A $4 million project by NRECA and the Department of Energy to advance grid resiliency will get underway this year when five electric cooperatives launch software to coordinate and deploy behind-the-meter resources when disaster strikes or power prices spike.

The Community-Integrated Distributed Energy Resilience (CIDER) Initiative is expected to demonstrate how “existing and affordable technologies can work together to produce cost savings, reduced outages, and create a more reliable grid at a time when it’s needed most,” said David Pinney, NRECA analytics research manager. 

NRECA selected the following co-ops to participate:

Rayburn Electric, a generation and transmission co-op based in Rockwell, Texas, will serve as an advisor for TVEC. 

“Electric co-ops make an ideal laboratory for this software and research on resiliency,” said Pinney, CIDER principal investigator. “These rural systems face greater challenges than urban systems, and the whole nation benefits by co-ops serving in this project to manage a more reliable grid.”  

DOE provided $2.9 million toward the three-year initiative. NRECA and its partners, software solution developers Camus Energy and Emulate Energy, contributed $1.1 million.

The project will use Camus Energy’s distributed energy resource management software (DERMS) and Emulate Energy’s home energy optimization software to sign up and dispatch consumer-member devices, including rooftop solar, electric vehicles, water heaters, battery systems and backup generators. The co-ops are expected to have the software installed and devices enrolled by midyear.

Through the CIDER Initiative, controls and devices will be tracked in real-time across the co-op’s territories to “carefully measure the costs and benefits and pave the way for how all utilities can leverage distributed energy resources in an affordable and scalable way," Pinney said.

"This will serve as a blueprint for managing DERs with the grid for cost savings, reduced outages and greater reliability,” he said. “We are excited that there is so much interest and we have a great group of co-ops that are willing to take this technology forward as quickly as possible.”