Case Study

Holy Cross Energy

Colorado

Holy Cross Energy (HCE), an electric cooperative in Western Colorado, has an ambitious goal to transition from a coal-heavy power mix to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2030. To enable HCE to progress towards its vision and goals, Camus Energy deployed a secure, cloud-based grid orchestration software platform. 

Blazing a Trail for the Utility of the Future

Challenge

Holy Cross Energy (HCE), an electric cooperative in Western Colorado, has an ambitious goal to transition from a coal-heavy power mix to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2030. About 80% of its carbon-free generation will come from utility-scale solar, wind, and battery storage, with the remaining 20% coming from local distributed energy resources (DERs), such as rooftop solar and batteries at homes and businesses. As HCE makes this shift, it seeks to keep its service affordable while enhancing the resilience of its grid and members. 

To get there, HCE is fundamentally re-envisioning grid operations. Its vision is to become a distribution system operator that can manage the local grid and orchestrate complex interactions among diverse energy resources—similar to how independent system operators manage transmission systems today. The cooperative wants to treat all of its energy resources agnostically so that its members can participate in its portfolio in the same way as bulk resources.

As more HCE members deployed DERs, the cooperative recognized that managing proliferating DER types, vendors, data, and programs was getting complicated. It needed to simplify the operational complexity while maintaining the flexibility to offer new programs and support more resources.

Solution and Approach

To enable HCE to progress towards its vision and goals, Camus Energy deployed a secure, cloud-based grid orchestration software platform

The platform combines monitoring, analysis, and control of HCE’s grid on an interface overlaid with Google Maps. Its features include:

  • Quick access to comprehensive information on energy resources and grid assets for day-to-day operational decisions as well as deeper-dive analyses 
  • Aggregation and control of large numbers of DERs for diverse applications such as coincident peak reduction
  • Peak and net load forecasting tools to inform timing of demand response and DER control events
  • A tool that estimates loading across different time intervals for each of HCE’s 14,000 distribution transformers

Deploying the platform involved collecting, transferring, and integrating HCE’s datasets, such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), geographic information system (GIS), powerline sensor data, weather data, and data from DERs and renewable energy plants. 

Results and Benefits

  • Granular, real-time grid visibility and a more accurate connectivity model
  • Direct control of 500 kilowatts of member-sited batteries and access to 2 megawatts of demand response, scaling to 35 megawatts by the end of 2023
  • Significant reductions in HCE’s bill from its wholesale power supplier, saving more than $90,000 between November 2021 and March 2022 and expected to scale with the >10x growth in flexibility resources
  • Identification of HCE’s highest-loaded transformers to inform strategies for safe, efficient operations

A Foundation for the Future

Camus has provided the cooperative with a strong foundation for its transformation into a 100% carbon-free distribution system operator: 

  • The platform can quickly integrate new energy resources as they are deployed, enabling HCE to optimize their use and avoid adverse grid impacts.
  • As Colorado transitions to a wholesale electricity market, HCE can use the platform to optimally dispatch its energy resources.
  • HCE can establish a local energy market, using the platform to orchestrate the market and maximize value for all of its members.

The platform’s deployed capabilities were selected based on the near-term needs of the cooperative. The HCE team plans to deploy additional capabilities to address more opportunities and challenges.

Learn more about HCE’s journey and how Camus’ grid orchestration platform fits in.

Read the full case study.

RECORDED WEBINAR

Rather watch than read?

Watch our 30-minute webinar with Chris Bilby of Holy Cross Energy to hear the story live from HCE's perspective. The webinar even includes a sneak peak of the software in action.

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