Microgrid on California Tribal Reservation Among Projects of the Year Winners at DistribuTECH

microgrid
Teresa Hansen, Editor in Chief of POWERGRID International and conference chairwoman for DistribuTECH. Credit: PennWell Corp.

A microgrid at Blue Lake Rancheria, a tribal reservation in northern California, was the winner of the Distributed Energy Resource Integration 2018 POWERGRID International and DistribuTECH Project of the Year in San Antonio, Texas, today.

The microgrid operates within the Pacific Gas & Electric service territory and was led by the Schatz Energy Research Center. It includes 500 kW of REC solar PV and a 950-kWh Tesla battery storage system controlled by the Siemens Microgrid Management System. Funded by the Tribe and the California Energy Commission's Electric Program Investment Charge to demonstrate a low-carbon, community-scale microgrid, the project increases the stability and resilience of the distribution grid and provides emergency power for a regional American Red Cross shelter.

Teresa Hansen, Editor in Chief of POWERGRID International and conference chairwoman for DistribuTECH, said this year's awards reflect the changing nature of smart grid dynamics.

"The grid is becoming ever more technically complicated and diffused with things like sensoring, AMI data analysis and distributed energy resources," Hansen said. "This year's winners prove that the next era of the smart grid is now. It's becoming less controlled in the traditional way, as proven by the fact we have a non-utility winner for the first time in memory. And, of course, the utilities themselves are working hard and successfully to embrace the challenges of the more demanding times."

Public Service Electric & Gas won the Grid Optimization Project of the Year for its Energy Strong Advanced Technologies D-SCADA Program. The New Jersey utility enacted the project as a post-Sandy response to storm impacts, expanding the use of microprocessor relays on the distribution feeders and deploying a distribution SCADA master station, among other improvements.

The winner for Demand Response/Energy Efficiency Project of the Year is Kansas City Power & Light's Residential and Small Business Demand Response program. KCP&L leveraged the two-way capabilities of the Nest Learning thermostats to create an energy savings program reducing consumption as much as 1.26 kW and 462 kWh per installed device.

KCP&L's partners on the Residential and Small Business Demand Response program included Nest and CLEAResult.

Customer Engagement Project of the Year is Sacramento Municipal Utility District's Distribution Operations Transformation. SMUD identified new ways of using smart meters and data analytics to improve communications, with customer-initiated power quality claims decreasing by 27.5 percent in the first full year of implementation.

SMUD's partners on the Distribution Operations Transformation included Silver Spring Networks (now part of Itron), Landis+Gyr, Hexagon and OSIsoft.

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