Research, Development, and Demonstration
Itron is closely involved in the development and demonstration of new ways to gain value from distributed power generation, with particular expertise in renewable power sources such as solar and wind, as well as combined heat and power technologies. One example, managed on behalf of Commonwealth Energy for the California Energy Commission, involved a detailed study of the opportunity to use distributed generation in a “mini-grid” test area in the Los Angeles metropolitan area to help reduce distribution and transmission capital costs and glean environmental benefits. Currently, Itron is the Program Manager for the CPUC’s Solar Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Program, helping to move forward the connection of solar resources to the smart grid.
Program Design and Evaluation
Working in the energy world of the 21st century often means simultaneously meeting aggressive regulatory targets for customer-owned DG and renewable resources, renewable portfolio standards (RPS), air quality requirements, and emerging global climate change targets. Itron’s C&A experts have deep familiarity with renewable energy and DG regulatory requirements, and their associated technology cost and performance trends. We have also conducted some of the most progressive analyses on ways to integrate renewable energy facilities into today’s electricity systems in order to improve system reliability. With over twenty years of experience in helping assess and plan renewable energy programs, Itron’s supply-side experts can provide balanced insights and advice on cost-effective ways to meet challenging regulatory, RPS, GHG, and environmental goals.
Economic and Environmental Analysis
In today’s energy world, rapidly evolving environmental requirements can have unexpected economic consequences. To help turn environmental challenges into economic solutions, Itron professionals match a comprehensive understanding of regulations with innovative approaches. Our expertise includes in-depth knowledge of energy availability; land use; access to transmission lines; cost-effectiveness of different energy technologies; real-world performance of DG and renewable technologies; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions impacts; customer energy needs; and load shapes. In a recent study conducted in California, Itron investigated the status and costs of controls for reducing emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from reciprocating engines operating on biogas from dairy digesters and examined these against emerging GHG requirements. In recognition of an innovative approach that balanced costs with evolving environmental policies for this project, Itron professionals were awarded the prestigious 2008 ASME Prime Mover Award.
Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
Itron’s C&A group has provided leading-edge monitoring services to the energy industry, including both third-party metering and installation of Itron’s own custom-designed monitoring systems. That tradition continues with project monitoring services provided by Itron’s C&A group. Itron engineers have developed state-of-the-art electricity, fuel, and thermal monitoring systems to collect and provide comprehensive electricity and thermal efficiency information to their clients. Metered performance information includes profiles on project electricity generation on an interval basis for 8760 hours per year. Monitoring services are customized to a program’s evaluation budget and needs, ranging from full system purchases to lease arrangements.
Examples of Recent Projects
The supply side has worked on the following high profile projects on behalf of the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission:
- Self-Generation Incentive Program
- California Solar Initiative
- Solar Water Heater Pilot Program