APPA DEED Board Awards Grant Funding to Eight Utility Projects

April 22, 2022

by Vanessa Nikolic
April 22, 2022

The American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) program advisory board recently awarded $495,292.43 in funding to eight APPA member utility grant proposals. 

The projects range from evaluating heat pump performance to providing guidance on grid-interactive and efficient building programs. 

Tacoma Power in Washington State received $125,000 in funding for its project focused on Commercial Heat Pump Water Heating (CHPWH) technology. The project will accelerate the deployment of high-performance CHPWH systems to equitably decarbonize and increase efficiency of the multifamily sector. 

The utility’s goal is to create a standard prescriptive program tool which could be used by any utility to run a CHPWH program for multifamily construction with minimal specialized knowledge about CHPWHs.

Wisconsin’s Manitowoc Public Utilities (MPU) earned funding for its renewable fuel conversion study for coal generation. The objective of the project is to evaluate options to secure renewable fuel source(s) sufficient to operate two circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boilers at maximum capacity factors.  

Within a rapidly-changing economic and regulatory landscape, MPU has been actively investigating the ability to successfully transition to burning solely renewable fuel pellets. However, finding raw materials has been a challenge for the utility. 

“MPU has four goals for this project: assess options to secure renewable fuel source(s); explore an in-house pelletization facility; investigate storage options for raw materials and/or pellets; and conduct an analysis of qualified biomass materials under MPU’s current Air Permit,” MPU General Manager Troy Adams said. “This grant will help fund consultant costs to conduct research on renewable biomass pelletizing facilities, storage facilities, raw material analysis, and associated project management expenses.” 

Nebraska’s Lincoln Electric System received funding from the DEED program for its heat pump rating representativeness project, a collaborative effort of utility and industry partners to improve the representativeness of ratings for variable speed heat pumps used in homes and small commercial buildings. This will be accomplished through observation of heat pump performance in a controlled field installation and comparison with corresponding laboratory test results. 

Littleton Electric Light and Water Departments in Massachusetts will use DEED funding to develop independent system operator (ISO) data integrated generator control software using artificial intelligence. The utility will create a web-based software solution and a mobile application to autonomously monitor load forecast and dispatch two peak shaving generators by utilizing real time ISO data. 

This “all in one” software will be customizable to alert utility staff when peak-shaving events should occur or any other aspect important to the utility.

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) will apply DEED funding to its Gridware Pilot Program. This Pilot Program will deploy 50 devices on a single line segment in each of the five UAMPS member utilities to demonstrate the capabilities of the Gridware System’s monitoring system.

The Gridware System is a self-powered, low-cost monitoring solution designed to detect distribution grid faults and monitor for equipment degradation. It will provide the five UAMPS member utilities near-real-time visibility into the status of their distribution equipment, the precise dates, times and locations of unique fault classes, and insight into how equipment shifts over various time frames. 

The FREEDM Systems Center at North Carolina State University received funding for its planned demonstration of a portable solar carport with integrated electric vehicle charger. This product will increase solar adoption rates for low- and middle-income households as well as at commercial locations. 

The FREEDM Systems Center will use the funding to purchase two GismoPower carports, install electrical connections at multiple locations on its university campus to demonstrate the technology, and rent a trailer for transporting the units to various public education events throughout the year.

“Our original intent was to lease a unit for perhaps two months of evaluation,” FREEDM Systems Center Director of Industry and Innovation Ken Dulaney said. “But with DEED funding, we plan to purchase two units and host multiple demonstrations across the state.”  

Wisconsin joint action agency WPPI Energy received funding for its utility guidebook on grid-interactive and efficient building (GEB) programs. 

WPPI Energy says GEBs are highly energy efficient and have the potential to reshape buildings into valuable grid resources that can reduce electric system costs and provide customer benefits such as improved comfort and resilience.

The project aims to support small to mid-sized utilities, especially those serving rural communities, in developing their first GEB programs and offerings. WPPI will provide best practices, useful data, and a program development guidebook.

Alabama’s Huntsville Utilities accepted DEED funding for development work on a stochastic model of extreme temperature events in the region, to assist decision making by utility planners.

More-accurate extreme temperature prediction models would help the public power industry as a whole anticipate and respond to spikes in demand levels that often lead to interruption of power supply to customers during extreme temperature events. While outages cannot be completely eradicated, Huntsville’s goal is to plan effectively to ensure a reliable and robust system during extreme events.

In addition to research, development, and demonstration grant funding, the DEED program advisory board awarded $89,000 in funding to scholarship applicants and utilities hosting student interns.

Four lineworker and technical education scholarships were awarded to students referred by the City of Gastonia, North Carolina, Missouri River Energy Services, ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc., and the City of Parker, South Dakota. 

16 APPA member utilities and joint action agencies were also awarded funds to work alongside students, who will complete important projects and tasks for their utilities’ day-to-day operations and learn more about careers in public power. 

APPA members can learn more about the DEED program and future funding opportunities on our website. The program’s next application cycle will open on May 1, 2022.