Processing Magazine

Los Alamos project demonstrates renewable power use on electric grid

September 18, 2012

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — A $52 million state-of-the-art, international smart grid project has powered up in Los Alamos, N.M., a high desert residential community of scientists, engineers and their families.

The New Energy and Industrial Technology and Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan, Los Alamos County through the Los Alamos Dept. of Public Utilities (DPU), and the Los Alamos National Laboratory hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony unveiling a photovoltaic array, battery storage system and “smart house.”

Launching the demonstration smart grid project were New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, NEDO Chairman Mr. Kazuo Furukawa, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Los Alamos County Council Chair Sharon Stover, Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Dr. Charles McMillan, Toshiba CEO Mr. Norio Sasaki and other key executives from major participating companies such as Kyocera, Hitachi, Sharp, Itochu and NGK Insulators.

For two years American and Japanese partners have toiled together to build the Los Alamos Smart Grid which will demonstrate how to provide a significant portion of renewable power on the electric grid to meet a community’s residential needs. The Los Alamos Smart Grid demonstration project (www.LosAlamosSmartGrid.info) consists of 2 megawatts of photovoltaic power, 8.3 megawatt hours of batteries and state-of-the-art controls, and a smart house which includes smart appliances that allow for electric demand in the house to be responsive to smart grid signals, minimizing potential costs and preserving the comfort of residential usage patterns.

Electricity from the 2 megawatts of photovoltaic power will energize about 2,000 residential sites on a single circuit in the high desert, residential community of Los Alamos at high penetration levels of 25% – 75%. The photovoltaic system, with its 8.3 megawatt hour battery storage system, demonstrates the ability to stabilize photovoltaic output by reducing peak system demand as it draws electricity from the battery system at times of peak usage.

“In addition,” said Los Alamos County’s economic development administrator Greg Fisher, “we are welcoming further interest from academic, industrial, and scientific groups who wish to view the smart grid projects or add research components of their own to the Los Alamos County/DPU portfolio, including work for such partners as Kyocera, Hitachi, NEC, and Toshiba. Following the demonstration project’s data and analysis period of two years, there will be opportunities for other companies and institutions to utilize these unique resources to conduct additional research ranging from academic research to new “smart home” product testing.”