The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s)
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy
Reliability will allocate $900,000 in ear-ly-stage research on risk and uncertainty
within the power system.
The funding will help three universities
do work on reliability issues. The investment is part of the Energy Department’s
Grid Modernization Initiative. The three
recipients are Penn State University, the
University of Utah and Virginia Tech.
PENN STATE UNIVERSITY
Penn State University’s effort is called
“A Multistage Stochastic Transmission
Expansion Algorithm for Wide-area Planning
under Uncertainty.” The team will focus on
developing a “novel computational method”
for solving uncertainty in transmission plans
for a large power system network.
Penn State researchers will develop algo-
rithms, software tools and demonstration
tests on working systems such as Western
Interconnection or PJM Interconnection.
The project is expected to result in a dra-
matic reduction in the computation time
required for solving challenges for trans-
mission lines when it’s not known where
future generation choices will be located.
DOE is investing $174,061 for the project, while the cost share will be $54,258.
Final award amounts for all projects are
subject to negotiation.
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
At the University of Utah, researchers will
use the DOE funds to develop models for
stochastic continuous-time unit commitment (UC) in wholesale market operations.
The proposed UC will accurately model
the continuous-time variations of load and
renewable energy sources (RES), and efficiently deploy the ramping capability of
flexible resources to compensate the sources
of variability and uncertainty in markets—
all while respecting the continuous-time
flow constraints of transmission networks.
The approach will model the uncertainty
DOE ALLOCATES $900,000 TOWARD UNIVERSITY GRID RESEARCH
Sacramento Municipal Utility District
(SMUD) and GridX Inc. will partner to
roll out a new bill scenario analysis tool
that will allow SMUD’s customer service
representatives (CSRs) to help customers
learn more about how the transition to
time-of-day rates will impact their bills.
GridX is a provider of big data billing
and billing quality analytics solutions for
energy companies using smart grid infra-
structure. Its technology enables utilities to
design, promote and operate new energy
products and programs.
Under a traditional tiered rate system,
bills are calculated based on the volume of
energy customers use. Under time-of-day
rates, when customers use energy will be
just as important as how much they use.
After SMUD transitions all customers
to time-of-day plans by the end of 2019,
about 44 percent of customers will pay
less over the course of a year than they
do under the current system, even if they
make no changes to their energy use. About
49 percent of customers will pay about $2
more per month on average under the new
plan, and about 8 percent will pay about
$6.80 more per month. If these customers
adjust when they use energy, they may be
able to reduce their bills and save money
on a time-of-day plan.
The new bill scenario analysis tool will
allow a SMUD CSR to accurately calculate a
specific customer’s bills on a new rate. It will
also allow the CSR to discuss various energy
use scenarios with the customer and calcu-
late how his or her bill will be impacted by
shifting energy use to different time periods,
adding or removing programs, deploying
rooftop solar, adding an electric vehicle or
possibly switching to SMUD’s fixed rate
option. The bill scenarios are personalized
to each customer and calculated in real time
while customers are on the phone.
“As we transition our customers to
time-of-day rates, we want to help them
learn as much as possible about how
their bill may be impacted and what they
can do to control their energy costs,” said
Nicole Howard, SMUD’s chief customer
officer. “By working with GridX, we’ll be
able to roll out an accurate, responsive
tool that will allow us to provide specific
numbers to our customers so they can
make informed choices.”
SMUD, GRIDX TEAM UP ON NEW TIME-OF-DAY BILLING TOOL
6 | September 2017