efforts by PREPA and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the New York Power Authority, and other cooperating entities, over 95% of PREPA’s customers now have electrical service, but there were extended outages, and there still are remote areas that are without power.

Puerto Rico is focused on completing electric service restoration as well as being engaged in long-term planning to modernise the electric grid, increase its efficiency, meet environmental objectives, and improve reliability and resilience in the face of severe weather events.

PREPA has recently started to process the development of a new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to meet those needs. The IRP will reflect the work of PREPA’s own experts, independent experts retained by PREPA, and the input of other stakeholders.

Under the MOU, the NYSSGC and ProsumerGrid are taking a key step in helping PREPA analyse a broad set of options to maximise the benefits of future critical infrastructure investments.

The NYSSGC has agreed to offer its services pro bono.

More specifically, under the MOU, the NYSSGC will use PREPA distribution and transmission system data to evaluate multiple possible scenarios incorporating a broad range of advanced technology and system redesign options.

The goal will be to identify preferred system design solutions to modernise the island’s electric grid and make it more reliable, resilient and sustainable.

ProsumerGrid, of Atlanta, Georgia, will serve as consultant to the Consortium and will utilise the Distributed System Operator (DSO) Simulation Studio software platform, designed by ProsumerGrid, in collaboration with the Consortium.

This innovative simulation tool has been developed through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), and provides integrated simulation capabilities for both the distribution and transmission systems with potentially large amounts of distributed energy resources (DERs) and smart grid subsystems such as microgrids, aggregators, and prosumers (consumers who both produce and consume energy).

“Redesigning and modernising Puerto Rico’s electric system will go well beyond rebuilding the previously existing grid infrastructure or randomly adding more renewable resources,” noted Jim Gallagher, NYSSGC Executive Director.

“There are a number of complex and structural issues that must be addressed to support strategic resiliency, economic, and environmental objectives. With its track record of supporting comprehensive and innovative energy initiatives, such as New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), and with the assistance of ProsumerGrid, the Consortium is in a prime position to provide assistance to PREPA and is honored to play a key role in this vitally important effort.”