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New York Smart Grid Consortium partners with Puerto Rico utility

By on April 26, 2018

SAN JUAN – The New York State Smart Grid Consortium (NYSMGC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) and ProsumerGrid Inc. to assist with the island’s long-term grid planning efforts.

Since most of Puerto Rico’s power grid collapsed after the island was struck by hurricanes Irma and María, Prepa has focused on completing electric service restoration and modernizing its infrastructure to make it stronger. However, communities and organizations are forming cooperatives to buy and manage their own electric grids.

Prepa recently began the process of developing a new integrated resource plan (IRP) to meet those goals using its own experts and outside consultants. A regulatory energy framework and public policy is said to be in development by the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), which is composed of governors and state legislators from 16 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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“Under the MOU, the NYSSGC and ProsumerGrid are helping PREPA analyze a broad set of options to maximize 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,” according to a recent release.

Under the MOU, the New York consortium–which is a non-profit, public-private partnership that combines utilities, technology providers, policy makers and research institutions to identify opportunities for modernizing grids–will use Prepa distribution and transmission system data to evaluate possible scenarios by using software to identify solutions that can make the island’s grid more reliable and resilient.

Atlanta-based ProsumerGrid will serve as a consultant to the consortium and will use the Distributed System Operator (DSO) Simulation Studio software platform, which it designed through a grant provided by the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The software provides simulations for energy distribution and transmission that can include distributed energy resources (DERs) and smart grid subsystems such as microgrids, aggregators and so-called prosumers, or consumers who produce and consume energy.

“Redesigning and modernizing Puerto Rico’s electric system will go well beyond rebuilding the previously existing grid infrastructure or randomly adding more renewable resources,” the consortium’s executive director, Jim Gallagher, says in a release.

“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 honored to play a key role in this vitally important effort,” he added.

Microgrid equipment is seen at the National Wind Technology Center in Colorado in this screen capture of (Photo courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Lab)

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