Ameren’s (NYSE:AEE) Ameren Illinois and Exelon’s (NYSE:EXC) Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), in consultation with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), have selected the Power and Energy System Area of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC/ECE) as lead facilitator for “NextGrid,” which is Illinois’ Utility of the Future Study, according to an Aug. 1 ICC statement.
NextGrid is an approximately 18-month consumer-focused study to address critical issues facing Illinois’ electric utility industry in the coming decade and beyond, the ICC said.
The study, which is managed by the ICC, will examine the use of new technologies to improve the state’s electric grid while minimizing energy costs to consumers, and will focus on innovation, technological advancements, economic development, environmental considerations, as well as education, the ICC said.
Ameren and ComEd released an informal request for information (RFI) on June 30 regarding the selection of a qualified individual or organization to act as the NextGrid lead facilitator, the ICC said, noting that proposals were submitted through July 14.
As TransmissionHub reported in March, according to an ICC resolution, through NextGrid, the industry and other stakeholders can develop a shared base of information, as well as work to build consensus on critical issues facing the electric utility industry now and as it continues to rapidly transform.
The Power and Energy Systems Area of UIUC/ECE has been actively involved in national research projects with such organizations as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the ICC said in its statement.
As part of the initiative, UIUC/ECE will also work with subject matter experts to formulate goals and guiding principles for the collaborative study, the ICC said.
ICC Executive Director Cholly Smith noted in the statement, “The study will culminate in a final report offering a range of recommendations to create a 21st Century utility regulatory model supporting innovation, driving economic development, and maximizing benefits to consumers.”
The ICC noted that faculty participants for the UIUC/ECE team include: George Goss, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; William Sanders, head of ECE; Peter Sauer, Grainger Chair Professor of ECE: Alejandro Dominguez-Garcia, associate professor of ECE; Subhonmesh Bose, assistant professor of ECE; and Rizwan Uddin, head (designate) of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering.