Smart Grid Business Case Newsletter


Objective smart grid investment news of interest to coop and municipal/public utility executives.

The SGRC was started as a university research and service project at Texas A&M University by its current leader and research director, Dr. Jerry Jackson, to provide support for electric cooperatives, municipal and other public utilities in financial evaluations of smart grid investment options.

In the educational spirit of our beginnings we provide a newsletter series designed to inform utility decision-makers on topices related to financial analysis of smart grid investments.

Scroll down this page to view published newsletters and click on links to read the full articles. Click on the following link if you would like to receive the newsletter by email. Subscriber emails will remain confidential and will be used only for the Newsletter.

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Smart Grid Business Case Newsletter
Smart Grid Investment Briefs for Coop and Public Utility Executives



Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC)                            January/February, 2015


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New Smart Grid Consortium Study Develops Timely, Cost-Effective DR Roadmap

New Technologies/Programs Expand DR for AMI/AMR and Electromechanical Systems

A recently completed Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC) study of utility customer engagement demand response (DR) programs identifies new technologies and opportunities for utilities with both AMI and older AMR and electromechanical metering systems. This information is applied to develop a customer engagement DR roadmap applicable to all utilities.

Newer programs provide avenues for utilities with older metering systems to capture DR benefits and provide interested customers with the most important benefits of an AMI-based system. For example, programmable communicating thermostats that communicate with the utility via WiFi and the internet provide nearly all the functionality of AMI-based systems. Interestingly, these programs can be extremely cost-effective with their ability to target high-value customers.

“Many customer engagement programs can significantly boost returns by revisiting objectives and revising technology and program choices to more effectively match top down requirements and bottom up capabilities,” said Dr. Jerry Jackson, study author and leader of the Smart Grid Research Consortium.

An executive summary of the study, “Developing a Timely, Cost-Effective Customer Engagement Demand Response Strategy: A Roadmap for Utilities with AMI and Older AMR/Electromechanical Metering Systems,” is available Here.
Studies Referenced in Previous Newsletters:

Seven Reasons Why Smart Grid Investment Fail

A new Consortium study cautions electric cooperatives and municipal utilities about pitfalls in achieving expected returns on smart grid investments. The report identifies seven primary reasons why investment returns at coop and public utilities fail to meet utility expectations. These conclusions are drawn from a review of coop and public utility investment outcomes along with SGRC experience gained in 20 business case analyses. The report includes recommendations to ensure smart grid savings meet financial targets.

The report concludes with recommendations for “fast-tracking” certain post-AMI applications to increase investment benefits. The four-page report is available Here.

Low-Cost CVR May Pay for Your AMI System.
This study finds that many utilities can achieve large returns with a joint AMI/low-cost CVR (conservation voltage reduction) strategy, even if the AMI portion doesn’t meet financial targets on its own. Several characteristics of this strategy make it especially appealing, including:
• The financial value of this strategy is easy to verify beforehand,
• The CVR portion can be implemented simultaneously with the AMI implementation, and
• Contributions of smart meter-enabled CVR can turn a negative AMI business case positive.

A description of the Consortium’s AMI/low-cost CVR applications assessment and implementation services is also included. Read more here. Read more here.


Who Will Control Your Customers' Thermostats and What are the Implications for Your Rates? Recent advances in programmable communicating thermostats, control software and strategies and cost redutions provide new opportunities for utility demand response. These advances also increase the probability that third parties may respond to this opportunity outside of utility control. Read more here.

Smart Grids: An Optimized Electric Power System. Click here to see this chapter on smart grids in Elsevier's new Future Energy (December, 2013) compendium authored by SGRC's Dr. Jerry Jackson.


About the Consortium
The SGRC provides low-cost, comprehensive smart grid business case analysis and strategy development for coops and public utilities at every stage of the smart grid evaluation process. For more information go to http://www.smartgridresearchconsortium.org/ or contact Dr. Jerry Jackson, Leader and Research Director, SGRC, 37 N. Orange Ave. Suite 500, Orlando, FL 32801 Office: (407) 926-4048 Cell: (979) 204-7821.


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Smart Grid Business Case Newsletter
Smart Grid Investment Briefs for Coop and Public Utility Executives



Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC)                            July, 2014


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7 Reasons Why Smart Grid Investments Fail

A new Consortium study cautions electric cooperatives and municipal utilities about pitfalls in achieving expected returns on smart grid investments. The report identifies seven primary reasons why investment returns at coop and public utilities fail to meet utility expectations. These conclusions are drawn from a review of coop and public utility investment outcomes along with SGRC experience gained in 20 business case analyses. The report includes recommendations to ensure smart grid savings meet financial targets.

The report concludes with recommendations for “fast-tracking” certain post-AMI applications to increase investment benefits.

The four-page report is available Here.
Studies Referenced in Previous Newsletters:

Low-Cost CVR May Pay for Your AMI System.
This study finds that many utilities can achieve large returns with a joint AMI/low-cost CVR (conservation voltage reduction) strategy, even if the AMI portion doesn’t meet financial targets on its own. Several characteristics of this strategy make it especially appealing, including:
• The financial value of this strategy is easy to verify beforehand,
• The CVR portion can be implemented simultaneously with the AMI implementation, and
• Contributions of smart meter-enabled CVR can turn a negative AMI business case positive.

A description of the Consortium’s AMI/low-cost CVR applications assessment and implementation services is also included. Read more here. Read more here.


Who Will Control Your Customers' Thermostats and What are the Implications for Your Rates? Recent advances in programmable communicating thermostats, control software and strategies and cost redutions provide new opportunities for utility demand response. These advances also increase the probability that third parties may respond to this opportunity outside of utility control. Read more here.

