UConn receives $4.4 million solar-plus-batteries predictive resilience grant – pv journal USA


The University of Connecticut’s Eversource Energy Center will develop applied sciences to shorten power outages.

November 21, 2022

As storms intensify and enhance their frequency, the University of Connecticut (UConn) has partnered with investor-owned utility Eversource to develop clear energy options to arrange communities for power outages, aiming at shortening restoration occasions.

The two organizations partnered for Eversource Energy Center, the college’s resiliency heart which lately obtained a $4.4 million grant from the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), which is operated by the Department of Energy (DOE). The resilience funds are offered by SETO’s Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience program. DOE will present $3 million to this system, whereas the Eversource Energy Center will bear $1.4 million of the price.

The undertaking is a part of DOE’s $33 million RACER program. Image: Department of Energy

The Eversource Energy Center will leverage its Outage Prediction Model to forecast the impression of storms, utilizing meteorological information to proactively place power restoration crews upfront of inclement climate.

The funds may even assist the event of distributed energy sources and predictive software program to realize the objective of quicker response occasions. Dubbed PROACTIVE (predictive neighborhood outage preparedness and energetic final mile visibility suggestions autonomous restoration), the undertaking is geared toward growing and demonstrating a predictive neighborhood outage preparedness and restoration resolution.

The undertaking may even assist guarantee fast power restoration to distant and rural areas that always expertise the longest power outage occasions following excessive climate occasions.

“Due to the lack of proper outage prediction tools, stakeholders face challenges to forecast infrastructure damages and their severity ahead of time, thus significantly affecting outage preparedness,” stated Junbo Zhao, affiliate director of the Eversource Energy Center. “After extreme events, there is also a lack of robust sensing and communication systems to allow quick estimation of infrastructure damage and availability of assets and energy resources to aid the rapid restoration.”

Zhao stated PROACTIVE will leverage grid visibility for a extra knowledgeable, protected, coordinated, and automatic response. It will depend on granular information and sensors to extra quickly determine the localized supply of the outage.

It may even depend upon cooperation amongst communities, leaning on prosperous communities who’ve extra distributed solar and storage sources to help these with out distributed property.  For instance, an prosperous city like West Hartford may present surplus power to a neighboring municipality akin to Hartford, stated Zhao.

The PROACTIVE crew is at the moment engaged with neighborhood leaders and stakeholders in West Hartford and Hartford to exhibit the applied sciences and the way they will profit every metropolis. The undertaking is predicted to take three years to develop and implement.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges that we face as a society, and the intensity and frequency of storms is only going to increase,” stated Pamir Alpay, UConn’s interim Vice President for analysis, innovation, and entrepreneurship. “Working with our partners at Eversource, we are committed to developing technology and advancing research to enhance our ability to mitigate the impact of these storms and keep Connecticut residents safe.”

Energy resilience and affordability is a key give attention to Connecticut’s capital metropolis of Hartford. Hartford established a neighborhood company referred to as the Energy Improvement District (EID) to pursue sustainability and energy associated targets for town within the long-term. It launched a complete plan in 2019, which shared that the energy burden, or energy invoice as % of earnings, for households on the 50% poverty degree is staggering at 33%. The common home energy affordability hole is $1,922 per family per 12 months. And the state’s Home Energy Assistance Program covers solely 33% of this hole. Federal packages like SETO’s RACER program and different provisions within the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 are geared toward tackling these sorts of issues.

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