Press

New Multi-Client Study Provides Solar PV Business Model Impacts For Utility Participants

December 10, 2015. Orlando, FL. The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC) today announced initiation of a new multi-client study to forecast and analyze business model impacts of residential solar PV over the next decade. SGRC multi-client applications reduce the cost for individual utility participants by joint funding of common portions of the research and analysis framework development. Business model analysis is conducted independently for each utility participant.

“US Residential solar PV installations increased 69 percent in the last year according to the most recent GTM and SEIA national market analysis. This translates to new PV output of about 1.8 GW from 400,000 new installations. The steady improvement in economics of solar PV, including PV/battery systems promises to continue the industry’s exponential growth, impacting nearly every electric utility” said Dr. Jerry Jackson, SGRC research director.

“Minimizing negative utility business model impacts requires proactive strategies that recognize each individual utility’s exposure to PV impacts ranging from net metering revenue loss to additional investments in voltage control to accommodate PV clustering along feeders.”

Market penetration of new residential PV systems is modeled for each utility at the ZIP area level based on data from more than 7 million customers and 400,000 PV installations using MAISY Utility Customer Databases and Agent-Based Models. Optional feeder-level forecasts are also available. These resources have been applied for a variety of solar and other distributed energy companies including Geostellar , Sun Edison, Sungevity, Sharp, Toyota, Ingersoll Rand, United Technologies, Bloom Energy, Ice Energy, Aisen and many more.

Each utility participating in the study will receive its own report and briefing. Reports include a review of recent PV and battery market developments and a discussion of likely future developments based on comments from industry experts. Analysis results include annual ZIP-detailed utility PV and PV/battery forecasts, PV output, revenue impacts, financial impacts of alternative rate designs and potentials for utility control of PV/battery systems for demand response. Annual forecasts will be provided for 10 years. Business model analysis reflects each utility’s hourly loads, PV hourly output, utility avoided costs, current utility rate structures, net metering and other utility, federal and state and utility incentives and programs and other factors that impact the utility business model.

Early project subscription costs are in effect until January 15, 2016 beginning at $7,000 for utilities with fewer than 100,000 residential meters with graduated cost depending on residential meter counts. Subscription costs begin at $8,500 after January 15. Study results will be provided to participating utilities beginning March 15.

Additional information on the study is available at http://www.smartgridresearchconsortium.org

About Smart Grid Research Consortium Solar Services

The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC), began as a Texas A&M University research and service project in 2010 and transitioned to an independent consulting organization the following year. SGRC Solar PV Forecasting Models and Forecasting Services reflect an integration of the Consortium’s Smart Grid Investment Model (SGIM) financial analysis resources and Jackson Associates (JA) MAISY Utility Customer Databases and Agent-Based Models. The SGIM has been applied for 20 electric utilities while MAISY modeling and forecasting analysis have been applied at more than 100 energy-related organizations including utilities, equipment manufacturers, state and federal regulatory agencies and other energy-related organizations.

Jackson Associates (JA) provides MAISY databases, agent-based models and analysis to electric utilities, ESCOS and retail electric providers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, research organizations and government agencies. MAISY Solar Market Databases and Solar PV Sales Leads provide market assessment, marketing campaign and sales resources for equipment manufacturers and suppliers and include coverage across the entire US.

JA solar and distributed energy clients include Geostellar , Sun Edison, Sungevity, Sharp, Toyota, Ingersoll Rand, United Technologies, Bloom Energy, Ice Energy, Aisen and many more. See the MAISY Web site (www.maisy.com) for example agent-based model applications.

The recent MAISY white paper, ““It’s Time for Utilities to Plan for Disruptive Solar PV Impacts,” available at www.maisy.com/utilitypv.pdf, describes reasons to expect continued exponential PV market growth.

New Smart Grid Consortium PV Forecasting Models and Forecasting Service
Annual Installations and Load Impacts Provided for Feeders, Substations, ZIP Areas, and Utility Service Areas for 10-Year Forecasts

July 14, 2015. Orlando, FL. The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC) today announced new SGRC Utility Solar PV Forecasting Models and Forecasting Service. The SGRC Solar Models and Service provide the first commercially available annual forecasts of residential solar PV system installations, energy and hourly load impacts, costs and benefits over a 10-year forecast horizon. Forecasts are provided for distribution feeders, substations, ZIP areas, and the entire utility service areas. Low, medium and high forecasts are provided to reflect the range of likely PV installation and load impacts.

