EPB’s smart grid achieves performance certification

Authored By chloe.morrison

Chattanooga’s EPB-operated smart grid has achieved a certification that’s a challenge to attain-becoming the first major power distribution system in the country to earn Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal-PEER- certification.

The city’s smart grid minimizes problems by finding the source of the outage and rerouting around that issue, limiting the number of people impacted.

For area residents, the system’s “smart switches” mean fewer people have to deal with the inconvenience of a power outage. For businesses and industry, it means money savings. Click here for more information about how the smart grid works. 

PEER, which is owned and administered by Green Business Certification Inc., is a comprehensive framework for defining, assessing and verifying the overall sustainable performance of electricity delivery system design and operations.

It’s modeled after the LEED green building rating system and also serves as the driving force behind the U.S. Green Building Council’s vision to transform power systems.

“It’s important to recognize that PEER is a leadership standard and it’s not easy to achieve,” Jamie Statter, vice president of strategic relationships for the U.S. Green Building Council, said Tuesday. “A lot of systems would have to do significant improvements. Chattanooga is the exception to the rule in that they’ve done such significant work that they are able to go from day one.”

Quote-worthy 

“Thinking about what it means to be a real 21st-century city-Chattanooga has done it, and it hasn’t happened in any other place.”

-Jamie Statter, U.S. Green Building Council Vice President of Strategic Relationships

Leaders assessed EPB’s smart grid for more than a year using 69 criteria in four major groups-operational effectiveness, customer contribution, reliability and resiliency, and energy efficiency and environment. 

Chattanooga’s smart grid surpassed the 240 points required for PEER certification, and scored 294.3 points, according to a news release. 

Chattanooga also earned a perfect score in 18 of the 69 specific criteria including reliability and power quality, energy efficiency savings and operations/maintenance efficiency.  

EPB Chief Operating Officer David Wade said that local leaders are constantly working to improve services for the community. 

“It’s always good to have a third party come in and validate what anyone is saying,” he said. 

And several officials said the smart grid benefits the economy and business recruitment. 

“As Chattanooga continues to grow its innovation economy, it is critical that our electric system remains a leader in the utility industry by adopting the best technology available to enhance and strengthen the community’s smart grid,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said.