ROCHESTER, N.Y., Feb. 1, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NYSEG and RG &E, subsidiaries of AVANGRID, are preparing to roll out an innovative technology aimed at making it easier and more efficient for large-scale producers of renewable energy resources to connect to the electric power grid. The utilities' Flexible Interconnect Capacity Solution (FICS) demonstration project supports New York State's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative. NYSEG and RG &E are collaborating with Scottish technology firm Smarter Grid Solutions to test the new interconnect approach.
"We're introducing a transformational technology that can open up the grid to more renewable generation development," said Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG &E. "It's an opportunity to spur investment in clean energy resources and to support REV."
NYSEG and RG &E will test Smarter Grid Solutions' Active Network Management (ANM) technology to help accommodate larger amounts of solar-generated electricity on the lower-voltage distribution electric delivery system without jeopardizing the safe and reliable operation of the grid. ANM can also support interconnection of wind, hydro and biomass/biogas generated electricity.
In the United Kingdom, Smarter Grid Solutions helped Iberdrola's Scottish subsidiary, SP Energy Networks, support faster integration of renewable energy resources onto its grid.
"Our partnership with Smarter Grid Solutions reflects the benefits of being part of a global company," said Bob Kump, CEO of the AVANGRID utilities. "We will be able to leverage the experience of our sister company in Scotland to support New York's renewable energy industry and REV."
Developers of renewable energy projects frequently face delays and costly upgrades before connecting to utility networks to ensure their projects won't compromise the grid's reliability. In many cases, the time and expense has made potential projects too costly to build. With Smarter Grid Solution's technology, utilities like NYSEG and RG &E can monitor and control the output from intermittent renewable resources on their systems to defer or avoid the costly upgrades traditionally required. The demonstration project with Smarter Grid Solutions runs through 2016. The utilities and the New York Public Service Commission will then evaluate where and how the program could be expanded.
"Innovative technology to solve the challenges of grid interconnections can help us expand the benefits of distributed generation, lower electricity costs, and improve the environment by bringing on sustainable energy sources such as solar," said Jeff Ballard, vice president for operations technology and business transformation.
"We are delighted to be contributing to the work of REV and the objectives of AVANGRID," said Bob Currie, chief technology officer and co-founder of Smarter Grid Solutions. "Active Network Management is a transformational technology and has repeatedly reduced grid integration costs by up to 90% for new renewable generator connections, increasing the capacity to accommodate wind and solar by 100-200% and avoiding grid upgrades that can exceed $50 million. We expect the FICS project to deliver significant benefits to generation developers in New York by providing quicker and less expensive grid connections. We are excited to be partnering with AVANGRID on this fantastic and timely project and demonstrating the role our technology can play in implementing REV."
About Smarter Grid Solutions
Smarter Grid Solutions delivers products and services that enable electricity distribution companies and regulated utilities to integrate Distributed Energy Resources (DER). The company provides world-leading Active Network Management products, and is the only provider to uniquely combine real-time, autonomous and deterministic control into its Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS) solutions. Its products are transforming the utilization and resiliency of the grid, and managing connected customers at greatly reduced cost, without compromising safety and security. It supports customers worldwide from its offices in New York, London and Glasgow, U.K.
The company was formed in 2008, originating from the world-renowned Institute for Energy and Environment at the University of Strathclyde, and it is a leading vendor of DER integration solutions. It established its offices in New York in 2013, and is now an active contributor to the development of the Smart Grid in many parts of North America. For more information, visit: www.smartergrid.com/us
AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE:AGR) is a diversified energy and utility company with $30 billion in assets and operations in 25 states. The company operates regulated utilities, electricity generation, and natural gas storage through three primary lines of business. Iberdrola USA Networks includes eight electric and natural gas utilities serving 3.1 million customers in New York and New England. Iberdrola Renewables operates 6.3 gigawatts of electricity capacity, primarily through wind power, in states across the U.S. Iberdrola Energy Holdings operates 120 Bcf of owned or contracted natural gas storage and hub service facilities in the South and West. AVANGRID employs 7,000 people. The company was formed as a business combination between Iberdrola USA and UIL Holdings in 2015. AVANGRID remains an affiliate of the Iberdrola Group, a worldwide leader in the energy industry.
About NYSEG and RG &E: NYSEG and RG &E are subsidiaries of AVANGRID. NYSEG serves 883,000 electricity customers and 264,000 natural gas customers across more than 40% of upstate New York. RG &E serves 371,000 electricity customers and 307,000 natural gas customers in a nine-county region centered on the City of Rochester. For more information, visit www.nyseg.com and www.rge.com
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