02 - Why did the NEDO organization choose Los Alamos for this demonstration project?
Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) chose Los Alamos for multiple reasons. First, Los Alamos has a world class scientific laboratory that will collaborate with research for the project. One goal of the project is to develop smart grid Energy Management System (EMS) Software that can manage a community-scale electric grid. Second, Los Alamos is a small American town that will make a perfect experimental community for this project given our highly educated populace that is likely to be very enthusiastic about participating in the projects smart grid development by adding smart meters and smart appliances to our own homes. Third, Los Alamos provides a testbed for more extreme conditions with our high elevation, cold winter temperatures and hot windy summers that include weather that can fluctuate rapidly from sunny to heavy clouds very rapidly. Los Alamos also provides challenges such as frequent lightning.
The municipal status of Los Alamos' governement offers autonomy, local government control of the electric utility, the ability to adopt rules and special rates relatively quickly. LANL provides energy modeling and simulation, scientific research, data mangement, etc.
The project will seek to learn the best ways to balance electric loads using renewable resources as a large part of the electric mix. This knowledge will be imbedded into the software and systems that are developed for the project. Resulting software and systems can then be made available, in a standardized format to communities across the world.
Japan's government recognizes that smart grid technologies are likely to become important economic drivers in the future. The United State will be a key market for smart grid technologies, if these technologies can be standardized for the consumer. This demonstration project intends to help develop international industry standards for smart grid technology and photovoltaic systems.
Los Alamos and other sites in New Mexico will provide a testing ground for smart grid components that will be useful to smaller (and larger) communities across the US and world. Manufacturing companies from Japan are excited to participate in the NEDO consortium in order to learn what consumers and smaller scale utility companies need from a smart grid inorder to create a viable "smart grid" component marketplace for their future products. American manufacturers such as GE are also involved in the project.
A portion of the NEDO PV grid is devoted to testing new solar panel technologies. The test panels contributed by different companies, will be closely monitored to see how they perform under the conditions that Los Alamos' unique weather and altitude provide.
The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities is able to institute rate incentives to encourage it's customers to adopt smart grid technology without seeking New Mexico State Public Rate Commission approvals. This is another reason NEDO choose Los Alamos for one of it's demonstration test sites.