This report provides a progress update for the Southern Company Smart Grid Demonstration Host Site Project, which is part of the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI’s) multi-year Smart Grid demonstration initiative. The EPRI initiative included core Smart Grid research and a number of large-scale Smart Grid projects conducted with 23 funding utility members. The Southern Company Demonstration Project was focused on integrating large-scale distributed energy resources (DER), including demand response, energy storage, distributed generation, and distributed renewable generation, via an Integrated Distribution Management System. The project also sought to improve the efficiency of the distribution grid, test an electronic-based distribution transformer, and investigate the use of, and the grid impact of, electric vehicles.
While demand for both the amount of electricity and the reliability of the electric supply continues to grow, financial pressures on electric utilities continue to mount. Utilities are
finding capital and operating cost constraints on power distribution businesses, while needing to upgrade and enhance operations. Balancing this growing demand with cost control is becoming increasingly complex. As demand grows on the distribution system, Southern Company is expanding its distribution operation capabilities to acquire and act on analytical information, such as system loading, while ensuring power quality, managing appropriate distributed energy resources, and dealing with the pressing concerns of national security. The Southern Company Smart Grid Demonstration Project consisted of many different applications and projects spread across the Southern Company operating footprint. This report provides a progress update on the demonstration projects.
To assist other utilities and stakeholders with understanding emerging technologies and approaches to integrate DER into the distribution grid at Southern Company.
To document each project to show the initial planning phases, the hypotheses for each experiment, the challenges and issues associated with the project, results, and the lessons learned.
To develop business cases for some of the projects to support viability of deploying these projects across the Southern Company service territory.
The progress report documents each of the Smart Grid projects at Southern Company. The report provides an overview, milestones, timeline, EM&V (evaluation, measurement, and verification) plan, hypotheses, results, and conclusions throughout the project, as well as the lessons learned in each project. The progress report was updated and republished periodically throughout the demonstration initiative to inform other utilities of the activities occurring in each of the projects.
Results from the demonstration projects were documented in this report, and also provided via webcast, advisory meetings, and case studies. A baseline for each project was established and compared to the results during the initiative. The experience of operations personnel, integration issues, and lessons learned revealed additional project and technological gaps that will need to be addressed in future research projects or demonstrations.
Applications, Values, and Use
The Southern Company Smart Grid Demonstration Project was part of a larger EPRI multi-year collaborative initiative, with multiple utility participants focused on the integration of distributed energy resources. EPRI provided the expertise for this industry collaboration effort, thus bringing significant value to the members while avoiding duplication of work. This report describes the overall project plan, as well as sub-project plans that were used by one utility to address the challenges of DER integration, distribution system efficiency, management systems integration, and other cutting-edge technologies.