NRECA: Grid modernization facilitated by broadband can generate substantial value for electric cooperatives

Many grid modernization and “smart grid” technologies offer operational benefits for electric cooperatives and other utilities and their customers. These benefits can increase reliability, resiliency and operational efficiency that lowers costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The NRECA recently undertook a study that extended the existing research on smart grid technologies in the cooperative context. The 2018 study assessed the annual economic benefit that could accrue to cooperatives from the deployment of smart grid technologies enabled by a broadband backbone, including demand management, asset management, distribution automation, Volt/VAR optimization, advanced metering infrastructure, distributed energy resources, substation automation, carrier cost replacement, and outage reduction. The study found that, on average, a 10,000 member cooperative could save $2.4 million per year while a 50,000 member cooperative could save $13 million per year.