The Consortium, known for its Smart Grid Investment Models (SGIM), recently extended its analysis to “grid-edge” new technology applications and, with the Solar PV Forecasting Models and Forecasting Service, is now addressing utility financial and load impacts of solar PV distributed energy resources.

Continuing PV cost reductions, growing popularity of power purchase agreements, tax incentives and other factors are responsible for year-over-year doubling, or more, of PV installations in many states. Recent Austin Energy and NV Energy utility-scale procurements at less than 4 cents/kWh portend a rapidly arriving transformation for residential utility customer installations with significantly increasing solar PV penetrations in nearly all utility service areas. These PV impacts present both utility challenges and benefits that are quantified with the SGRC Solar PV Forecasting Models and Forecasting Service.

The Consortium Models and Service provide utilities with annual, geographically detailed forecasts of the likely number and hourly load impacts of residential PV installations on their distribution systems over the next decade. The agent-based statistical models underlying these forecasts are estimated with data on more than 7 million utility customers and nearly 500,000 solar PV installations. Models are applied at feeder/substation and ZIP level and reflect the “clustered” nature of PV installations resulting from geographic patterns of household, dwelling unit, neighborhood and other characteristics that drive PV sales.

PV forecasts are designed both to assist utility distribution planners and to provide a program evaluation tool for utility solar program development. Additional information on the Solar PV Forecasting Service and the Consortium’s Solar PV Forecasting Model is available at the SGRC web site: www.smartgridresearchconsortium.org/solarforecasts.htm

“While installations are still a relatively small percentage of the total utility customer base, they tend to be geographically highly concentrated with potentially large impacts in certain ZIP areas, substations and along certain individual feeders” said Dr. Jerry Jackson, the Smart Grid Research Consortium leader and research director. “Heavy saturations of PV along feeders create power quality issues, asset life degradation due to excessive regulator and capacitor bank switching, and other problems. Some locations in Hawaii, California, New Jersey, and Arizona are reportedly already facing these challenges. With the substantial increase in solar installations expected in coming years, these issues will become more problematic for many utilities. The Consortium’s PV Forecasting Models estimate the number, location and load impacts of residential solar PV installations annually over the next ten years. Results identify specific geographic areas where future solar PV installations are likely to be great enough to require distribution modifications to address PV-related issues.”

“An equally important application supports utility solar program planning and development for utilities promoting solar resources. Models provide residential solar PV installation forecasts for entire utility service areas including alternative forecasts that reflect different levels of utility and other incentives and different assumptions on future PV costs. Forecast results can be applied to evaluate program costs and benefits and to assess residential solar PV contributions to meeting utility renewable energy goals. Model results quantify reductions in loads, system losses and delayed capital investments.”

The SGRC Solar PV Forecasting Models have been developed by merging the Consortium’s Smart Grid Investment Model (SGIM) financial analysis resources and Jackson Associates (JA) MAISY Utility Customer Databases and Agent-Based Energy and Hourly Load Forecasting Models. The SGIM has been applied for 20 electric utilities since its development in 2010 while MAISY modeling and forecasting analysis have been applied at more than 100 energy-related organizations including utilities, equipment manufacturers, state and federal regulatory agencies and other energy-related organizations.

“This application is one of the most exciting new technology forecasting applications that we have developed in recent years because the dramatic decline in solar PV prices is driving an industry decentralization transformation that will soon impact every utility at its most publicly vulnerable point: reliable delivery of service to its customers” says Jackson. “MAISY agent-based modeling has been applied in utility smart grid and other technology impact analysis for equipment manufactures/suppliers including solar, CHP and fuel cells, as well as for forecasting future energy and hourly load impacts for utilities and public utility commissions so this application reflects a natural extension to specifically address small-geographic area solar residential PV installations and load impacts.”

