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Chattanooga EPB Smart Grid First to Earn Green Business PEER Certficate

January 19, 2016 By Finley Engineering in

Chattanooga municipal utility EPB may no longer be the nation’s only operator of a citywide gigabit network. But it’s still finding ways to distinguish itself.

EPB on January 12 received a Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) certificate from Green Business Certificate, Inc. (GBCI) for the EPB Smart Grid. It’s the first major power distribution system to be earn one, The Chattanoogan reports. 

GBCI’s PEER defines, assesses and verifies overall sustainable performance of electricity distribution systems’ design and performance. “Overall, GBCI’s assessment identifies Chattanooga as a showcase example of a sustainable electric distribution system and a power industry leader,” officials said.

The Green Business PEER Certificate

Carried out over the course of a year, GBCI’s PEER assessment thoroughly reviewed 69 criteria in four major groups: operational effectiveness, customer contribution, reliability and resiliency, and energy efficiency and environment.

“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,” according to a GBCI press release.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke applauded EPB for earning the award, highlighting the importance of reliable and affordable power, as well as high-speed broadband service, throughout the community. EPB provides both.

“This is a great moment,” said Mayor Andy Berke during the presentation held at Green Spaces on E. Main Street. “If it’s going to be the first, it’s going to be in Chattanooga,” he was quoted as saying.

Economic Growth and Development

The mayor singled out Southtree, a local business, as an illustration. Southtree converts video from video tapes and old home movies so they can be ported and viewed via the Internet. That involves uploading large amounts of digital data on a daily basis. The combination of the smart grid and fiber optic broadband services EPB provides makes that possible and cost-effective, the mayor pointed out.

A spokesman for Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, Mike Dunne added that the speed and reliability of the EPB Smart Grid is integral to helping the local economy grow and improving community health and quality of life.

With the capacity to carry communications for tens of thousands of devices simultaneously, EPB’s fiber optic network serves as the backbone of EPB’s Smart Grid, EPB COO David Wade noted. As the Smart Grid is ¨self-healing¨, power service reliability has improved significantly as well.

According to the latest reliability data, EPB customers are experiencing 55-60 percent fewer outages than before. Giving customer tools to better manage home and business energy usage is one reason for this. “This system was really built to be a platform for the future,” Wade commented.