Chattanooga, TN (January 12, 2016) – Chattanooga’s Smart Grid, operated by EPB, has become the first major power distribution system to earn Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) certification. Owned and administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), PEER is a comprehensive framework for defining, assessing and verifying the overall sustainable performance of electricity delivery system design and operations.
Modeled after the LEED green building rating system, PEER also serves as the driving force behind the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) vision to transform power systems.
“Cities like Chattanooga and companies like EPB are proactively working to set the bar higher in sustainable electricity,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, chief operating officer of USGBC and president of GBCI. “By implementing a framework that will transform the efficiency and effectiveness of electricity systems and improve energy efficiency and reduce environmental impacts, EPB will positively affect the community and their customers as well as influence other in the utility industry leaders.”
PEER enables project teams to assess their current state, develop strategies for improvement, improve the business case and verify the value of system changes.
Using next-generation utility benchmarks, EPB’s assessment spanned more than a year with a careful review of 69 criteria in four major groups – operational effectiveness, customer contribution, reliability and resiliency, and energy efficiency and environment. EPB’s deployment of an advanced fiber optic communications backbone, self-healing automation, state-of-the-art data management system and advanced metering infrastructure is at the core of many of these criteria.
Surpassing the 240 points required for PEER certification, Chattanooga’s power grid scored 294.3 points, nearly 23 percent higher than the designation’s base condition. Chattanooga earned a perfect score in 18 of the 69 specific criteria including Reliability and Power Quality, Energy Efficiency Savings and Operations/Maintenance Efficiency.
Overall, GBCI’s assessment identifies Chattanooga as a showcase example of sustainable electric distribution system design and a power industry leader.
“We constantly strive to enhance the value of the electric service we deliver to our customers,” said David Wade, chief operating officer, EPB. “We want every home and business that we serve to have high quality, reliable energy that keeps people comfortable in their homes while helping businesses grow our local economy.”
“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,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.
“Having the most advanced electric system in North America continues to be an excellent recruiting tool for new industry,” said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. “There is stiff competition among communities to recruit clean, high tech industries, and Hamilton County is well positioned to remain on the A-list of businesses looking to expand and create family wage jobs.”
The PEER system serves as a tool to accelerate transformation of the electricity sector. Characteristics that qualify electric grids for PEER certification offer the resiliency that conventional grids cannot.
Established as an independent board of the City of Chattanooga in 1935, EPB is a municipally-owned utility that provides electric power and fiber optic communications services as a means of promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life across the local area.
EPB serves nearly 180,000 homes and businesses in a 600 square-mile area that includes greater Chattanooga, as well as parts of surrounding counties and areas of North Georgia.
In 2010, EPB became the first provider in the United States to deliver up to 1 Gig (1,000 mbps) internet speeds utilizing a community-wide fiber optic network that provides access to every home and business in its service area. In 2015, EPB became the first (and to date) only American ISP to make up to 10 Gig (10,000 mbps) internet speeds accessible to all of its residential and commercial customers as a standard offer.
EPB has also utilized its community-wide fiber optic network to deploy the most advanced and highly automated smart grid power management system in the nation. In recognition of EPB’s groundbreaking infrastructure, the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are utilizing EPB’s smart grid as a national model for researching and developing best practices. EPB is also the first major power distribution utility to earn the USGBC’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid.
About Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI)
Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) is the premier organization for independently recognizing excellence in sustainability performance and practice globally. Through rigorous certification and credentialing standards, GBCI drives adoption of green business practices, which fosters global competitiveness and enhances environmental performance and human health benefits. Established in 2008, GBCI exclusively administers project certifications and professional credentials and certificates within the framework of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems as well as the PEER standard for power systems, the WELL building standard, the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES®) and the GRESB benchmark, which is used by institutional investors to improve the sustainability performance of the global property sector. For more information, visit gbci.org.
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