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Microgrids for Resiliency

Resilience – the ability to withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from utility disruptions while sustaining mission-critical operations – is increasingly a focus for utilities, policy makers, regulators, and community leaders. While some utilities own and operate microgrids to help ensure supply to critical customers and areas, customers such as the Department of Defense and corporate data centers also own and operate microgrids to prevent power disruptions and to mitigate the consequences of outages when they do occur. Whether utility or customer, owners of existing and proposed microgrids could benefit from increased dialogue about the challenges, insights, advice, and lessons learned through deploying and operating microgrids. A key focus is exploring the value that microgrids provide to both utilities and customers.

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Microgrid controllers are a key component of a microgrid. The microgrid controller is used to optimize, manage, and control the DERs within the microgrid boundary as well as controlling how the microgrid as a whole communicates with the larger grid to provide grid services. The content in this document was developed by Southern Company to compile use cases and functionalities for microgrid controllers and outline how they can be operated to meet different needs.

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2021 Topics

A Stakeholders Guide to Electrification

Calls to “electrify everything” are increasingly being heard in the electric power industry as a pathway to a carbon-free future. While most people understand that electrification means shifting any non-electric source of energy to electricity at the point of consumption including transportation, residential and commercial buildings, and industry, few understand the impact this will have on electric distribution systems or the technology, policies, and investments that will be needed to enable wide-spread electrification. Because of the urgency to decarbonize our energy systems, this may be one of the most important challenges facing the electric power industry today.

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The Voices of Experience Series

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence—the development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence—is gaining traction in the electric power industry. Utilities are finding that it has potential across the utility value chain including customer operations, smart grid, outage management, asset management, supply chain and market operations to name a few. At the same time, there are barriers for utilities that will pose challenges—at least in the near term. This Voices of Experience will help utilities understand how artificial intelligence may help improve their operations, where the challenges are and what other utilities are learning through their own experience. Download the full report: Click here.

AMI in Review: Informing the Conversation

Numerous utility AMI proposals have been approved over the past decade; however, recent years have seen noteworthy denials. Understanding the transformative potential of AMI but not seeking to offer an opinion on state actions, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Grid Research Division (AGR) undertook a phased research study to investigate regulatory applications from various parties’ perspective. The resulting report captures the findings and collective insights gained through an in-depth analysis of public records and conversations with more than 120 individuals from utilities, advocates, and commissions across the U.S. Download the full report: Click here.

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Leveraging AMI Networks and Data

The original business cases for implementing an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) focused on the cost savings that could be achieved from avoided truck rolls and the end of manual meter reading. Now more than a decade since smart meters hit the industry, utilities are learning that the value of AMI goes far beyond logging energy usage. Advanced meters are end-point sensors that provide granular information on system operations enabling utilities to operate more efficiently and on customer energy usage providing opportunities to develop a new relationship with their customers. This report documents how engineers, data analysts, product developers, customer service representatives, and people throughout the organization are digging into the data, pairing it with other data, asking more questions, gaining insights and making data-driven decisions. Download the full report: Click here.

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July 11, 2019 - Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) blogs: "Beyond Billing: Unlocking Value with AMI" - Click here to read.

Integrating Intermittent Resources

From Hawaii to New York utilities are preparing their systems for a growing penetration of customer-sited generation. They are testing and adopting new technology designed to provide better visibility and control; collecting and interpreting the increasing amounts of data needed to plan, forecast and model their future systems; and focusing on their customers - listening and responding like never before - plus streamlining their processes to enable faster interconnections with more transparency. The report documents what utilities are learning about operating differently, streamlining the interconnection process, planning and forecasting with these new resources, understanding hosting capacity, testing advanced inverters, and engaging their customers. Download the full report: Click here.

Advanced Distribution Management Systems

Today, a number of utilities are implementing advanced distribution management systems (ADMS), a software platform that integrates numerous utility systems and provides automated outage restoration and optimization of distribution grid performance. In effect, ADMS transitions utilities from paperwork, manual processes, and siloed software systems to systems with real-time and near-real-time data, automated processes, and integrated systems. The report provides practical advice to assist utilities in deploying an ADMS including insights on making the business case, defining requirements and selecting a vendor, preparing the data, integrating systems, and governing the project. Download the full report: Click here.

Smart Grid Customer Engagement

The success of the Smart Grid will depend in part on consumers taking a more proactive role in managing their energy use, and customer engagement within the electric power industry is an evolving, ongoing process. The report compiles practical advice on the successful approaches used by utilities to engage customers regarding smart grid technology deployments, and includes insights and examples about articulating the vision and guiding principles, developing a customer-centric engagement plan, developing a budget and preparing the business case. Download the full report: Click here.

Please direct your questions to Sonja Berdahl.

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The Department of Energy's Office of Electricity (OE) recognizes that our nation's sustained economic prosperity, quality of life, and global competitiveness depends on an abundance of secure, reliable, and affordable energy resources. OE leads the Department of Energy's efforts to ensure a resilient, and flexible electricity system in the United States. Learn more about OE >>

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