The grant has been awarded through the Renewable Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER) Funding Programme, a $33 million funding programme which supports energy resilience projects designed to foster engagement and communication among stakeholders, such as utilities, emergency responders and community groups, especially in underserved areas vulnerable to energy service disruptions.
The Solar-HERO project is focused on automation strategies for rapid energy restoration, and NREL has partnered with Copper Labs to develop an estimation tool that coordinates datasets to enable real-time visibility of a grid. With that data, research teams will identify gaps in information and the needs of community members prior to building a community visibility and controllability upgrade plan that enables automated restoration during power outages. Additionally, this team will develop a virtual emergency operations centre allowing interaction and coordination between the different stakeholders to complete rapid and equitable power restoration.
“Real-time meter data is an essential part of any energy service disruption response strategy” said Dan Forman, CEO of Copper Labs. “With Copper Labs' technology, we're supporting the Solar-HERO project with better data from existing meters without requiring hardware retrofits. We are especially proud to bring our technology to a project focused on underserved communities that have previously been vulnerable to system interruptions.”
Solutions to the project require real-time field data orchestration, which is possible through Copper Labs' technology. Copper's unique, patented hardware can be installed in central locations to remotely access data from hundreds of individual meters at once, providing utilities and their customers with their own real-time usage data. The information gathered from Copper's devices will enable rapid data sharing of grid status, saving crucial time during extreme power outages or energy loss events. Now, emergency crews, utility operations and community members can assess the situation and have a rapid system restoration plan in place.
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