Nov. 24, 2009
PNM Receives Federal Stimulus Funds to Expand Smart Grid Project
Albuquerque: PNM has received $1.8 million in federal funds from the Department of Energy to create the first of its kind battery and photovoltaic system that will help make solar PV a more economical and useful energy source.
The company applied for the funding from the DOE’s Smart Grid Demonstration Program in August as part of the economic stimulus and infrastructure bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama earlier this year.
The PNM PV-Plus Battery Solution will combine solar PV with batteries to explore storage potential and benefits. The project will reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions from peaking resources; provide localized load shifting capabilities and smoothing to prevent distribution voltage issues and avoid costly protection devices; and increase renewable benefits and reduce distribution system peak size requirements.
The DOE funds will further a smart grid demonstration project already underway that is part of the Electric Power Research Institute’s nationally based Smart Grid Demonstration Program. Earlier this year, PNM was selected by EPRI as one of five current host sites, worldwide, for the smart grid project that will combine demand-side management, energy storage and solar PV to further the understanding of integration technologies and standards needed to allow for a greater role for both renewables and energy efficiency. The project will be installed in Albuquerque’s South Valley, near the Mesa del Sol complex.
“This is a critical national effort,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM President and CEO. “This new funding, coupled with our existing EPRI demo project, will help us advance our understanding and capabilities related to renewable integration. As renewable energy and energy efficiency programs continue to assume a more important role in the nation’s energy supply, the knowledge learned from this demonstration project will prove invaluable.”
The project is also aligned with New Mexico’s emergence as a key player in the national smart grid effort. “Our state is recognized for its visionary leadership and tremendous efforts through the New Mexico Green Grid Initiative,” said Vincent-Collawn, adding that PNM plans to continue to support the state’s valuable effort.
The recently-funded project includes a team of partners from around the state and nation assembled to develop cutting-edge modeling and testing standards. “This is truly a collaborative effort,” Vincent-Collawn added. “We could not move forward on a project of this magnitude without the expertise and support of our partners.”
The University of New Mexico will develop an advanced distribution system model, which will focus on the interaction of buildings and the grid. “The idea is to use buildings–which overall use about three quarters of the total electricity generation capacity–to support the grid by managing energy resources such as lighting, thermal and electricity storage, and HVAC components via a digital control system that responds to information about its environment,” said Andrea Mammoli, associate professor of engineering at UNM.
"This project is an important element of Sandia's vision for a reliable, cost-effective, and secure electric grid with high penetration of renewable resources," said Terry Michalske, Director of Sandia's Energy and Security Systems Center. "Through partnering with PNM and EPRI on a cutting-edge demonstration project, we are helping the U.S. Department of Energy meet its objective of modernizing the national electric grid."
Northern New Mexico College is responsible for data acquisition, management and analysis. “We are pleased to have the Solar Energy Research Park and Academy as a partner to PNM in this important renewable energy project,” said David Trujillo, Interim President of NNMC. “Our SERPA faculty and students will contribute during the data collection and analysis phases of the project and they will benefit greatly through the research conducted with PNM and other partners.”
Premium Power, a US based battery manufacturer, will supply a leading edge utility scale battery based on the company's proprietary Zinc-Flow advanced energy storage technology.
“This project represents a key step in advancing the critical role that the smart grid can play in reliably integrating renewables in the distribution system,” said Arshad Mansoor, vice president of Power Delivery and Utilization at EPRI. EPRI is an independent, non-profit company performing research, development and design in the electricity sector for the benefit of the public.
PNM is a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company based in Albuquerque, N.M. PNM provides electric utility service to about 500,000 retail customers in New Mexico. The company also sells power on the wholesale market in the West. PNM Resources stock is traded primarily on the NYSE under the symbol PNM. For more information, see the company's Web site at PNM.com.