The American Public Power Association and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to jointly develop tools that public power utilities can use to better target and prioritize investments to improve electricity reliability.
Berkeley Lab’s participation in the joint effort is sponsored by the Office of Electricity of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Berkeley Lab is one of the 17 DOE national laboratories.
The tools will be hosted on APPA’s eReliability Tracker, an affordable, easy-to-use mobile-friendly web-based service that provides public power utilities with an effective way to collect, categorize, and summarize outage information.
eReliability Tracker already features one of Berkeley Lab’s tools, the Interruption Cost Estimate (ICE) Calculator. The calculator allows electric utilities to estimate the economic consequences of power interruptions to customers and then use this information to determine the benefits associated with reliability improvements.
The Association has previously worked with Berkeley scientists to explore differences in patterns of major outages across public power utilities.
The Association has also used ICE to communicate the cost of cyber-related outages for the Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) program, including building a Ukraine-like event simulation so that utilities can better understand and discuss the impact of cyber-security related outages specific to their utility.
The agreement will allow Association staff and Berkeley Lab scientists to work closer with one another to deeply probe the causes of power interruptions and the reasons why reliability investments vary in their effectiveness when deployed in the field.
The Association and Berkeley Lab will use this understanding to develop new metrics and tools that will increase utility confidence in the improvements they can expect from various reliability-enhancing activities.
“Through this agreement, we hope to continue improving on and developing the best metrics for identifying the most cost effective and efficient reliability investments at public power utilities,” said Alex Hofmann, the Association’s Senior Director of Energy and Environmental Services.