About Smart Grid Research Consortium and Jackson Associates

The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC), which began as a Texas A&M University research and service project in 2010 and transitioned to an independent consulting organization the following year, has conducted 20 Smart Grid Investment Model utility business case analyses including energy and load forecasting impacts of new technologies including demand response and distributed resources. More information on the Consortium is available at www.smartgridresearchconsortium.org .

Jackson Associates (JA) provides MAISY databases, agent-based models and analysis to electric utilities, ESCOS and retail electric providers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, research organizations and government agencies. JA has extensive experience analyzing and forecasting new technologies working with leading solar and distributed energy companies including Geostellar , Sun Edison, Sungevity, Sharp, Toyota, Ingersol Rand, United Technologies, Bloom Energy, Ice Energy, Aisen and many more. See the MAISY Web site (www.maisy.com) for example applications including agent-based analyses of CHP units for emergency power in natural disasters, electric utility rate impacts on CHP distributed generation system adoption, Duke Energy Smart Grid cost/benefit analysis and energy forecasts for the Indiana Public Service Commission.

New Smart Grid Consortium Study Develops Timely, Cost-Effective DR Roadmap
New Technologies/Programs Expand DR for AMI/AMR and Electromechanical Systems

January 27, 2015. Orlando, FL. 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.

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.

“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.

The Consortium’s customer engagement DR roadmap includes four steps:
1. Develop and continually revise specific customer engagement DR objectives. Use these objectives to guide activities in step 2.
2. Evaluate, identify and initiate programs/technology applications that can most cost-effectively meet the objectives in step 1. A sample of these items includes:
   a. Identify potential DR end-use targets (e.g., AC, water heating) based on contributions to system load reductions, required incentives and avoided costs characteristics
   b. Design programs to recognize customer segment wants and needs and likely responses
   c. Select appropriate, cost effective technology enablers (hardware and software)
   d. Consider both in-house and turnkey solutions
   e. Use social media, target marketing, messaging, PR and promotional activities
   f. Consider newer, innovative technology applications, program designs and experiences at other utilities
   g. Carefully identify and evaluate supporting data and analytics requirements. Gathering and processing more customer data than is required can make some of these programs uneconomical
3. Reconcile objectives and applications (steps 1 and 2); calculate costs and benefits including preliminary vendor costs. Consider results with various program participation and impact assumptions, prioritize program/technology applications
4. Proceed with program development including vendor evaluations, RPF development, proposal evaluation, vendor interviews. Revisit steps 1-3 with this information and adjust the strategy as appropriate. Develop a timeline to ensure a timely program development and implementation schedule. Timeliness is important as delays in developing and implementing programs bypass savings that can never be captured.

Smart Grid Research Consortium

The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC) works with electric cooperatives, municipal and other public utilities to develop smart grid development strategies including comprehensive business case and risk analysis. Individual utility strategy and program development projects apply the SGRC’s Smart Grid Investment Model (TM) quantitative business case analysis across metering, customer engagement, and distribution automation applications including CVR. The Consortium was initially established at Texas A&M University in 2010 by Professor Jerry Jackson who continues to lead the SGRC as an independent consulting organization. The SGRC has conducted 20 coop and public utility business case analyses and has complied one of the largest databases on smart grid investment results from more than 200 utility initiatives.

7 Reasons Why Smart Grid Investments Fail
New Study Identifies Pitfalls and Recommendations

July 29, 2014 – Orlando, FL – The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC) today published a research report that 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 is available HERE.

More information on the SGRC is available at The Smart Grid Web Site

“For years, industry publications have touted smart grid cost-benefit study results that found smart grid investments more than paying for themselves with reduced utility costs. Smart grid investments seem like the perfect new technology application, transforming utility business practices, provide grid control capabilities that improve efficiency, provide enough cash flow to cover interest and principal payments and even give some rate relief, ” said Dr. Jerry Jackson, Leader and Research Director of the Smart Grid Research Consortium and study author. “Those results can often be achieved if utility and customer characteristics are right, if smart grid investment strategies are designed appropriately and if implementation proceeds as planned.”

