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March 20, 2024

Eversource Energy Center at UConn taps Gridmetrics to assist in power-grid resilience project

HBJ PHOTO | ANDREW LARSON Regional utility company Eversource operates this Hartford substation.

A Louisville, Colorado-based company that tracks the availability of power said Wednesday it has been chosen to participate in a $4.4 million community power-grid resilience project by the Eversource Energy Center at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

The company, Gridmetrics, is a subsidiary of CableLabs, a research and development lab for the broadband industry. Gridmetrics uses existing broadband infrastructure to monitor power usage down to the last mile of the electric distribution grid. Its proprietary Power Event Notification System, or PENS, uses its data to provide real-time, hyperlocal power outage notifications, the company said.

Eversource Energy Center selected Gridmetrics for the Grid Overhaul with Proactive, High-speed Undergrounding for Reliability, Resilience, and Security (GOPHURRS) program,
which is funded as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s $33 million Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER) program. 

This is the first effort to use Gridmetrics’ proprietary data to better inform communities’ resilience preparation and response, the company said.

“Gridmetrics’ Power Event Notification System offers additional granular insights our team needs to enhance the Outage Prediction Model,” which can then be used to optimize solar and energy storage and operations for faster service restoration, said Junbo Zhao, associate director of Eversource Energy Center and an assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering departments at the UConn College of Engineering.

Kazem Kazerounian, engineering dean at UConn, said the project is important. 

“It is crucial that academia and industry work together in partnership toward sustainability,” he said. “A future of clean energy requires all of us to think strategically, partner effectively and work toward the big picture.”

Gridmetrics’ project will initially focus on Hartford and West Hartford, which are served by Eversource Energy distribution feeders. 

Gridmetrics said that, in central Connecticut, the threat of power outages poses imminent dangers to at-risk populations, and that “this first-of-its-kind project empowers Hartford decision-makers to closely monitor critical infrastructure, and swiftly prioritize and deploy resources to provide timely assistance to hospitals, nursing homes, oxygen-dependent residents and other power-vulnerable communities during crises.”

UConn first announced the RACER grant in the fall of 2022. It said it has prioritized research on projects intended to meet some of the biggest challenges future generations face, including the impact and mitigation of climate change.

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