Utilities get involved
Grid-intelligence strategies vary across the country because
each state has its own resources, needs and preferences.
“I think this is a good thing because states are taking these
local factors into consideration when taking action on grid mod-
ernization,” Proudlove said. “It offers an opportunity to test
out different approaches and for states to
learn from each other.”
In the case of energy storage, states
still face the challenge of integrated
resource planning (IRP). IRP exam-
ines the hourly energy levels, but some
benefits of storage can be gained at a sub-
hourly level. For that reason, some states
are investigating an IRP process revision
to better understand the costs and ben-
efits of energy storage.
“I think we will also see these efforts
move to new states that haven’t yet taken action on grid modernization, as technology costs come down and they have an
opportunity to evaluate the approaches taken by other states,"
Utilities are shouldering much of the effort. California’s
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has enacted a grid-modernization
plan to take advantage of funds from the California Public
Utility Commission through its Electric Program Investment
Projects such as these require financial commitment.
PG&E’s Grid Modernization Plan includes an annual capital investment of $2 billion over a rolling five-year period to
modernize and improve PG&E’s electric transmission and distribution system. Modernization efforts
will take place across the entire system,
which supports 15 million people and
covers a 70,000-square-mile service area
in northern and central California.
The utility plans to optimize existing
grid assets and prepare for emerging
technologies to design and demonstrate
grid operations of the future, said Mike
Bianco, grid operations solutions vice
president, BRIDGE Energy Group.
Part of this effort is the synchrophasor
project known as Synchrophasor Technology Realization,
partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. BRIDGE
Energy is designing and building the synchrophasor network
architecture, which allows PG&E to monitor power system
behavior using phasor measurement units. The devices take
grid measurements to identify and analyze vulnerability and
potentially prevent power failures.
Utilities and states are
to modernize their grids
specific to each region
vary across the country
because each state has its
own resources, needs