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Technology Planning and Beneficial Electrification Popular Topics on NRTC Speaking Circuit

Randy Sukow

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Joe Walsh, NRTC’s VP, Smart Grid Advisory and Networks

NRTC representatives are now fully back into the of swing traveling the country and speaking to members about the leading new technologies. Broadband, smart grid, network management and others are popular topics. In recent weeks, electric cooperative audiences have been eager to learn more about NRTC’s Technology Planning Services as well as the concept of “beneficial electrification” (BE).

Regional Business Manager Chris Bradley (pictured center) spoke on a Jan. 25 panel at the Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association Legislative Conference and Annual Meeting in Tempe, AZ. The panel described BE as the broad group of technologies that save consumers money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create a more resilient grid and improve consumers’ quality of life.

Bradley, pictured in the center, described various NRTC smart grid projects that have contributed to BE goals. The scope of those projects has ranged from 7,000 to more than 200,000 meters. “The [NRTC] team worked with co-ops to place technologies such as volt/VAR optimization, demand response, storage, solar, fault location isolation and service restoration (FLISR),” he said in a recent LinkedIn post.

An important step toward realizing BE results is to have a technology plan. He described the new NRTC Technology Planning service where NRTC experts help the cooperative develop a 10-year “roadmap” for investing in and deploying new systems. The roadmap “will ‘tell the story’ to their employees, board of directors and members of what technologies they want to invest in, when it’s best to implement them and why they are investing in these technologies,” Bradley said.

Joe Walsh, NRTC’s VP, Smart Grid Advisory and Networks (top), took a similar message to the Energize Forum in Sioux Falls, SD, where he led two well attended breakout sessions last week. East River Electric Power, a Madison, SD, G&T cooperative hosts the annual educational forum.

Walsh described how the various wireless and wireline communications technologies that  electric cooperatives employ relate to the growing list of smart grid capabilities, adding complexity to technology projects and creating a “planning problem” for many. Working with NRTC to develop a well-thought-out plan can save costs and reduce complexity.

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