Benefits of grid modernization demonstrated in U.S.


Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — February 23, 2012 – Grid modernization is still in its beginning stages and as such, much of the literature and discussions are based on expected benefits, but quantitative data is becoming increasingly available and concrete examples of demonstrated benefits of grid modernization have been captured, according to a new report from the GridWise Alliance.

These include improvements to electric reliability, energy savings, and customer engagement among others.

The report, Realizing the Value of an Optimized Electric Grid, is aimed to report on the state of grid modernization and to quantify the benefits that are accruing.

Among the demonstrated benefits of smart grid deployments are:

  • Overall energy consumption reductions from 1-2% due to distributed automation volt/VAR control at Oklahoma Gas and Electric to 20% through energy efficiency programs at Pacific Gas and Electric
  • Energy efficiency savings of 2,060 GWh, 357 MW, and 16.8 million Therms at PG&E
  • Outage duration reduction of 33 minutes (47%) to average customer minutes of interruption (CMI) and 18,950 minute reduction of total CMI per circuit from distribution automation at Southern California Edison
  • Reduced/avoided operations and maintenance (O&M) costs of 582 utility service call back to customers or truck rolls at Delmarva Power after Hurricane Irene.

“This is an important time as decision makers look for data from completed projects to ensure that their upcoming initiatives are deployed efficiently and effectively,” commented James W. Morozzi, president and CEO of GridWise Alliance. “This report aims to provide those making decisions with real examples of positive grid transformations occurring around the nation.”

The report identifies six key technical domains that categorize smart grid implementation activities (renewable generation and distributed energy resources integration; grid control and optimization; transportation electrification; customer”side applications; workforce effectiveness; and communication architecture and integration). In addition, five major categories of key benefits and values of grid modernization were indentified (grid reliability and security; customer energy management opportunity; asset and resource optimization; health, safety, and environment; and productivity and economic growth).

However, there are several challenges to a successful and complete optimization of the nation’s electric grid, the report states. These are:

  • Technology readiness
  • Market readiness and risks
  • Realization of potential benefits
  • Impacts of financial support
  • Customer engagement.