Smart Grids and Data Consortium

This coalition of rural electric cooperatives is working to use digital technologies to enhance grid infrastructure and better serve their communities.

The bipartisan infrastructure law includes billions of dollars in funding for smart grid investments that modernize and improve existing electric grid infrastructure. The Smart Grids and Data Consortium is working to streamline access to funding for electric cooperatives and identify solutions to meet the specific needs of electric co-ops. The consortium partners with federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofits and industry to identify funding opportunities and develop repeatable approaches to use digital technologies to modernize grid infrastructure and better serve rural communities. It also serves as a forum for co-ops to share lessons learned, identify opportunities for collaboration and learn from smart grid experts.

What Are Smart Grids?

Smart grids leverage digital technologies to enhance the visibility into and control over grid assets. This enhances grid reliability and promotes efficiencies for both the utility and their consumers. Smart grids: 

  • Reduce operating costs for co-ops and lower costs for consumers.
  • Allow for the integration of large-scale renewables.
  • Promote integration of customer-owner DERs.
  • Ensure faster power restoration after outages.
  • Help reduce peak demand.
  • Maximize efficiencies across transmission and distribution infrastructure.
    Improve security.
This graphic details some of the many sources of data that co-ops rely on to manage their operations. (Image Courtesy: RE Magazine)

The Consortium Seeks to Implement Solutions That:

  • Enable information sharing and collaboration to address common problems across smart grid planning, development, and implementation.
  • Access BIL funding opportunities for smart grid investments.
  • Demonstrate unique programs that utilize smart grid technologies.
  • Leverage partnerships with co-ops and other organizations to identify funding opportunities for regional collaboration.
  • Create education-based programs to develop workforce solutions for smart grid management

For co-ops interested in joining this consortium, please visit the infrastructure consortia section (login-required).

In the News

Header photo by Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images