Powering Up the Los Alamos Smart Grid & Smart House

Let the Demo Begin!  Powering up the Los Alamos Smart Grid & Smart House

By Greg Kendall

  • First international project in the U.S. to demonstrate how to provide a significant proportion of renewable power on the electric grid to meet a community’s residential needs.

A $52 million state‐of‐the‐art, international smart grid project will power up at 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17 at 1925‐D Trinity Dr. in Los Alamos, a high desert residential community of scientists, engineers and their families.

At the event, the New Energy and Industrial Technology and Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan, Los Alamos County through the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU), and Los Alamos National Laboratory will host a ribbon cutting ceremony unveiling:

  • a photovoltaic array,
  • a battery storage system, and
  • a smart house.

Launching the demonstration smart grid project Monday, are New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, NEDO Chairman Mr. Kazuo Furukawa, U.S. Rep. 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 two 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.

“The interest in this project has been so substantial, that Monday’s tours have filled up. However, we welcome the public to the ribbon cutting ceremony, and have made additional tours available for the public on Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. starting at Pajarito Cliffs at Building 5,” said DPU public affairs manager Julie Williams‐Hill. 

A photovoltaic rack at the PV array. Photo by Greg Kendall/ladailypost.com

Electricity from the two 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 percent. The photovoltaic system, with its 8.3 megawatt hour battery storage system, will demonstrate 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.”

More information about business‐to‐business opportunities and academic research interest is directed to greg.fisher@lacnm.us, 505.662.8296 and by visiting www.LosAlamosSmartGrid.info.

Public tours of the $52 million state‐of‐the‐art, international, smart grid project are offered through the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18. Participants are asked to meet at Building 5 at Pajarito Cliffs at 9:15 a.m. to board the Atomic City Transit tour bus for the 90‐120 minute tour. Reservations are required and can be made via email to Allison.Majure@lacnm.us.

Reservation requests must be received by 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 17.


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