SAN ANTONIO—Innovative projects from utilities across the U.S. and including one developed by a non-utility won the 2018 POWERGRID International and DistribuTECH Projects of the Year awards Tuesday. Winners were chosen in four categories and were revealed during the keynote address of DistribuTECH 2018 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Conference Center in San Antonio.
The editors of POWERGRID International—the official publication of the DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition—decided on projects based in New Jersey, Kansas City and California. The winning utilities include Public Service Electric & Gas, Kansas City Power & Light and Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
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.”
The winner for Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Integration was a unique non-utility recipient. Blue Lake Rancheria, a tribal reservation in northern California, was chosen for its microgrid project which operates within the Pacific Gas & Electric service territory.
The Blue Lake Rancheria (BLR) microgrid project was led by the Schatz Energy Research Center, and includes 500 kW of REC solar photovoltaic 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.
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 OSI Soft.
A more detailed article about the 2018 POWERGRID International and DistribuTECH Projects of the Year will be featured in the March issue of the magazine.
For more information on POWERGRID International's Projects of the Year Awards, POWERGRID International magazine, DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition, and the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference, visit our websites at power-grid.com, distributech.com and elp.com.
About POWERGRID International
POWERGRID International magazine, the official publication of DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition, celebrates its 23rd year as the voice of the electric T&D industry in 2018. More than 40,000 T&D professionals read POWERGRID International magazine for expert coverage of the industry's important news and emerging trends.
PennWell, the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based parent company of POWERGRID International (power-grid.com) magazine and Electric Light & Power Executive Digest (elp.com), has been known for providing comprehensive coverage of several strategic markets since 1910. Today PennWell Corp. is a highly diversified, business-to-business media and information company with more than 300 profit centers, including more than 120 print and online magazines and newsletters, 60 conferences and exhibitions on six continents, and an extensive offering of books, maps, websites, research products, digital media and database services.