MSL Supports NM Grid Modernization

On January 12, 2021 MSL joined Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) and KCEC’s technology partner Camus Energy for a presentation and webinar entitled “Grid Modernization and Technology for the New Mexico Energy Transition.” The event was oriented toward the state’s grid modernization community, with a focus on agency staff, regulators, and utilities. It was well attended and received, and stimulated a vigorous discussion during the Q&A portion.

KCEC (an MSL consortium Member) is an Electric Distribution Cooperative serving Taos, Colfax, and Rio Arriba Counties with innovative programs, and plans to deploy distributed and renewable energy resources throughout its system. 

KCEC has built out over 2,900 miles of fiber-to-the-premises fiber optic lines for high-speed data, internet, and phone services, and is utilizing this fiber and smart meter infrastructure to design and deploy a grid modernization strategy. The utility is on plan to achieve the goal of 100% daytime solar by 2022 by strategically deploying solar arrays throughout the coop’s service area. Complementing its ground-breaking efforts in distributed renewable generation, KCEC has undertaken an extensive battery energy storage component intended to reduce transmission costs and smooth PV intermittency, with plans to integrate BESS’s into its distribution grid in 2019.

Camus Energy is conducting a pilot project with KCEC to demonstrate its advanced grid management software solutions on KCEC’s distribution system. Camus provides open source, next generation grid management as a service, offering utility customers unparalleled situational awareness enabling high quality insights from existing data sources. An integrative system model fuses operations data from multiple sources with a high performance physics model, for advanced real-time analysis, connecting customer systems, local generation models and third-party telemetry to build a complete picture of current and near-future grid conditions. Intelligent optimization helps make the best choices for managing costs, carbon, and reliability profile. CEO Astrid Atkinson is an MSL Advisor.

MSL President David Breecker presented on advanced microgrids, and their relevance to the NM energy transition and the technology strategies outlined by Camus and KCEC. He also showed exemplars from significant microgrid projects around the country, including utility deployments, as illustrations of potential microgrid integration for NM’s future grid. Video of the webinar can be viewed here, and the presentation slides can be viewed here.

Santa Fe Institute Report

In a related effort, and as previously reported, MSL gave input to a working group convened by the Santa Fe Institute for its report and presentation on “The Energy Transition in New Mexico: Insights From a Santa Fe Institute Workshop.” MSL Advisory Board member Seth Blumsack (Penn State University and Santa Fe Institute) was part of a panel presenting to the Water and Natural Resources Committee of the New Mexico Legislature on Monday, November 9, 2020. Dr. Blumsack and his colleagues Cristopher Moore (Santa Fe Institute) and Jessika Trancik (MIT and Santa Fe Institute) briefed the Committee on the report, which was also co-authored by MSL project advisor Paul Hines (University of Vermont and Santa Fe Institute, CEO Packetized Energy). Six key strategies are highlighted in the SFI report, which is available, with a shorter executive summary, for download in PDF format.