EPRI to Unveil Energy-Efficiency Research Aimed at Transitioning to a Smart Grid System

February 01, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will launch Dynamic Energy Management (DEM), a major energy-efficiency research initiative that will begin to address the near-term needs of utilities and other stakeholders to plan, invest in, and implement technologies that facilitate the transition to a smart power delivery, operation, load management, and end-use system.

As part of the initiative, representatives from more than 35 electric utilities will meet with EPRI to create a collaborative that will address such issues as electricity savings, demand reductions, and peak load management. The goal is to improve energy efficiency by using the latest technology, thereby reducing electricity usage and greenhouse gas emissions. The new program will focus on three key areas: analytics and information on the economic and environmental impact of dynamic energy management; infrastructure component and system testing and development; and smart, efficient end-use device and equipment development, targeting the identification and influencing the design and deployment of equipment that has the highest impact on energy efficiency and demand response.

"The DEM initiative represents a major step forward in developing an electricity system that is more efficient and environmentally friendly," said Arshad Mansoor, Vice President of EPRI’s Power Delivery and Markets Sector. "We will evaluate products to determine how well they function and whether they are interoperative with utilities’ communications systems. This is a key component in creating demand response and dynamic systems that facilitate getting prices to devices."

This assessment will require the creation of a "living laboratory", a real-world demonstration project, which EPRI has agreed to host at its research facility in Knoxville, Tennessee. Among the items that the laboratory will examine are: high-efficiency energy end use devices; internet protocol- (IP-) addressable electrical devices; control systems to optimize performance and match it with demand; two-way communications to allow automated control of devices in response to pricing or emergency demand reduction signals; dynamic systems that allow real-time integration of consumers’ building energy systems into system and market operations; and an evaluation of the efficacy of commercial and retail devices in working with electric utilities.