Los Alamos Smart Grid project launched in New Mexico


Los Alamos, NM, U.S.A. and Kyoto, Japan — (METERING.COM) — September 25, 2012 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week to mark the launch of the U.S.-Japan smart grid demonstration in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

The $53 million project is a collaborative effort between Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the New Mexico state government, the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It also includes a consortium of U.S. and Japanese companies.

The project aims for the wider implementation of renewable energy and the promotion of energy conservation through the use of smart grid related technologies. Specifically, the project will show how to provide a high proportion of renewable energy on the electric grid to meet a community’s residential needs, while making the grid more efficient and stable.

The project includes among other elements smart microgrid and smart house demonstrations.

The smart grid facility consists of 2 MW of photovoltaic power constructed on a recently capped landfill (the first in New Mexico), 8.3 MWh of battery storage with state-of-the-art controls, and a smart house equipped with its own photovoltaic and battery system, smart meter and smart appliances. Together they will be used to smooth the output of the PV, maintain voltage requirements under the feeder, and/or to control the power costs faced by Los Alamos County by controlling peak usage.

Electricity from the PV array will provide power to a specific Los Alamos neighborhood of about 2,000 homes on a single circuit. The system will demonstrate the ability to stabilize PV output by reducing or shaving peak system demand by using the battery systems and demand response. In addition, smart meters are being installed at residential sites in Los Alamos, on the same electric circuit served by the power from the PV array. Further installation of 1,800 smart meters is planned.

The Los Alamos Smart Grid is one of two NEDO sponsored projects in New Mexico – the second is at Mesa Del Sol in Albuquerque – and one of five in the New Mexico Green Grid initiative.

The demonstration will be conducted through March 2014 and the gathered data will contribute to further research in this area.