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Distributed Energy Resources

Colorado Springs Utilities, City Receive DOE Funding for Energy Project

Public power utility Colorado Springs Utilities, the City of Colorado Springs, and several other entities have received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to validate concepts that aggregate power across complex energy systems, including virtual power plants.

This will support the deployment of large amounts of solar, grid-connected buildings, electric vehicles, and other distributed resources, DOE recently said.

Along with the City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities, other parties involved in the project are Energy Resource Center, the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs, and Careers in Construction Colorado.

Participation in the program has a cash value up to $500,000 (to be divided between two phases), and additional research and planning-focused technical support valued up to $3.5 million, said Natalie Eckhart, a spokesperson for Colorado Springs Utilities.

“We’re fortunate to participate in this program that provides us access to national laboratory experts and their cutting-edge research capabilities as we advance our Sustainable Energy Plan. That plan includes goals for increasing use of renewable energy, incorporating storage resources and integrating new technologies as we modernize our grid,” Eckhart told Public Power Current.

She said that Colorado Springs Utilities staff members and community partners will work alongside the National Renewable Energy Laboratory “to help us determine the best path forward for our community’s energy future,” including:

  • Adding large-scale solar to our generating capacity
  • Preparing for increased demands related to electric vehicle use
  • Aggregating power from multiple resources, possibly to include virtual power plants; and
  • Adding other distributed resources and grid-connected buildings

“A couple of important roles that we will play will be to provide data and systems knowledge as the research is conducted, as well as to ensure community stakeholders have visibility and input into the planning effort,” Eckhart noted.

NREL is a DOE laboratory based in Colorado.