Kandiyohi Power using new technology to balance grid

Kandiyohi Power Cooperative (KPC) is seeing the benefits of today’s sophisticated technology since it finished integrating its load management system with Great River Energy’s new demand response management system (DRMS) this spring.

Load management is the process of balancing the supply and demand of electricity on the electric system by adjusting or controlling electric loads, such as air conditioners and water heaters. A DRMS allows cooperatives to save money and improve reliability through closer monitoring and precise control of electric loads. The system will also allow new load control technologies to be seamlessly integrated for additional benefits in the future.

Diane Maurice, KPC’s member services manager, said the cooperative is now enjoying the new DRMS’s many features and the efficiency of running multiple programs from one source. KPC serves more than 8,000 members in Kandiyohi and surrounding counties.

“The integration with Great River Energy’s DRMS enables us to receive feedback-control verification, allowing us to monitor our system and troubleshoot. This affects our bottom line in a positive way,” Maurice said.

John Reinhart, Great River Energy’s demand response technology lead, said the new DRMS is also creating cost-saving opportunities.

“There are periods of time when our member-owner cooperatives incur high transmission costs and our previous load management system was not flexible enough to selectively schedule load management for those periods of time,” Reinhart said. “We are seeing that our new DRMS furthers our ability to partition and target different geographic areas and partitioned market zones to lower costs.”

Since adopting the new system in 2017, Great River Energy has worked to help its member-owner cooperatives integrate their load management systems into the modern DRMS. Pelican Rapids-based Lake Region Electric Cooperative was the first to begin using the system and KPC is the second.

“This now opens the field to 12 of Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives who are either using our new DRMS or are now ready to,” Reinhart said.