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New York consortium helps Puerto Rico modernise grid

Steve Rogerson
May 1, 2018
 
The New York State Smart Grid Consortium (NYSSGC) is to help Puerto Rico’s long-term grid planning efforts following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) and ProsumerGrid.
 
When category-five Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 2017, it caused severe power outages across the island, knocking out the entire system. Due to significant efforts by Prepa and the US Army Corp of Engineers, the New York Power Authority and other cooperating entities, over 95% of Prepa’s customers have electrical service, but there were extended outages, and there still are remote areas that are without power.
 
While the focus is on completing electric service restoration, Puerto Rico is also engaged in long-term planning to modernise the electric grid, increase its efficiency, meet environmental objectives, and improve reliability and resilience in the face of severe weather events. Prepa recently began to develop an integrated resource plan (IRP) to meet those needs. The IRP will reflect the work of Prepa’s experts, independent experts retained by Prepa and the input of other stakeholders.
 
Under the MoU, the NYSSGC and ProsumerGrid are taking a key step in helping Prepa analyse a broad set of options to increase the benefits of future critical infrastructure investments by conducting analyses that will assist Prepa’s planning staff and complement the utility’s upcoming IRP process. The NYSSGC has agreed to offer its services pro bono.
 
More specifically, the NYSSGC will use Prepa distribution and transmission system data to evaluate multiple possible scenarios incorporating a broad range of advanced technology and system redesign options. The goal will be to identify preferred system designs to modernise the island’s electric grid and make it more reliable, resilient and sustainable.
 
ProsumerGrid of Atlanta, Georgia, will serve as consultant to the consortium and will use its DSO distributed system operator simulation studio software platform in collaboration with the consortium. This simulation tool has been developed through a grant provided by the US Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, and provides integrated simulation capabilities for both the distribution and transmission systems with potentially large amounts of distributed energy resources and smart grid subsystems such as microgrids, aggregators and prosumers (consumers who both produce and consume energy).
 
“Redesigning and modernising Puerto Rico’s electric system will go well beyond rebuilding the previously existing grid infrastructure or randomly adding more renewable resources,” said Jim Gallagher, NYSSGC executive director. “There are a number of complex and structural issues that must be addressed to support strategic resiliency, economic and environmental objectives. With its track record of supporting comprehensive and innovative energy initiatives, such as New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), and with the assistance of ProsumerGrid, the consortium is in a prime position to provide assistance to Prepa and is honoured to play a key role in this vitally important effort.”
 
The NYSSGC is a non-profit, public-private partnership that promotes broad statewide implementation of a clean, safe and reliable smart grid. The consortium brings together many of the world’s leading utilities, technology providers, policy makers and research institutions to identify opportunities for accelerating grid modernisation.
 
ProsumerGrid is developing an interactive simulation tool for integration of distributed energy resources and emerging distribution system operator electricity market simulations. Its software is used to simulate the impacts and the viability of massive amounts of distributed energy resources, microgrids, smart grid and markets in emerging electricity systems.