Results of the Kentucky Smart Grid Roadmap Initiative

By Matthew Turner, James H. Graham, and Adel S. Elmaghraby

In 2010, Kentucky began a three-year project to develop a comprehensive smart grid roadmap. Members of government agencies, academic researchers and other grid stakeholders proceeded to craft a smart grid vision that guides utility investment in infrastructure and technology and provides regulators with recommendations and an overview of best practices. In this follow-on to our December 2011 Smart Grid Newsletter article, we report progress in the Kentucky Smart Grid Roadmap Initiative.

In 2007, Title XIII of the Energy Independence and Security Act established a national policy for electric grid modernization in the United States and directed that electric utilities in individual states must consider and report to state regulatory agencies on investments in smart grids. Recognizing the interconnected nature of the power system, Kentucky officials saw the law’s requirements as an opportunity to formulate comprehensive plans for smart grid deployments in the state, and launched the Kentucky Smart Grid Roadmap Initiative (KSGRI). Organized by the University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research and The University of Kentucky’s Power and Energy Institute, the KSGRI was a collaborative smart grid planning effort involving state regulators, public utilities, academic institutions and private interest groups. The mandate of the initiative was to assess the existing condition of smart grid deployments in the state, to enhance understanding of smart grid concepts by stakeholders and to develop a roadmap for the deployment of smart grid technologies in Kentucky.

As described in an earlier newsletter article, the KSGRI implemented a multifaceted strategy to roadmap development: analysis of existing and planned smart grid deployments were performed using interrogatories sent to all 26 jurisdictional utilities; self-reporting surveys sent to a broad range of stakeholders were used to assess the public’s understanding of smart grid deployments and to quantify the perceived importance of the benefits that smart grid could provide; and a series of three smart grid focused workshops gathered key stakeholders to discuss factors likely to inhibit or encourage smart grid deployments, the current state and future needs of Kentucky’s electrical infrastructure and technologies and market and public policy approaches to facilitate smart grid deployments.

Ultimately more than 70 stakeholders provided insight into the operation of the Kentucky electric power system, identified opportunities for and barriers to grid modernization, and provided professional opinions, technical expertise and real world experience. The net results were a report on the smart grid deployments in the state and the Kentucky Smart Grid Roadmap, which basically provides six key recommendations:

  1. Encourage investments focused on evolvable high bandwidth data network architectures, preferably ones that are Internet Protocol based.
  2. Create an official Kentucky Smart Grid Council composed of academic, industrial, governmental and stakeholder members.
  3. Fund energy and technology policy and technology development research within the state university system.
  4. Create regulatory mechanisms to foster increased investments in both cost-effective demand response programs and energy efficiency technologies such as Volt/VAR.
  5. Allow for real-time and multi-tariff pricing.
  6. Establish clear metrics for priorities and goals for smart grid deployments in Kentucky.

In order to encourage implementation of the key recommendations, a 25 year timetable and detailed milestones were developed and organized according to four broad categories: organization and oversight, infrastructure deployments, awareness, marketing and education, and research and development and pilot programs.

Regarding organization and oversight, a Kentucky Smart Grid Taskforce should provide the necessary oversight to administer the implementation of the recommendations within the roadmap and to re-evaluate it as necessary. The taskforce would also create metrics used to perform an annual evaluation study, providing an unbiased assessment of progress and needs.

Infrastructure deployments, Advanced Metering Infrastructure is the ideal lead deployment to provide communication and metering infrastructure requirements for later applications, and has been shown to result in the overall optimal business case. Simultaneous transformations in information technology services based on service-oriented architectures can ensure interoperability and leverage the benefits of systems integration and data analytics across operational units. Once AMI is established, greatly expanded demand response and distributed energy resources programs can become realistic tools to offer a variety of benefits, including generation capacity deferments. Distribution level projects (SCADA, Volt/VAR) should occur either concurrently or subsequent to AMI. The KSGRI did not have specific recommendations regarding Advanced Asset Management or Advanced Transmission Operations.

Awareness, marketing, and education efforts could help gain support from consumers for smart grid programs, and should be comprehensively supported within the state by the creation of a “Kentucky Smart Grid Clearinghouse” website; all utilities are to offer consumer education programs, and tax incentives will be available for demand response capable technologies.

Finally, research and development and pilot programs are to be supported through the creation of a Smart Grid Research Center, which is to focus strictly on regional grid issues and energy policy, and to provide direct technical assistance to the Public Service Commission and to all Kentucky electric utilities; it is expected that this will help attract new manufacturing and energy investments to the state. A Smart Grid Integration and Test Lab will aid utilities in identifying best in class smart grid solutions with improved quality and timeliness. And finally, a collaborative AMI rate design and demand response pilot program is needed to address a variety of outstanding questions, including choice of market model types.

Participants in the KSGRI believe that smart grid technology has the potential to significantly improve energy security and reliability, increase generation supply and diversity, and reduce energy demands while stimulating job growth and economic development in Kentucky by creating a new energy economy and by helping to maintain Kentucky’s low electricity rates. As the smart grid market in Kentucky is largely uncoordinated at this point, creation of an organized approach would potentially position Kentucky as a leader in deployments, public policy and technological research. The taskforce’s recommendations, if followed, will achieve this in a logical and cost effective manner.



m turner

Matthew Turner, an IEEE member, is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering technology at Purdue University. Previously with the University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, his research interests include power distribution system modelling, best practices for power systems education, and electric energy and public policy. Additionally, his work in wireless sensing and control networks for biomedical and smart grid applications has been recognized by the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society.



James H. Graham, an IEEE senior member, is the Henry Vogt Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Louisville, and chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Educated at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Purdue University, he worked as a product design engineer for General Motors Corporation and taught at Purdue University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, before joining the University of Louisville faculty in 1985. His current research focuses on cyber-security of industrial control systems.



Adel S. Elmaghraby, an IEEE Senior Member, is professor and chairman of the Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Louisville. He has also held appointments at Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has advised over 60 master's graduates and 24 doctoral graduates. His research and publications span intelligent systems, neural networks, cyber-security, visualization and simulation. The IEEE-Computer Society has recognized his work with multiple awards including a Golden Core membership.