Knoxville, TN, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- February 4, 2011 - Two new utility partners - CenterPoint and Hydro-Québec – have joined the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) Smart Grid Demonstration Initiative, bringing the number of participating utilities to twenty.

Further, the project has been extended through 2014 and additional new members will be accepted through 2011.

The Smart Grid Demonstration Initiative is a five-year collaborative research effort focused on addressing the prevalent challenges to integrating distributed energy resources into the grid and market operations to create a “virtual power plant,” with participating utilities in the U.S., Canada, France and Ireland.

For 2011, the top priority research topics for collaboration across the host sites have been selected as:

  • Conservation voltage reduction (CVR) and Volt/VAR optimization (VVO): This topic will focus on documenting CVR/VVO best practices, categorizing benefits, and documenting the requirements for sensors and control devices. Further, there will be some modeling exercises to help understand the system response to CVR/VVO commands.  
  • Distribution management system (DMS) integration and visualization: This topic will focus on surveying the functionality currently in place and developing a “wish list” of desired functionality. The goal is to define what is available and what is desirable in a DMS.
  • Energy storage monetization: This topic will focus on identifying the range of applications to apply energy storage and the quantifiable benefits of each application. Understanding multiple applications and benefits will help to understand how energy storage applications can be “stacked” to achieve multiple benefit streams, and understanding how to apply these will help justify the deployment of the technology.
  • Consumer behavior and engagement: This topic will focus on an accurate evaluation of customer perspectives toward smart grid technologies to further understanding of the customer motivators. There is a need to address what could be interpreted as a lack of customer interest in smart grid technology, and understanding the customer will help drive effective design of industry educational materials.