USEA is USAID's implementing partner for the Russian/American Smart Grid Partnership Initiative, a program of the Obama-Medvedev Bilateral Presidential Commission. In October 2011, USEA hosted Smart Grid Commercial Roundtables in Moscow and Washington D.C., to facilitate a dialogue between Russian and American companies on energy efficiency policy drivers, technologies and smart grid project opportunities and the United States. The initiative comprises of the following four components:
I. CenterPoint Energy/Austin Energy and MRSK Partnership
A peer-to-peer utility partnership was established between CenterPoint Energy and Austin Energy in Texas and MRSK in Russia focusing on energy efficiency best practices through grid modernization and the development of the smart grid. MRSK cost shares the partnership by funding their own travel costs. Initial exchange visits were conducted in Texas and in Kaluga, Russia which provided broad introductions to the U.S. and Russia smart grid operations.
II. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Belgorodenergo Partnership
USAID and USEA provided support for a second utility partnership between San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Belgorodenergo, the electric distribution company for the Belgorod Oblast in Russia. The two utilities signed a formal memorandum of understanding and developed a prioritized list of topics to cover in future activities following initial exchange visits to San Diego and Belgorod. Exchange visits for the remainder of FY 2012 are expected to focus on automated metering infrastructure (AMI), remote security & video surveillance; outage management systems, distribution automation and street light management.
III. Supporting Russian/American Smart Grid Commerce
Business Roundtables were organized in the U.S. and in Russia that brought together utility, policy and regulatory officials and vendors from the United States and Russia in dialogues to identify support smart grid business opportunities and discuss common obstacles to smart grid technology deployment. Topics to be discussed at future roundtables will be technology focused and could include: distributed generation; end-use efficiency; generation efficiency; and line loss reduction.
IV. Joint Russian/American Study on Impediments to Smart Grid Deployment in the United States and Russia
A joint Russian/American study on the regulatory, commercial, market structure and consumer impediments to smart grid deployment is being implemented by the United States Energy Association and the Russian Energy Forecasting Agency. The study will identify common areas of energy policies, tariffs and market structures in Russia and the United States that impede the energy efficiency benefits of smart grid technology. It will contain a set of recommendations to policy makers, regulators, and utility officials for follow-up work that could be conducted jointly in each country to remove barriers to smart grid technology deployment in the next phase of the project. The study is expected to be completed by September 2012.