“However results at a growing number of utilities show that these conditions are often not met requiring unanticipated rate increases to make up for shortfalls in realized savings.” The report identifies seven important reasons for disappointing smart grid investment returns including:
1. Vendor/integrator business case analysis
2. Absence of risk analysis
3. Failure to quantify unique utility and customer characteristics
4. Subjective system integrator/prime contractor selection
5. Software performance failures
6. Inadequate post-AMI implementation strategies
7. Insufficient utility due diligence

Each of the seven pitfalls is described in detail in the report along with recommendations to avoid each problem. The paper concludes with recommendations to “fast-track” certain smart grid benefits.

“One of the interesting findings in our study was that many utilities who fail to achieve ROI targets are also failing to take advantage of opportunities to significantly improve smart grid investment returns. Traditional cautious utility approaches are unnecessary and detrimental to financial outcomes for certain smart grid initiatives. For example, the EPRI Guidebook for Cost/Benefit Analysis of Smart Grid Demonstration Projects (December 2103) suggests that “after the VVO/CVR system is installed and tested, the efficacy of CVR will be examined through two years of day-on/day-off operation that will provide data to feed a regression analysis.”

However, information from smart meters can be used in day-ahead experiments and real-time applications to fine-tune CVR applications as soon as smart meters begin transmitting information, two years in advance of the EPRI recommendation. Two years of CVR savings can be enough in some cases to pay one-third to one-half the cost of the AMI system that is providing this information. Similarly, delayed implementation of customer engagement programs dilute savings as these benefits remain unrealized long after they could be effective.

This last observations suggests that utilities who have embarked on smart grid projects should reassess post AMI project development and implementation plans as the project proceeds. Smart Grid Research Consortium

The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC) is an independent consulting firm focused on providing electric cooperatives and public utilities with objective smart grid investment business case and risk analysis. The SGRC has completed twenty analysis projects. Each investment analysis project applies the SGRC Grid Investment Model (TM) and extensive knowledge of coop and municipal/public utility investment issues to provide comprehensive smart grid business case analysis and strategy development.

The SGRC is managed and its research is led by Dr. Jerry Jackson, previously a professor at Texas A&M University, and Chief of the Applied Research Division at Georgia Tech Research Institute. He is also president of the consulting firm Jackson Associates where he works with utilities, state regulatory agencies, equipment manufactures and others in addressing energy industry issues.

Low-Cost CVR May Pay for Your AMI System
New Study Turns Traditional Smart Grid Business Case Analysis on its Head
February 6, 2014.

February 6, 2014 – Orlando, FL – The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC) today announced results of a recently-completed study that identifies a new smart grid investment strategy that can transform a poor AMI business case into an attractive investment. Many electric cooperatives and public utilities have rejected AMI systems because expected meter-related benefits are not compelling enough to outweigh costs. Adding demand response savings boosts benefit-cost ratios; however, the uncertainty and long lead times surrounding these customer engagement programs add more risk. Adding distribution automation (DA) benefits and costs including customer valuations of improved reliability provide added costs and benefits but leave utility decision-makers skeptical.

A new SGRC study shows that joint AMI and low-cost conservation voltage reduction enabled with smart eters can provide a compelling business case for many of these utilities with little risk.

The study summary whitepaper is available HERE.

“This study turns the traditional smart grid business case analysis approach on its head,” says Dr. Jerry Jackson, SGRC Leader and Research director and the whitepaper author. Instead of viewing AMI as the foundation, then adding demand response and then distribution automation benefits and costs, we started with a joint AMI/low-cost conservation voltage reduction (CVR) strategy as the foundation for the business case. We found that low-cost CVR provides significant benefits and, because it is enabled with smart meter data, more than makes up shortcomings in the stand-alone AMI business case for many utilities. We did not need to go on to more speculative smart grid benefits.”

“The great thing about this new strategic approach is that we can verify costs and benefits of individual AMI and CVR elements with considerable certainty prior to initiating the project. In addition, the low-cost CVR component can be developed simultaneously with the AMI implementation avoiding the long delays that many utilities are experiencing with customer engagement infrastructure development. The CVR strategy requires utility distribution information including some voltage-demand experiments; however, this information is inexpensive to collect and analyze with our Smart Grid Investment Model.”

