DOE grant to help develop ‘grid of the future’

Rocky Mountain Power’s innovative Wattsmart Battery program transforms thousands of intermittent rooftop solar systems, such as the one on Soleil Lofts Apartments in Herriman, Utah, pictured here, into firm dispatchable grid assets.

SALT LAKE CITY — Rocky Mountain Power has been named as a recipient of a $6.42 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to help develop a “connected community” in Utah. The money will be used to implement advanced grid solutions along with gathering data and conducting analysis that will help produce a long-term plan to build out a sustainable power grid for the energy needs for the next generation.

“This is about developing the ‘grid of the future.’ We want to keep costs down while integrating clean resources that reduce carbon emissions and allow for greater reliability and resiliency,” explained James Campbell, Director of Innovation and Sustainability for Rocky Mountain Power. “Since we’re enhancing the way we operate the grid while integrating renewables, we’re going to need solutions like this to make it happen. The end result is to keep the lights on and have the customers not notice.”

The project will establish a connected community, which will be a group of grid-interactive efficient buildings with diverse, flexible end-use equipment and other distributed energy resources that collectively work to maximize building, community and grid efficiency, while meeting occupants’ comfort and needs.

Giv Group, Utah Transit Authority, Utah State University, University of Utah and Packsize number among the project participants that are collaborating on this innovative work. Over the next five years, energy and innovation experts will work to develop actionable recommendations to move electricity production into the decades ahead, with Rocky Mountain Power and Utah leading the way forward. 

“This project will help lead us to the next level of long-term, sustainable energy generation,” said Regan Zane, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Utah State University. “Collaborative efforts like this bring together creative, visionary ideas from multiple sources that result in innovative solutions that will serve communities in Utah and elsewhere in the years to come.”