POWERGRID International - Projects of the Year

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by Kristen Wright, senior Editor

The editors at POWERGRID International magazine—the official publication of DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition—announced the magazine's 2014 Projects of the Year in late January during the Electric Light & Power and POWERGRID International Awards Dinner in San Antonio.

The winners of the 2014 POWERGRID International Projects of the Year awards were selected in four specific categories: Demand Response/Energy Efficiency, Customer Engagement, Renewable Energy Integration and Smart Grid.

Demand Response / Energy Efficiency

The winner of the Demand Response/Energy Efficiency Project of the Year is Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) for its Energy Wise Rewards program.

The winner of the POWERGRID International Demand Response/Energy Efficiency Project of the Year is Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) for its Energy Wise Rewards program.
The winner of the POWERGRID International Demand Response/Energy Efficiency Project of the Year is Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) for its Energy Wise Rewards program.

With plans to reach some 380,000 customer end points across four states with different energy-efficiency policies, PHI's Energy Wise Rewards is one of the largest demand response programs in the nation.

Five years after it was launched with help from Comverge, a provider of demand response solutions to utilities, Energy Wise Rewards has helped PHI reduce energy use and costs, improve reliability, and protect the environment by enabling the utility to control more than 2,300 MW of energy.

The program was designed so participants could choose to take part through either a Web-programmable thermostat or outdoor switch. The Web-programmable thermostat can be controlled manually or remotely through the Internet and offers up to four time periods for each day of the week.

Similarly, the outdoor switch is a small device installed outside near the customer's central air conditioner compressor. Once enrolled, customers participate in the program to reduce electricity use by allowing the utility to cycle central air conditioners off and on for short periods during peak use.

Participating subsidiary customers at Pepco, Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric have been able to take more control over their energy use, save money on their energy costs, and easily participate in a successful energy management program in PHI's Energy Wise Rewards.

The runner-up was PSE&G and Trinitas Regional Medical Center for the PSE&G Hospital Efficiency Program at Trinitas Regional Medical Center.

Customer Engagement

The winner of the Customer Engagement Project of the Year is Consolidated Edison for the coolNYC program, a residential demand response program that helps alleviate stress on the electricity grid during summer peak demand in New York City. The city has more than 6.5 million room air conditioning units (RACs), which account for 20 percent of summer demand.

The winner of the Customer Engagement Project of the Year is Consolidated Edison for the coolNYC program.
The winner of the Customer Engagement Project of the Year is Consolidated Edison for the coolNYC program.

In 2011, Consolidated Edison partnered with ThinkEco to create a program that enables the aggregation of RAC loads into a centralized command and control resource. The pair created the smartAC technology platform, which retrofits these air conditioners with easy-to-use hardware, software and a cloud-based architecture that networks them to allow the RACs to be controlled over the Internet by a computer, tablet or smart phone. The platform also comes with a wireless thermostat that permits consumers and Consolidated Edison to regulate the RAC temperatures and balance customer comfort with load shedding during grid emergencies.

Customers who participate in coolNYC receive regular e-newsletters about the impact of the program and $15 gift cards at the conclusion. Enrolled customers collectively generate nearly a megawatt with their RACs and achieved a 22 percent reduction in energy usage over Con Edison's six demand response events that totaled 30 hours during summer 2013.

CoolNYC used local environmental groups to inform members about the program, coordinated events in specific neighborhoods and marketed with targeted emails. Installation rates increased from the 2012 program, and demand response participation rates hit nearly 70 percent across all events.

The customer service team also encouraged participants to take advantage of the smartAC kit's automation and remote control capabilities. The coolNYC program saw a 31 percent growth in iPhone app downloads as a result. And more than 73 percent of users took advantage of the Web application, logging in at least once throughout the summer.

CoolNYC's user-interactive program results website received more than 2,500 unique page views during its first week, and 45 percent of users completed the year-end survey within 24 hours after it was posted.

The runners-up were Pepco and Delmarva Power for their 2 Ways to Save Program.

Renewable Energy Integration

The winner of the Renewable Energy Integration Project of the Year is Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) for its Smart Islanding program.

The winner of the Renewable Energy Integration Project of the Year is Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) for its Smart Islanding program.
The winner of the Renewable Energy Integration Project of the Year is Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) for its Smart Islanding program.

FPL has installations with distributed energy resources, which are synchronous machines that generate power from land fill gas. To trip the distributed energy resources to comply with IEEE 1547, FPL uses an islanding system with synchrophasor technology to detect islanding conditions and trip the distributed energy resources in the stipulated time. The principal vendor is Schweitzer Engineering Labs.

The Port Charlotte Landfill Generator connection to an existing FPL feeder was one of the first installations of this new protection scheme. In addition to using the synchrophasor technology to detect islanding conditions, radio communication was implemented between the sites—about 5 miles—further lowering the costs of the interconnect. The original protection scheme standard used only fiber communications, which is much less susceptible to loss of channel, but it can have a significantly larger installation cost.

The islanding system using synchrophasor technology is FPL's standard protection package for any distributed generator larger than 3 MW. The system offers great protection for FPL, its existing customers, as well as the new generation interconnect. The communication medium used is flexible. The distribution system topology can change and grow over time, and the system will not be affected by the changes.

Finally, the system uses standard relay components so the cost of installation no longer is a consideration on the viability of the project.

The runner-up was PSE&G for its Hackensack Solar Farm.

Smart Grid

The winner of the Smart Grid Project of the Year is FPL for its Reaping the Benefits of the Smart Grid Project.

The winner of the POWERGRID International Smart Grid Project of the Year is FPL for its Reaping the Benefits of the Smart Grid Project.
The winner of the POWERGRID International Smart Grid Project of the Year is FPL for its Reaping the Benefits of the Smart Grid Project.

In March 2013, FPL completed one of the most ambitious smart grid projects in the country when it wrapped up an $800 million program nine months ahead of schedule. Just three years earlier, FPL announced its Energy Smart Florida project and was one of only six utilities to receive a $200 million grant from the DOE. Today, these technology investments, which include the installation of 4.5 million smart meters, are making it possible for FPL to improve its service reliability while giving customers more control over their energy usage. Major suppliers include General Electric, Honeywell and Silver Spring Networks.

By the end of 2012, FPL had installed more than 10,000 intelligent devices on its T&D grid and added enhanced digital technology to nearly 600 substations. The new sensors and monitors installed on transformers, breakers and battery banks are helping the company determine the health of the equipment and predict potential issues before they disrupt service to customers.

Smart meters help support the company's more than 99.98 percent service reliability. Smart technology deployment throughout FPL's 35-county service area has enabled the company to identify outages and help diagnose their causes and restore power more efficiently. In 2012, the process improvement resulted in savings of $3.4 million in productivity and an average annual reduction of 4.3 million minutes of power interrupted.

FPL also is putting the smart grid in the hands of field restoration crews by developing mobile applications such as the Restoration Spatial View, or RSV. The tool combines outage tickets, weather information, electrical network information, customer energy consumption and voltage, restoration crew location, meter status and more, all layered on a map view. Another tool FPL developed is the smart meter Event Processing Engine to use the meters' power on and off messages to proactively generate outage tickets without customer input. FPL piloted the application in 2012 and deployed the technology throughout the territory in June 2013. Since the launch, FPL has created more than 19,000 outage tickets for transformers and lateral devices.

The runners-up were Oncor Electric Delivery and the Department of Energy for their Dynamic Line Rating Smart Grid Demonstration Project.

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