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 take-away from this study and white-paper is that utilities who have considered AMI investments and found the business case lacking should reconsider a combination AMI/low-cost CVR business case.

About The Smart Grid Research Consortium and Study Author

The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC) ( www.smartgridresearchconsortium.org ) is an independent, objective research and consulting firm with headquarters in Orlando, Florida. The SGRC provides electric cooperatives and public utilities smart grid investment analysis and project support at all smart grid development stages.

The SGRC was established in 2010 and is currently completing its twentieth smart grid investment analysis project. Each investment analysis project applies the SGRC Grid Investment Model (TM) and extensive knowledge of coop and municipal/public utility smart grid investment issues to provide the most cost-effective and comprehensive smart grid business case analysis, strategy development and implementation support.

The SGRC maintains each utility's Smart Grid Investment Model to ensure that any future analysis can be completed without "reinventing the wheel," saving both time and money required to maintain up-to-date business case assessments recognizing new technologies and vendor proposals.

The SGRC is managed and its research is led by Dr. Jerry Jackson, an energy economist with more than thirty years' experience in new energy technology market analysis, financial model development, utility program development and project management. He was previously a professor at Texas A&M University, chief of the Applied Research Division at Georgia Tech Research Institute, and president of a consulting firm where he has worked with utilities, state regulatory agencies, equipment manufactures and others in addressing energy industry issues.

Contact: Dr. Jerry Jackson, Smart Grid Research Consortium, 37 N Orange Ave, Suite 500, Orlando, FL 32801, 407-926-4048, 979-204-7821 (cell)

Who Will Control Utility Customers’ Thermostats and What are the Implications for Utility Rates?
Smart Grid Research Consortium Study Evaluates Utility Risks and Rewards of New PCT Technologies and Programs
December 2, 2013.

The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC) today announced the completion of a study of risks and rewards associated with new programmable communicating thermostat technologies and programs at electric cooperatives, municipal and public utilities.

Study results indicate that many 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 utility customer rates.

A summary of selected study results is available here

According to Dr. Jerry Jackson, SGRC Leader and Research Director and the study’s author, utilities shuould reevaluate residential programmable communicating thermostat (PCT) programs, even if they have a program in place.

“If you haven’t kept up with recent PCT technology and program developments, you are in for some surprises,” says Dr. Jackson. “PCT costs have dropped dramatically with basic PCT technologies available for less than $100, functionality has increased, control strategies have become more sophisticated and customer-specific, and many PCTs do not require an AMI infrastructure.

“We have seen a shift in PCT business cases over the last three to four years among our clients with some programs going from being unattractive to providing paybacks in five years or less with big utility and customer bill savings. Even utilities that lack AMI or communications bandwidth can potentially benefit with cellular and internet-based systems.”

These advances in PCT capabilities bring potential risks to utilities who ignore these technology and program advances. Third-party providers can implement programs directly with utility customers that significantly reduce peak hour and annual heating and air conditioning electricity use which will increase utility customer rates if customer revenue declines more than utility avoided costs. The extent of this risk depends on utility customer rate structures, avoided power costs characteristics, utility customer characteristics, weather and other factors.

The Consortium’s Smart Grid Investment Model ™ was used in the study to identify risks and rewards and the most appropriate utility strategy to maximize utility and utility customer benefits of these new technologies and programs.

ABOUT THE SMART GRID RESEARCH CONSTORIUM AND STUDY AUTHOR

The Smart Grid Research Consortium (SGRC) ( www.smartgridresearchconsortium.org ) is an independent, objective research and consulting firm with headquarters in Orlando, Florida. The SGRC was established in 2010 and is currently completing its twentieth smart grid investment analysis project. Each investment analysis project applies the SGRC Grid Investment Model (TM) and extensive knowledge of coop and municipal/public utility smart grid investment issues to provide the most cost-effective and comprehensive smart grid business case analysis available.

The SGRC maintains each utility's Smart Grid Investment Model to ensure that any future analysis can be completed without "reinventing the wheel," saving both time and money required to maintain up-to-date business case assessments recognizing new technologies and vendor proposals.

