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National Grid Drives Innovation through REV Demonstration Projects

Jul 02, 2015

Diverse proposals deliver new technologies, strategic partnerships, customer options

National Grid is driving innovation and creating the utility of the future through four proposed demonstration projects that will integrate clean energy, harness new technologies, and deliver new options – and more control – for customers. The proposed projects have been submitted to state regulators as part of the New York Public Service Commission’s proceeding on Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV. They focus on three distinct geographic regions with very different customer needs. The projects will test hypotheses that are expected to lead to scalable solutions and reinvigorate the existing energy delivery business model.

“We are experiencing an unprecedented time in the energy industry as we, along with our customers, stakeholders and partners begin to create the utility of the future,” said Ken Daly, National Grid’s New York president. “It’s important for us to listen to the marketplace so that we invest in what the market needs tomorrow and well into the future. What we hear and learn about our demonstration projects from our stakeholders – our customers, regulators, policymakers, market participants and local communities – will inform the way ahead and help create an exciting future energy marketplace.”

He added, “Once approved, these demonstration projects will be a living laboratory for the type of innovation, investment and community engagement that will be the hallmark of the energy industry going forward. They represent our commitment to help shape new energy policy in New York while listening to and aligning with our key stakeholders.”

Ed White, National Grid’s vice president of New Energy Solutions, said the proposed demonstration projects include integration of distributed energy resources and automated demand management capabilities at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and introducing solar options in a nearby neighborhood in Western New York; business model innovation in developing a community resiliency microgrid within the Village of Potsdam in Northern New York; and new product and service offerings and more predictable energy bills in Clifton Park in Eastern New York.

"Each of our proposed projects will help us build new business models, better serve our customers and create new opportunities for market participants,” White said. White and the New Energy Solutions team will be dedicated to delivering the innovations and technologies in the demonstration projects.

Two Proposed Western New York Demonstration Projects: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and Neighborhood Solar

In Western New York, the company will partner with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to test the integration of distributed energy resources and dynamic load management. The medical campus, which includes Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the University at Buffalo and Kaleida Health, is a consortium of the region's premier healthcare, research and medical education institutions, located on 120 acres in downtown Buffalo. This part of the proposal will test how National Grid can integrate customer-owned energy resources to manage system demands. Additionally, a companion demonstration project with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus includes developing and integrating neighborhood solar options in the predominantly low- to moderate-income residential area immediately adjacent to the medical campus. This demonstration will determine the best ways to increase solar penetration and energy efficiency adoption in communities that could potentially be underserved by third-party market participants.

Proposed Northern New York Demonstration Project: Community Resiliency

In Northern New York, National Grid has launched an innovative energy partnership with Clarkson University, SUNY Potsdam and others, to examine the feasibility of building a community microgrid to add resiliency and efficiency to the area’s electricity grid. In emergencies, the microgrid would separate from the electricity system and independently provide power to the campuses and to local police, fire, hospital and emergency response facilities. The demonstration project will introduce business model innovation to the development of a community resiliency microgrid.

Proposed Eastern New York Demonstration Project: Clifton Park - Customer Options and Control

In Eastern New York, the proposed Clifton Park demonstration project will incorporate intelligent and automated systems so that residential and small commercial customers can actively monitor and control energy consumption. The project will offer customers more predictable energy bills, and opportunities to better manage energy usage and new energy technologies such as state-of-the-art home appliances, smart thermostats and home solar energy. The initiative is intended to improve reliability and reduce energy consumption for approximately 15,000 area customers.

Real-time Feedback, Critical Partnerships, Market Animation

“We expect the diverse initiatives and innovations offered in our demonstration projects to provide customers and strategic partners with data, metrics and analytics that will open the door to new successes, opportunities, and efficiency and reliability enhancements,” White said. “We are grateful for the support of our customers and strategic partners. Together, we are building the energy delivery system of the future.” White said feedback collected from the projects will inform how National Grid will:

  • Better serve customers
  • Align with strategic partners to deliver innovation
  • Measure customer interest, engagement and support of options, opportunities and new pricing models
  • Execute the new Distributed System Platform
  • Effectively integrate distributed energy resources into the existing infrastructure, and
  • Advance regulatory changes and effective rate design

"It’s a very exciting time to be in the energy industry,” White said. “With the help of customers, strategic partners, communities and regulators, we plan to advance America’s natural gas and electricity infrastructure beyond its 20th century limitations to create an energy network that is more customer-centric, resilient, agile, efficient and environmentally sound.”

National Grid expects the PSC to render a decision on the demonstration project proposals in the coming weeks.