SVEC increasing participation in renewable energy sources

Published: Oct. 24, 2018 at 5:33 PM EDT
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As demand for renewable energy sources like wind and solar increases, Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative is working to increase its participation and find the safest and most equitable ways to use this power.

SVEC is responsible for connecting all users of solar energy to the grid. Incoming solar energy combined with out-going power causes power to flow both ways, when in the past, the power only flowed in one direction.

SVEC says this more complicated system can pose safety risks for their employees. With more and more people and businesses using solar power, SVEC is working to study each connection closely and make sure it's safe.

They want consumers to know it's safe, but also fair to all SVEC customers.

"Making sure our members understand what is a distributed energy resources, how it affects our grid safety wise, and make sure that we are getting the word out that we're making sure everybody's being treated from an equitable standpoint" said Greg Rogers, vice president of engineering and operations.

SVEC has seen a dramatic increase in demand over the past few years for renewable energy. They say within the past few months, there has been a particularly noticeable growth in utility-sized installs.

SVEC is also working on maintaining long-term relationships with users of renewable energy after installation and working with new applicants to make connecting to the grid as safe as possible.

"That's what we're really trying to make sure is that we have that long-term relationship with these folks," Rogers said, "and understand their impacts, understand the impacts on our system, and again look for those fair and equitable ways to handle our whole grid."

SVEC is also preparing to hire a new position as an Energy Programs Coordinator to give more one on one interactions with members.