The SGRC is managed and its research is led by Dr. Jerry Jackson, an energy economist with more than thirty years' experience in new energy technology market analysis, financial model development, utility program development and project management. He was previously a professor at Texas A&M University, chief of the Applied Research Division at Georgia Tech Research Institute, and president of a consulting firm where he has worked with utilities, state regulatory agencies, equipment manufactures and others in addressing energy industry issues.

Evaluating the Utility Smart Grid Business Case - Problems, Pitfalls And Real-World Recommendations from the Smart Grid Research Consortium Orlando Florida. August 3, 2011.

While a series of recent national studies suggests that smart grid investments are a “no-brainer,” evaluations in the real world of utility investment analysis are anything but easy. A new Smart Grid Research Consortium white paper describes these difficulties and provides ten recommendations to assist utilities in evaluating smart grid investments.

The white paper, “The Utility Smart Grid Business Case: Problems, Pitfalls And Ten Real-World Recommendations,” describes challenges utilities face in developing comprehensive investment strategies and identifies difficulties associated with several common approaches to smart grid investment analysis. The paper concludes with ten recommendations for undertaking investment analysis based on the Smart Grid Research Consortium’s cost/benefit model that has been applied at 15 utilities.

Recommendations are offered both to guide utility in-house analysis and to assist utilities in evaluating smart grid analysis undertaken by vendors and consultants. The white paper, is available at: http://smartgridresearchconsortium.org/notes.htm .

OCTOBER CONFERENCE “This is the first in a series of white papers based on the Consortium’s activities and analysis that will be published in the next several months leading up to the Consortium’s second annual “Evaluating the Business Case for Smart Grid Investments” Conference in Orlando, October 20-21, 2011,” said Dr. Jerry Jackson, Leader and Research Director of the Consortium. Conference and registration information is available at: http://smartgridresearchconsortium.org/smartgridconference.htm

SMART GRID INVESTMENT MODEL The Smart Grid Investment Model (TM) is customized for each Consortium member utility. The Model supports smart grid investment analysis at every stage of the smart grid process from initial planning to benchmarking and verification of technology and program impacts after implementation. The Model provides cost/benefit analysis of smart grid investments including AMI/Smart meters, distribution automation, in-premise technologies and programs including pricing and demand response and other smart grid initiatives in a single consistent framework. More information is available on the Consortium Web site: http://smartgridresearchconsortium.org


Evaluating Smart Grid Investments at Electric Cooperatives and Public Utilities: 2nd Annual Conference October 20-21 in Orlando, Florida Orlando Florida. June 23, 2011.

The Smart Grid Research Consortium today announced the second annual “Evaluating the Business Case for Smart Grid Investments” conference to be held October 20-21, 2011 in Orlando. The conference is unique in its focus on electric cooperatives and public utilities.

Additional information on the conference including registration information is available at http://smartgridresearchconsortium.org/smartgridconference.htm

“The conference will provide valuable information on evaluating technologies and applications regardless of where utilities are in the smart grid implementation process,” said Dr. Jerry Jackson, Leader and Research Director of the Consortium. “We anticipate the same kind of energetic conference as last year with a balance of technical sessions and “experience from the field” presentations and panels.” Ninety-eight percent of last year’s conference attendees indicated they would recommend the conference to others.

Agenda topics cover smart grid application areas from the substation, through feeders, to meters and inside customer premises and are being developed with input from coop and municipal utility Consortium members. Program areas include:
• AMI/smart meters • Communications • Distribution automation • Customer technologies • Customer engagement and programs • IT and meter data management, and • Managing the smart grid transition

Conference Venue: This year’s conference will be held on Thursday and Friday, October 20-21, 2011 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, one of Orlando’s finest meeting destinations including one of the country’s top 40 new golf courses on its 230 landscaped acres. The resort is convenient to the airport and Orlando attractions.

The Consortium: The 2011 Smart Grid Research Consortium provides a Smart Grid Investment Model (TM) customized for each Consortium member utility. The Model provides cost/benefit analysis of smart grid investments including AMI/Smart meters, distribution automation, in-premise technologies and programs including pricing and demand response and other smart grid initiatives in a single consistent framework. More information is available on the Consortium Web site: http://smartgridresearchconsortium.org