October 19, 2021
The Post Road Foundation is excited to announce its selection as a recipient of a “Connected Community” award from the U.S. Department of Energy. With this award, Post Road and its collaborators, including the Grid Integration Systems and Mobility (GISMo) group at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Efficiency Maine Trust, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, and Knowledge Problem LLC, will evaluate the ability of transactive energy, a novel, smart grid technology enabled by reliable, high-speed internet access, to meet the future energy needs of rural and urban communities across the U.S. The multi-year evaluation will be conducted by deploying and monitoring the operation and performance of a particular version of transactive energy, the Transactive Energy Service System (TESS), to three “Connected Communities” in Maine and New Hampshire. The Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic and the Cyberlaw Clinic, each at Harvard Law School, are providing additional pro-bono support.
The team expects that the five-year project will demonstrate that transactive energy can (i) facilitate more effective use of electricity distribution systems through load flexibility, with applications such as peak management; (ii) reveal the financial value of DER deployment on the distribution system to motivate deployment of distributed energy resources and other efficiency measures; and (iii) lower financial and engineering hurdles to beneficial electrification — replacing fossil-fuel-powered heating and transportation with lower cost heat-pumps and electric vehicles. The project will help position transactive energy to scale nation-wide so that it can help all communities lower their energy costs and meet their sustainability, resiliency, and environmental goals.
Seth Hoedl, President, Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder of the Post Road Foundation remarked that “Post Road is honored to have been selected as an awardee of the Connected Communities program and to have the opportunity to work with such great collaborators. We’re excited to demonstrate the value of transactive energy and help advance this transformative technology for the benefit of rural and urban communities across the country. The award is also a great validation of Post Road’s vision of integrating advanced telecommunications with the electric grid.”
Senator Angus King (I-Maine) applauded the award. “In the 21st century, a high-speed broadband connection is fundamental to every facet of modern life – including our energy grid,” said Senator King. “This investment from the Department of Energy (DOE) will help the Post Road Foundation and Efficiency Maine invest in supporting smart infrastructure statewide, and use these resources to help reduce electricity costs and increase energy efficiency across Maine’s communities. From fishing and manufacturing to technology startups and financial services, all our state’s industries rely on the internet and will benefit from greener, more efficient energy. The partnership between the Post Road Foundation, Efficiency Maine, and the DOE is a perfect example of how the public and private sectors can work together to improve connectivity in a way that supports our economy and our environment, and I look forward to seeing the effects of this important funding.”
“We are excited to work with the Post Road Foundation team to test this promising technology in Maine,” said Ian Burnes, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Efficiency Maine. “Our aim is to help Maine consumers get the maximum cost savings from beneficial electrification—such as from their tens of thousands of newly installed heat pump water heaters and similar devices—and improving grid reliability at the same time.”
“The move towards a Transactive Energy Business Model is core to our strategic plan,” said Dave Erickson, Director of Access and Distributed Resources at New Hampshire Electric Cooperative. “This important work with the great team that Post Road has assembled will continue to unlock member value as the electric distribution system is used in new and innovative ways. Our sleeves are rolled up and we’re thrilled to be part of the team”
The Post Road Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit located in Oakland, CA, is dedicated to developing and deploying synergistic infrastructure at the intersection of energy and communications. Originally spun-out of the Harvard Kennedy School in 2017 as the culmination of a research grant from The Rockefeller Foundation’s Zero Gap Initiative, Post Road addresses two of the most pressing challenges of our time, inequality and climate change, through three complementary activities: infrastructure project development, policy research, and technology demonstration projects. This unique combination of activities enables Post Road to help rural and digitally red-lined urban communities in the U.S. increase the availability and affordability of broadband and broadband-enabled energy, education, healthcare and other applications for human and economic development.
The GISMO Group at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a multidisciplinary research group that explores cross-cutting areas in power grid, building and ambient intelligence, and human mobility and that aims to enable 100% clean energy for all. The SLAC team has a highly successful record of developing and deploying transactive energy systems and other DER technologies, such as TESS.
Efficiency Maine Trust is an independent administrator of programs to improve the efficiency of energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Maine. The Trust does this primarily by delivering financial incentives on the purchase of high-efficiency equipment or changes to operations that help customers save electricity, natural gas and other fuels throughout the Maine economy. The Trust is a quasi-state agency governed by a Board of Trustees with oversight from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
New Hampshire Electric Cooperative is a member-owned non-profit (501(c)(12)) electric distribution cooperative serving 86,000 homes and businesses in 115 New Hampshire communities. NHEC is committed to high speed internet service access for its underserved members throughout New Hampshire with its new subsidiary NH Broadband. Through investments in broadband services, member outreach, smart grid technology, energy storage, innovative rates, energy efficiency, demand response, and beneficial electrification programs, NHEC is empowering its members to make energy choices that not only benefit them, but choices that benefit all.
Knowledge Problem, LLC is a thought leader in the underlying economic theory of transactive energy and has also participated in the technology development since the earliest projects. Knowledge Problem’s President, Lynne Kiesling, is also a Research Professor and Co-Director of the Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics, College of Engineering, Design & Computing, University of Colorado-Denver.
The Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School offers students the opportunity to practice environmental law through work on a variety of litigation, administrative, legislative, and policy projects. The Clinic works with scientists, medical professionals, nonprofit and public interest organizations, and government clients on environmental and energy issues at the federal, state, and local level.
The Cyber Law Clinic at Harvard Law School, based at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, provides high-quality, pro-bono legal services to clients on issues relating to the Internet, technology, and intellectual property.