Rocky Mountain Power has three new projects underway funded through their “Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan” (STEP) program, a 5-year program which can be used to fund projects related to vehicle infrastructure, clean coal research, solar development, utility-scale battery storage, and other innovative technology, economic development and air quality initiatives. The funding for these programs is collected from all customers through a small surcharge on your bill, and the Commission will have to approve each of these proposed projects individually.
Intelligent Charging System
First, RMP is proposing to develop an intelligent charging system to be used at Salt Lake City’s intermodal transit hub, which will serve the electric needs of light rail, electric buses, and passenger vehicle and truck traffic. Electrification of our transportation will require new infrastructure to charge the variety of electric passenger vehicles, trucks, and public transit vehicles that will hit the road in the coming years. Many of these vehicles will be capable of charging at power levels much higher than provided by today’s standard chargers. The “Intermodal Hub Project” will use intelligent algorithms to schedule and prioritize charging needs for a variety of transportation options in order to predict optimal charging times and minimize the amount of new grid infrastructure needed to serve these vehicles. The Intermodal Hub Project is a collaboration between RMP, Utah State University’s Sustainable Electrified Transportation Center and UTA. The proposed control system would be developed at USU and deployed at UTA’s Intermodal Hub in Salt Lake City. Rocky Mountain Power is asking for $1,995,576 to develop a power balance and demand response system for this project.
Battery Demand Response Project
Second, RMP has proposed a “Battery Demand Response Project” in partnership with Wasatch Development to build a new development of 600 housing units, each with a battery that can be controlled by RMP. The batteries will be charged by solar power during the day, and RMP can control the batteries to provide power for residents of the community during peak periods in the evening and at night. The total cost of the project is estimated at $34 million, but RMP is asking for $3.27 million of STEP funding to pay for a demand response system that can be used to control the batteries. RMP also plans to use the data from the project to test and study the deployment of battery storage and to prepare for the deployment of more micro-grid solutions in the future. RMP also plans to hire a third-party consultant to quantify the benefits of the battery storage system and inform rate design for customers with batteries.
Advanced Resiliency Management System
Last, RMP is proposing to use $16.2 million on an “Advanced Resiliency Management System” that will deploy new communications and sensor infrastructure on the grid. This new equipment will allow residential customers to receive more granular (hourly) data about their energy usage. It will also provide more detailed outage information to RMP, allowing the utility to identify and resolve power outages more quickly. The new equipment will be deployed on portions of the grid that serve “critical customers,” including hospitals, trauma centers, and police and fire dispatchers in order to improve system reliability.