At Distributech last week I had a chance to sit down with Bill Menge, Director of Kansas City Power and Light's (KCP&L) Smart Grid Demonstration Project. Kansas City Power & Light and its partners are demonstrating a comprehensive smart grid that includes most of the components commonly associated with smart grid including distributed generation, distribution automation, and customer empowerment. Part of the demonstration area contains the Green Impact Zone, 150 inner-city blocks that suffer from high levels of unemployment, poverty, and crime. Efforts in the Green Impact Zone will focus on training residents to implement weatherization and energy efficiency programs to reduce utility bills, conserve energy, and create jobs.
Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) is an investor owned utility with a service territory stretching over two states (Missouri and Kansas) with a total of 830'000 meters. KCP&L has a history of a progressive culture with the respect to new technology. They were an early adopter of AMR in the mid 1990s. They were also early adopters of digital outage management (OMS) and AM/FM/GIS.
The smart grid pilot is being supported by the Department of Energy. The total project value is $54 million, of which $24 million comes from a DOE SGIG grant. The demonstration area consists of ten circuits served by one substation across two square miles with 14,000 commercial and residential customers. The pilot is taking place in Missouri with the support of the Missouri PUC, which is so interested in the technology that they have a full-time employee dedicated to smart grid.
The pilot is quite comprehensive involving most aspects of smart grid including smart meters; time of use pricing; electrical vehicle charging including 10 Level 2 charging stations; home area networks with Zigbee; residential and commercial rooftop solar PV (total of 180 MW capacity); an automated substation based on the 61850 standard; distribution automation including line monitors; smart buildings; electricity storage (batteries with a total of one MWh capacity); in-home display; a full range of back office systems including AMI, MDM, DMS, OMS, D-SCADA, data analytics, and DERM (automated demand response); and cybersecurity.
KCP&L were able to obtain special time of use rates for the pilot from the PUC of 6 cents/kWh off-peak and 34 cents/kWh peak (3-7 pm).
The pilot also includes a significant public education component. An Innovation Center has been built which is designed to enable the public to see the main components of the pilot first hand.
The pilot was initiated in October 2010 when the first smart meter was installed. It is expected that most of the components will be in place by the end of February of this year. The full system will be able to be tested in its entirety by the end of June. The pilot is scheduled to run for two years during which time data will be collected and the costs and benefits of the system calculated. KCP&L appears to have a very open mind about the outcome of the pilot, their feeling being that with this much new technology it is hard to predict what the benefits will be in advance. Of course, Missouri is well known as the "Show me" state which may have something to do with it too. They are tracking costs during the design and build process and will collect data during the two years of operation, after which the data will be analyzed and the results provided to KCP&L, the Missouri PUC and DoE.
Worth watching !