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Future grid is out. Grid mod is in.

Monday, April 24, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shari Wormwood
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Great River Energy-member Future Grid Committee hosted a summit at the Rush Creek Golf Course in Maple Grove on March 28 and 29. The purpose was to hear from leading experts around the country, discuss key drivers of change in the electric utility industry and consider approaches for addressing those changes in the best interest of members.


Vice President and Chief Transmission Officer Will Kaul kicked off the meeting by announcing that as the future grid initiative moves into its second phase, the Future Grid Committee is changing the name of the effort to the grid modernization initiative.


“This seemed like the future three years ago when we first started this initiative but the landscape is changing rapidly and we are now in the thick of it. Grid modernization better describes what we are doing. We are replacing and upgrading obsolete and aging infrastructure with new systems that will significantly add to our capabilities and support our members as they deal with rapid changes in the market and ever increasing customer expectations,” said Kaul.

Grid modernization is a term used around the country to describe bringing the electric grid to a place where it can meet customer needs, take advantage of advanced technologies and meet public policy goals such as those regarding renewable energy and energy efficiency. Higher customer expectations and the transition from a centralized electric system to one that is far more integrated are central in these discussions.

Kaul recounted the success of the first phase of the initiative, sharing that the focus has been on education, collaboration, technology deployment and developing a shared vision of the future. By all accounts, the first phase has been a success.

Alan Shedd, director, energy solutions, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, said, “What you are doing here is something amazing. Having these discussions is a best-in-class example of commitment.”

The meeting was attended by approximately 120 GRE members, leaders and employees whose work is closely tied to the grid modernization initiative, particularly that related to technology such as advanced metering infrastructure, meter data management, demand response, data analytics, telecommunications and electrification. The initiative supports GRE’s Shape Our Future strategic imperative.

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