The smart grid is a suite of customer programs and advanced technology initiatives that will transport us into a new era of energy delivery and customer service. Electric vehicles, smart appliances, energy storage and distributed solar generation are among the technologies being adapted and incorporated into our current infrastructure. This evolution of technology has occurred in every industry; the electric industry is no exception.
The new technologies can help improve efficiency, identify and respond to outages more quickly, and better monitor and control operation of the distribution system. They also can provide customers with innovative programs and pricing options that allow them to monitor and control their own energy use, saving resources and money. Additionally, the way our nation generates electricity is changing rapidly. Deployment of smart grid technology and transmission expansion may help us to address changes in generating capacity.
gridSMART® projects in progress
- AEP Ohio’s Phase 1 gridSMART® demonstration project deployed a comprehensive suite of innovative smart grid technologies on 70 distribution circuits with 132,000 customers in northeast and central Ohio. The $150 million project was funded through a $75 million federal grant, PUCO cost recovery support, and vendor in-kind contributions. AEP Ohio has proposed to extend gridSMART® with a Phase 2 deployment that will be comprised of: Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) for approximately 894,000 customers; Distribution Automation Circuit Reconfiguration (DACR) for approximately 250 priority circuits; and Volt VAR Optimization (VVO) for approximately 50-80 circuits. VVO is a new technology that uses real-time information to control an unbalanced distribution network. Cost recovery of the $295 million project is being proposed through a regulatory rider and is contingent on regulatory approval.
- AEP Texas has deployed 1 million AMI meters as part of a $308 million project being recovered through an approved 11-year surcharge. Additionally, DACR is in the process of being deployed on select circuits.
- Indiana & Michigan Power (I&M) has deployed an AMI network to approximately 10,000 customers. The $7 million project was funded pursuant to a settlement agreement approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. I&M has piloted VVO on nine circuits. VVO is approved by the regulatory commissions in both Indiana and Michigan as energy efficiency programs, where energy savings achieved can be counted toward energy efficiency savings targets. I&M has installed VVO on 21 circuits in Indiana and three circuits in Michigan, with an additional 12 circuits planned for operation in both 2017 and 2018. I&M has upgraded DACR installed on nine circuits with another 15 circuits planned.
- Public Service Oklahoma (PSO) will complete the deployment of over 550,000 AMI meters for all customers in its entire 30,000 square-mile service territory before the end of 2016. The $135 million project is being recovered via a rider. PSO’s initial gridSMART® project included approximately 31,500 customers with AMI; 14,000 of which are served on 13 circuits equipped with VVO and DACR. The project was financed through an $8.75 million American Reinvestment and Recovery Act low-interest loan from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, along with $2 million in annual revenues approved for cost recovery by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. PSO has verified energy savings of over 3 percent for customers where VVO is functioning in a Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR) manner. PSO is designing and engineering 24 additional circuits with CVR enabling technology. This almost $8 million project is being recovered via the energy efficiency rider.
- Kentucky Power Company (KPCo) has deployed VVO on 21 circuits, with another four circuits in process. They are also installing DACR on 14 of the VVO circuits and on five additional circuits. When complete, KPCo will have DACR on 25 circuits serving 27,500 (16 percent) of its 175,000 customers. Distribution SCADA, a computer system for gathering and analyzing real time data, is also being installed on these circuits to provide visibility for dispatchers and remote control of equipment.
- Appalachian Power Company (APCo) has installed three circuits with DACR, is installing the technology on three additional circuits, and is upgrading some circuits with SCADA. Also, APCo is installing VVO on three circuits in the Charleston, West Virginia, area.
- Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) has DACR technology on 26 circuits.
Smart grid programs can improve service quality and reliability, lower energy consumption, and offer additional customer benefits.
AEP is deploying smart grid technologies in several states, with regulatory support.