Friday, November 6, 2009

Smart Grid--Where are we now?

Things are probably getting confusing, so here's a handy breakdown of the grants we have been pursuing and where we stand:

(1) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) : This grant has been received by the City of Memphis. Of the $6.76 million awarded to the City of Memphis, $5 million will be distributed through MLGW, largely for low-income residential programs. More information will be available about this soon. This grant does not have anything to do with Smart Grid.

(2) Smart Grid Investment Grant Downtown/Medical Center Grant (Part of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009):
--MLGW is receiving about $5 million in stimulus funds in order to bring automation and reliability improvements to the downtown and medical center areas.

--The total cost of the project is a little over $10 million, with the grant covering half of this total and MLGW providing the other $5 million. This $5 million is in the 2010 MLGW budget.

--This will allow MLGW to monitor circuits and transformers that serve the downtown and Med Center areas.

--This will help with preventative maintenance because we will know more about what is happening with the system at any given time.

--MLGW's SCADA operators will be notified immediately of problems on the system.

--No MLGW employees will be affected by this grant.

(3) Smart Grid Phase II Grant (Also Part of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009):
-- In June 2009, the Department of Energy announced that applications for this grant would be accepted in August 2009, October 2009, and March 2010. They later pushed back the dates for Phase 2 and canceled Phase 3, then recently canceled Phase 2 as well.

--MLGW never got the chance to submit its grant application.

--Because MLGW did not receive this federal funding, there will not be a large-scale implementation of smart meters inside the I-240 loop in 2010.

--MLGW does plan to implement a smaller Smart Grid project that will add 40 automated switches that would help to reduce the number of customers affected by a particular outage. The switches would allow power to be automatically redirected in order to minimize an outage's effect.

--MLGW is targeting those circuits that have had the longest average restoration times for these automated switches.

--At some point in 2010, MLGW will seek 1,000 customer volunteers for a Smart Grid Demo project, in which smart meters would be installed at these customer's homes. There is no particular part of town that is being targeted for this effort right now, though MLGW would prefer concentrated areas or neighborhoods in order to minimize the amount of communications equipment needed.

--These demo volunteers would receive a smart meter that would provide them with hourly information about their energy usage and additional energy saving tools through MLGW's My Account feature online. Customers without Internet access would receive an in-home display that would provide them with energy usage information.

--No MLGW employees would be affected by the Smart Grid Demo.

--In addition to energy usage information, these customers would not have to report outages (they would be automatically detected) and would not be subjected to estimated bills.

--Other utilities such as Chattanooga's Electric Power Board (EPB) that received larger grants were already in the process of implementing Smart Grid enhancements.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...