SMUD wins DOE power grid resilience grant


The Department of Energy awarded the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) $600,000 to install smart grid technologies that will make the SMUD grid more adaptable to adversity.

The Grid Resilience Grant helps fund half of SMUD’s $1.2 million Resilient Grid Initiative that is designed to make SMUD’s distribution system more adaptable to major disasters and reduce the effects of climate change through the installation and operation of high-voltage (69 kilovolt) switches and the implementation and operation of voltage optimization measures.

These measures will increase the carrying capacity of the system during major natural disasters and other emergencies.

The grant extends and expands capabilities brought to SMUD from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Smart Grid program, through which SMUD received more than $127 million in DOE funds in the fall of 2009. That grant helped SMUD install more than 600,000 smart meters and develop and deliver its smart grid programs.

Specifically, SMUD’s Resilient Grid Initiative will utilize commercial and emerging smart-grid technologies to increase reliability, improve grid efficiency and to make the grid more resilient to natural disasters, cyberattack and other emergency events. All the installed technologies will have the potential to be replicated in other utility systems across North America.

SMUD’s Resilient Grid Initiative emphasizes sectionalization—the isolation of affected parts of the grid in an emergency. SMUD will use advanced real-time remote monitoring switches and fault indicators that include voltage monitoring and control for distributed generation technologies like solar. The grant will also be used for advanced training of SMUD operations and line personnel.

The Resilient Grid Initiative also emphasizes installing advanced voltage optimization technologies at the neighborhood transformer voltage level that stabilize the grid and make it more efficient. This will deliver improved power factor and reduce peak demand through reduced customer energy consumption.

SMUD continues developing a highly complex bidirectional, data-driven system to meet customers’ expectations, which are becoming ever more diverse in the use of power. With the deployment of distributed generation, the need to maintain reliability and quality standards in the face of sophisticated security threats is a primary emphasis.

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