National Grid recently received regulatory approval to move ahead with two additional demonstration projects, bringing the total to four diverse initiatives that will test various business models in support of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, also known as REV.
Company officials said the demonstration projects include integration of distributed energy resources and automated demand management capabilities at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and introducing solar options in a nearby neighborhood in western New York; business model innovation in developing a community resiliency microgrid within the Village of Potsdam; and more energy cost control for customers in Clifton Park.
“Through these initiatives we are creating the utility of the future,” said Ken Daly, National Grid’s New York president. “What we hear and learn about these demonstrations from our stakeholders–our customers, regulators, policy makers, market participants and local communities–will help inform the way ahead and create an exciting future energy marketplace.”
Carlos Nouel, National Grid’s vice president of New Energy Solutions, said, “Each of our projects will help us build new business models, better serve our customers and create new opportunities for market participants.” Nouel and the New Energy Solutions team are dedicated to delivering the innovations and technologies in the demonstration projects.
The “smart grid” demonstration in Clifton Park will explore various ways to control and reduce electricity demand through customer education. Participating customers will be provided with new metering equipment that will give detailed information on usage, the company said.
With “smart metering” and a customer portal, customers will have direct access to their energy usage information, allowing them to make energy savings changes and earn points for rewards based on reductions in usage. The company will work with the town of Clifton Park and various energy services companies on the project.
National Grid had previously received approvals for two other demonstrations that are now in progress.
The most recent demonstration project approvals include a partnership with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to test how customer-owned energy assets can benefit from, and be a benefit to, the larger electricity grid and marketplace.
The project will link the energy components in place on the medical campus–including on-site generators, automated demand management capabilities and campus demand response programs–to the grid through a network operations center to be created at the BNMC. National Grid will serve as the "distributed system platform," which means the company's infrastructure will connect the BNMC's energy assets to the energy marketplace so that customers' energy needs are met.
Officials said the first is a community solar program in which the company will provide rooftop solar panels to qualified participants in the Fruit Belt neighborhood in Buffalo. The goal is to install solar panels on 100 homes that meet established criteria and that have the consent of the homeowner. The power generated from the systems will be captured in front of the utility meter, aggregated collectively and essentially "sold back "to the electricity market. All proceeds from the electricity sales would benefit the 100 customers and up to 50 other residential customers.
National Grid also is progressing with its community resilience REV demonstration in Potsdam. The project, a partnership with Clarkson University, SUNY Potsdam and General Electric, is examining the feasibility of building a community microgrid to add resiliency and efficiency to the area's electricity grid. During emergencies, the microgrid would separate from the electricity system and provide power to the campuses and local emergency response facilities, including fire, police, and hospital centers.
The conceptual design of the microgrid is nearing completion and the project team has begun planning for the detailed design phase.