June 1, 2021, San Francisco, CA – To help electric utilities better harness local solar resources, reduce energy costs and fight climate change, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is awarding $750,000 to a team of Camus Energy, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Kit Carson Electric Cooperative to advance artificial intelligence (AI) research and development.
This will allow Camus Energy, who provide a Grid Management software platform for utilities facing a changing grid, to leverage PNNL’s world-leading expertise in AI for the grid to support rural electric cooperatives who have limited or inconsistent telemetry from solar installations, utility equipment and smart meters.
These new capabilities will be demonstrated at scale on Kit Carson Electric Cooperative’s distribution network to provide evidence of performance and scalability for future utility customers. This collaboration will accelerate commercial technologies and software products based on machine learning approaches for data analysis and situational awareness in solar-dominant distribution grids.
“Kit Carson is a leader in bringing renewable energy resources to its member community, providing a roadmap for other utilities to take similar steps in reducing costs,” said Astrid Atkinson, CEO of Camus Energy. “We’re excited that this project will provide a framework for other electric cooperatives to do the same.”
Access to real-time and near-future situational awareness of grid conditions—including metered and unmetered endpoints – enables distribution operators to confidently add large amounts of local solar into their grids. Such insight, however, requires high-fidelity data that many distribution grids lack given current tooling. This project provides comprehensive visibility via existing data sources, removing a common barrier to solar adoption.
“Camus Energy has been an ideal software partner in identifying where and when endpoint telemetry has been needed,” said Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative. “This project will help us infer even more insight in order to beat our goals of 100% daytime solar by 2022.”
Camus Energy was awarded as a part of the SETO Fiscal Year 2020 funding program, an effort to advance research and development projects that will lower solar electricity costs, increase the competitiveness of American solar manufacturing and businesses, improve the reliability and resilience of the grid, and expand solar to new applications. This is one of several projects that will leverage U.S. artificial intelligence experience, especially in the area of machine learning, to develop disruptive solutions across the solar industry value chain by forming partnerships between AI experts and industry stakeholders. Camus Energy is the only private company funded in this year’s program as a project lead.
As part of its $750,000 award from SETO, Camus Energy will contribute an additional $750,000 to bring the total funding of the project to $1.5 million.
About Camus Energy
Camus Energy provides utilities and energy providers with the tools to understand and manage a changing grid, delivering an integrative view of local grid conditions using data from utility equipment, customer-owned resources, and public data streams. The Camus Energy team leverages prior experience building system architecture that is scalable and resilient to the unknowns in weather extremes, cyber attacks, and volatility. To learn more about Camus Energy, visit https://camus.energy/.
About Kit Carson Electric Cooperative
Formed in 1944, Kit Carson is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative in northern New Mexico and is the second largest cooperative in the state. Kit Carson is one of 16 electric cooperatives that serve rural New Mexico communities, serving nearly 30,000 members in Taos, Colfax and Rio Arriba counties. To learn more about Kit Carson, visit www.kitcarson.com.
About Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit PNNL.gov.
About the Solar Energy Technologies Office
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office supports early-stage research and development to improve the affordability, reliability, and domestic benefit of solar technologies on the grid. Learn more at energy.gov/solar-office.
If you’re interested in learning more about this project, please reach out to the Camus Energy team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in collaborating with us on platform development or device support, please reach out! We are excited to gather a community of collaborators to advance this technology in the open, and ultimately support a much richer ecosystem of grid-integrated zero-carbon energy resources.