Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has selected Smarter Grid Solutions’ ANM Strata software to explore how the Arizona utility can provide more choices and better service to customers who invest in grid-connected electric vehicles (EV), smart appliances, rooftop solar arrays and battery storage systems.
Project “RAIN” (Resource Aggregation and Integration Network) is an effort to understand how distributed energy resources (DER) such as solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays may be combined productively with flexible loads, including batteries, EV charging points and smart home technology, to both dynamically support the grid when needed, and to operate in a way that provides the most benefit and operational flexibility to the utility’s customers.
For the technology needed to underpin the project, TEP selected SGS’ ANM Strata system after an evaluation of candidate DER management systems.
Pete Maltbaek, General Manager North America at SGS, said: “Project RAIN has industry-wide significance and SGS is pleased to be able to work with TEP on this. The ANM Strata system allows TEP to examine the practical capabilities of individual and aggregated DER and the potential for customer engagement in supporting the grid. The flexibility of the system also allows the team to study strategies for integrating DER management into utility grid operations within the practical challenges of both communicating and coordinating multiple, diverse devices with very different operating characteristics.”
Project RAIN, which includes a large advisory group of industry experts and other observers, is nearing completion. “We are excited about the results being shared later this year,” Mr. Maltbaek added: “Our ANM Strata system is already widely deployed in Europe and also at other utilities in the US, where one of the primary use cases is DER coordination and management to help avoid costly infrastructure upgrades in places that DER become widely connected, known as ‘non-wires alternatives’.”
TEP has made significant progress towards achieving its goal to generate 30 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2030, twice the state-mandated requirement of 15 percent by 2025. In addition to the integration of large-scale wind and solar systems, TEP’s customers are increasingly adopting distributed energy resources through programs and third-party providers. Use of these devices, which are connected to local distribution networks instead of transmission infrastructure, is expected to proliferate, creating the need for coordinated management systems such as ANM Strata.