Smart Grids: An Optimized Electric Power System. Click here to see this chapter on smart grids in Elsevier's new Future Energy (December, 2013) compendium authored by SGRC's Dr. Jerry Jackson.


About the Consortium
The SGRC provides low-cost, comprehensive smart grid business case analysis and strategy development for coops and public utilities at every stage of the smart grid evaluation process. For more information go to http://www.smartgridresearchconsortium.org/ or contact Dr. Jerry Jackson, Leader and Research Director, SGRC, 37 N. Orange Ave. Suite 500, Orlando, FL 32801 Office: (407) 926-4048 Cell: (979) 204-7821.


Remove me from the Consortium's mailing list




Smart Grid Business Case Newsletter
Smart Grid Investment Briefs for Coop and Public Utility Executives



Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC)                            February, 2014


Click here to automatically receive free future newsletters.

Low-Cost CVR May Pay for Your AMI System

A new Consortium study turns traditional smart grid business case analysis on its head. The study finds that many utilities can achieve large returns with a joint AMI/low-cost CVR (onservation voltage reduction) strategy, even if the AMI portion doesn’t meet financial targets on its own.

This study and its implications for utilities are noteworthy for six reasons:
  • The AMI/low-cost CVR strategy reflects a new paradigm for smart grid business case analysis,
  • The analysis quantifies an often-ignored contribution of smart meter data,
  • Results illustrate the incremental financial value of limited, low-costs CVR grid improvements enabled by smart meter data,
  • The financial value of this strategy is easy to verify beforehand,
  • The CVR portion can be implemented simultaneously with the AMI implementation, and
  • Contributions of smart meter-enabled CVR can turn a negative AMI business case positive.
The Consortium’s Smart Grid Investment Model is used in this article to explore costs and benefits for a representative utility. A description of the Consortium’s AMI/low-cost CVR applications assessment and implementation services is also included. Read more here.

Consider a New Evaluation of Your Grid Modernization Plans

Wonder how your utility's smart grid investments and strategies stack up against their potential and how they compare to peer utilities in your region? Are you behind or ahead of grid modernization trends and how does that impact your costs?

A new SGRC service provides in-house executive seminar presentations of industry trends, an evaluation of where your utility is relative to your peers, and likely business case outcomes based on general information for your utility. Presentations reflect insights gained in SGRC smart grid business case analysis at 20 utilities and information on industry trends and program outcomes at over 200 coops and public utilities drawn from the SGRC Smart Grid Experience Database. Read more here.



Next Newsletter: Identifying Low-Cost CVR-Volt/VAR Investment Options. Interested in CVR-Volt/VAR options but not ready to launch a big project? This paper describes an analytical process developed by the Consortium to identify the most financially beneficial distribution system investments. Depending on utility characteristics, some strategies can be self-funded from operating and maintenance budgets.

December Newsletter: In case you missed the last newsletter:

Who Will Control Your Customers' Thermostats and What are the Implications for Your Rates? Read more here.

Smart Grids: An Optimized Electric Power System. Click here to see this chapter on smart grids in Elsevier's new Future Energy (December, 2013) compendium authored by SGRC's Dr. Jerry Jackson.


About the Consortium
The SGRC provides low-cost, comprehensive smart grid business case analysis and strategy development for coops and public utilities at every stage of the smart grid evaluation process. For more information go to http://www.smartgridresearchconsortium.org/ or contact Dr. Jerry Jackson, Leader and Research Director, SGRC, 37 N. Orange Ave. Suite 500, Orlando, FL 32801 Office: (407) 926-4048 Cell: (979) 204-7821.


Remove me from the Consortium's mailing list




Smart Grid Business Case Newsletter
Smart Grid Investment Briefs for Coop and Public Utility Executives



Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC)                            December 2, 2013


Who Will Control Your Customers' Thermostats and
What are the Implications for Your Rates?

Coops and public utilities can potentially reap large savings with new programmable communicating thermostat (PCT) programs -- while ignoring PCT opportunities exposes customer relationships to third-party providers whose initiatives may result in increased customer rates.

It’s time to reevaluate residential programmable communicating thermostat (PCT) programs, regardless of whether a program is already in place. Big changes have taken place recently in PCT technologies and programs. PCT costs have dropped dramatically, functionality has increased, control strategies have become more sophisticated and many PCTs do not require an AMI infrastructure.

Take a Look at Future Energy Developments, 2nd Edition

Elsevier's second edition of Future Energy includes a collection of 32 articles on future energy production and technologies by energy experts including a chapter on the smart grid authored by SGRC's Dr. Jerry Jackson.
Click here to see the prepublication chapter on smart grids.


January Newsletter: CVR and VVO May Pay for Your AMI system. Evidence from the field indicates that many utilities can achieve large returns with an integrated conservation voltage reduction (CVR)/volt-VAR optimization (VVO)/AMI strategy, even if the AMI portion doesn’t meet financial targets on its own. The Consortium’s Smart Grid Investment Model is used in this article to illustrate how data from smart meters can significantly increase the financial benefits of CVR, VVO, and to identify variables that contribute to a positive CVR-VVO-AMI business case.


About the Consortium
The SGRC provides low-cost, comprehensive smart grid business case analysis and strategy development for coops and public utilities at every stage of the smart grid evaluation process. For more information go to www.smartgridresearchconsortium.org or contact Dr. Jerry Jackson, Leader and Research Director, SGRC, 37 N. Orange Ave. Suite 500, Orlando, FL 32801 (979) 204-7821.


Remove me from the Consortium's mailing list