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Challenge Seeks Electric Power Utility Service Enhancements

PowerLines at sunset (Brookhaven National Lab)

(Brookhaven National Lab)

A new challenge on InnoCentive seeks ideas to improve the process for electric power utilities to deploy two types of electricity services in a timely, cost-effective manner. The challenge has a payout of $15,000 and a deadline of 8 July for submissions. InnoCentive in Waltham, Massachusetts is a company the conducts open-innovation, crowd-sourcing competitions for corporate and organization sponsors.

Southwest Power Pool, the sponsor of the challenge, is a not-for-profit, federally regulated regional transmission organization responsible for grid operations for the electric utility industry covering nine states in U.S. Southwest. The organization is searching for process improvements on two functions related to servicing their customers:

– The generation interconnection process, evaluating transmission upgrades needed to connect new generation capacity, such as new power generation plants, to the electric grid

– Transmission service process, evaluating transmission upgrades needed to enhance delivery of power generation to wholesale consumers

Southwest Power Pool is required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure, and competitive wholesale prices of electricity. The organization also oversees compliance enforcement with North American Electric Reliability Corporation standards for the region.

This competition is an InnoCentive theoretical challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted.  Southwest Power Pool will evaluate proposals submitted by participants in the challenge. To receive the award, participants will need to transfer to Southwest Power Pool exclusive intellectual property (IP) rights to the solution. However, the sponsor will consider a licensing arrangement if the participant cannot transfer exclusive IP rights.

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