Smart grid: US utilities begin pilot for improved RE integration

US power and gas utilities, NYSEG and RG&E have partnered with Scottish technology company, Smarter Grid Solutions to collaborate on a smart grid pilot.

In a press statement, NYSEG and RG&E said they have purchased Smarter Grid Solutions’ Active Network Management (ANM) for rollout in the utilities’ Flexible Interconnect Capacity Solution (FICS) pilot project.

Renewable Energy Integration

The FICS project aims to demonstrate smart grid applications’ ability to allow integration and monitoring of renewable energy from large scale producers into utilities’ power grids.

Mark S. Lynch, president of NYSEG and RG &E commented: “We’re introducing a transformational technology that can open up the grid to more renewable generation development.”

Lynch added: “It’s an opportunity to spur investment in clean energy resources,” and to support New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) program which aims to generate 50% of state’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.

Under the pilot, NYSEG, RG&E and Smarter Grid Solutions will mainly focus on accommodating electricity generated from solar.

However, Smarter Grid Solutions claim ANM also supports interconnection of wind, hydro and biomass.

Jeff Ballard, vice president for operations technology and business transformation said: “Active Network Management is a transformational technology and has repeatedly reduced grid integration costs by up to 90% for new renewable generator connections, increasing the capacity to accommodate wind and solar by 100-200% and avoiding grid upgrades that can exceed $50 million.”

Active Network Management in Europe

[quote]The selection of Smarter Grid Solutions follows successful rollout of ANM in UK’s Scottish Power Energy’s grid to support faster integration of renewable energy.

“Our partnership with Smarter Grid Solutions reflects the benefits of being part of a global company,” said Bob Kump, CEO of the AVANGRID utilities.

NYSEG and RG&E serving 1.825m electricity and gas consumers in the US are subsidiaries of energy and utility company Avangrid.

In November 2015, Smart Grid Solutions agreed with UK software developer PrismTech to integrate their smart grid solutions to deliver more efficient distribution services.

The agreement allowed Smart Grid Solutions to deploy PrismTech’s Vortex OpenSplice in its Active Network Management (ANM) product portfolio.

Smarter Grid Solutions said it selected Vortex OpenSplice due to its ability to provide high levels of real-time data and system scalability to accommodate far greater numbers of generators – something that Active Network Management alone cannot.

Commenting on the development, Neil McNeill, head of technology at Smarter Grid Solutions, said: “The provenance of Vortex OpenSplice has been invaluable in the evolution of the ANM Platform and operates at the heart of the company’s mission critical systems, currently deployed in both the UK and North America.”

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.