DEED board commits $637,707 to support public power research and students this spring

May 25, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
May 25, 2021

Grants and scholarships totaling $637,707 have been committed by the board of the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments program to support students, research in solar, electric vehicles, battery storage, hydrogen generation, and low-income residential energy efficiency, among other topics.

Seventy two percent of DEED grant applications were approved for funding. More specifically, eight of the eleven submitted applications were approved and amounted to funding of $572,707.

Additionally, 16 students interested in energy careers will be supported by $65,000 for ten internships (10 x $5,000), one student research grant (1 x $5,000), and five lineworker and technical education scholarships (5 x $2,000).

Details on the eight grant projects and 16 scholarships are as follows:

Grants

  • Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, Solar plus Storage Operations Support Trailer, $25,000
  • Burlington Electric Department, VT, Property Energy Plan: A public utility tool to reduce energy use and costs in the residential sector, $47,000
  • City of Westerville Electric Division, OH, Public Power’s Role in Attainable Housing, customer, energy efficiency, energy conservation, $26,850
  • CPS Energy, TX, Panel Level Energy Storage Demonstration Project, $54,760
  • Douglas PUD, WA, Producing renewable hydrogen from hydropower, $125,000
  • Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District, OR, Self-Service Ride & Drive and Rural EV Sharing, $125,000
  • WPPI Energy, Joint Action Agency, WI, Research to Support Income-Qualified Customer Segment, $45,900
  • Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co., MA, Cost-benefit analysis of undergrounding electric cabling through co-deployment with optical fiber, $123,197.75

Additional details on projects tied to grants

Solar plus Storage Operations Support Trailer, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority

The Solar plus Storage Operations Support Trailer will be used by AMEA to offer support to AMEA members during outages due to storms, construction projects, and as an educational tool for solar and battery backup information.

Property Energy Plan: A public utility tool to reduce energy use and costs in the residential sector, Burlington Electric Department 

With this funding, customized property energy plans and portfolio assessments will be developed and implemented for 25 residential properties, with a focus on larger multi-unit buildings emphasizing affordability and equity. The residential sector is responsible for 25% of BED’s annual kilowatt hour sales and provides an opportunity for building electrification to advance BED’s Net Zero Energy vision.

Public Power’s Role in Attainable Housing, City of Westerville Electric Division

The City of Westerville will conduct an extensive data analysis to understand Westerville customers’ residential energy burden. With a greater understanding of residential consumption at the meter- and customer-level combined with other publicly accessible data, the utility hopes to implement incentive and efficiency programs for customers with a high energy burden, to support the community’s goal of attainable housing. The new programs would ultimately decrease residential utility bills, the city’s environmental impact, and the utility’s peak load while improving customer equity and engagement.

Panel Level Energy Storage Demonstration Project, CPS Energy

This project looks at maximizing the benefit of locally generated solar power by utilizing a behind the panel designed battery energy storage system. The project will focus on solar, shifting the benefit of the grid, utilization of demand-response, and cyber security evaluation. The outcome can provide utilities with a companion system to distributed solar installations.

Producing renewable hydrogen from hydropower, Douglas County PUD

Douglas PUD will produce renewable hydrogen from its Wells Hydroelectric Project. Using anelectrolyzer, water particles will be split and the resulting hydrogen will be captured and stored. This hydrogen can then be sold as a transportation fuel, agricultural fertilizer additive or used in industrial processes. This pilot project will demonstrate the ability to create power sales moderation and maintenance and reserve capacity efficiencies.

Self-Service Ride & Drive and Rural EV Sharing, Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District

Electric vehicles have been gaining market share in large urban areas but their popularity in smaller towns and rural areas remains limited, primarily due to rural residents’ lack of access to EVs. Forth’s new Self-Service Ride & Drive and Rural EV Sharing program offers great promise as an accessible, cost-effective, user-friendly way to overcome barriers to EV adoption in rural towns. Users simply download a car-sharing app, create an account, and then unlock the EV with their smartphone or a radio-frequency identification card. The same vehicles can also be made available to low-income housing residents as a low-cost car-sharing service, thereby expanding users’ mobility and supporting utilities’ transportation equity initiatives.

Research to Support Income-Qualified Customer Segment, WPPI Energy

Research consistently shows a gap between how trustworthy income-qualified customers and average residential customers view their local utility. This marketing research project will both review secondary research and conduct primary research with an aim to dramatically increase customers’ trust in their utility and participation in energy assistance programs. There will be an identification of customer barriers and equity limitations when applying for energy assistance funding and a determination of the best messaging to overcome those barriers. There will also be an exploration of how a local utility can best support its customers when applying for energy assistance programs.

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Undergrounding Electric Cabling Through Co-Deployment With Optical Fiber, Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co.

The UMass Energy Transition Institute in partnership with Groundwork Data and the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company are developing a statistical model to help municipal utilities around the country better understand the costs and benefits associated with jointly undergrounding electric and broadband infrastructure. The research takes into account the latest construction methodologies, mapping tools, and data analysis techniques to calculate costs of construction, and it integrates a wide range of benefits including increased broadband access, smart grid technologies, and enhanced resiliency. The completed research will inform long-term capital planning and strategic decision-making for municipal utilities across the country

Scholarships

Internships

  • Vermillion Light and Power Administrative Internship, City of Vermillion, SD; $5,000
  • Powering the Future of the Workforce in the Public Power Industry, Internship for Sacramento Municipal Utility District, CA; $5,000
  • Summer College Intern, Internship at City of Wilson, NC; $5,000
  • Community Outreach & Marketing Intern, Internship at WPPI Energy, WI; $5,000
  • Public Power Connections Intern, Internship at River Falls Municipal Utilities, WI; $5,000
  • System Integration Intern, Virginia Tech Electric, VA; $5,000
  • Energy Market Operations Intern, Michigan Public Power Agency; $5,000
  • Substation Drawings Update and Management Internship,  Beaches Energy Services, FL; $5,000
  • Electrical Generation and Distribution System Internship, Lowell Light & Power, MI; $5,000
  • Operations Internship – EV Charging Stations, Heartland Consumers Power District, SD  energy use, electric vehicle charging stations, cost signals, rate structure; $5,000

Student Research Grant

  • Providing System Reserves with Renewable Resources in the Southwest Power Pool Market, Anne Stratman, University of Nebraska – Lincoln; Nebraska Public Power District; $5,000

Lineworker and Technical Education Scholarships

  • $2,000, Education, Anya Byrne, City of Tallahassee, FL
  • $2,000, Education/lineworker, Devon Rainer, City of Tallahassee, FL
  • $2,000, Education/lineworker, Dylan Richards, Glencoe Light & Power, MN
  • $2,000, Education, Ashley Rothmier, Independence Power and Light, MO
  • $2,000, Education/lineworker, Collin Sauer, Oconomowoc Utility, WI

For additional information about APPA’s DEED program, click here.

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