US utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) partnered with energy technology firm Enphase for rollout of a smart energy pilot project in two cities in California.Under the project, PG&E aims to test how it’s Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) can be used to operate, maintain and monitor distributed energy resources in real time in San Jose and Fresno cities.
The utility will integrate smart micro-inverters developed by Enphase with residential consumer’s solar arrays. PG&E will make use of its DERMS for grid management and voltage optimisation.
In addition to its micro-inverters, Enphase will also provide its gateways and cloud-based grid optimisation services. PG&E customers will voluntarily participate in the programme and will receive incentives and advanced equipment from Enphase.
[quote] The project is partly funded under the Electric Programme Investment Charge (EPIC).
Under the EPIC, PG&E receives funding from the California Energy Commission to implement smart grid technology pilots and deployment programmes.
In a press statement, PG&E said the main aim of the pilot is to increase the integration of power from renewable energy sources into the grid as well as to increase the overall operational efficiencies of the entire grid system.
Envoy-S Raghu Belur, vice president of products and strategic initiatives at Enphase, said: "[the] microinverters will provide real-time intelligence from those assets as well as allow coordinated control to increase grid reliability and ultimately deliver better service to PG&E customers." [PG&E and SolarCity partner to boost grid stability].
Real time energy management
Efforts by the power utility to enhance its grid management and reliability by deploying various technologies from multiple companies follows a late 2015's establishment of a new facility on the West Coast to increase "visualisation and awareness" of electricity activity in real time.
PG&E said its $40 million complex will monitor power operations for about 3.1 million customers in the Bay Area and Central Coast.
Known as the Concord, the complex is one of three electricity control centers for PG&E and will work in tandem with the utility's smart meter system, explained director of PG&E's business applications organisation Gary Cassilagio.
"Our new electricity control centres are very scalable, so they can allow us to keep up with the increasing needs of the power grid as it becomes more complex." [Distributed energy: Landis+Gyr unveils new platform for utilities].
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