hoque Courtesy: Masslive

AMHERST – The National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity program has awarded a three year, $1 million grant to three University of Massachusetts researchers and others to work with Holyoke Gas & Electric Co.

The money will be used to develop smart energy services that will improve grid efficiency, encourage energy conservation and promote local renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar, according to a press release.

Smart grid experts Prashant Shenoy, a computer science professor, and David Irwin, professor of electrical and computer engineering, with green building expert and professor in the environmental conservation department Simi Hoque, are co-principal investigators on the project.

The new grant follows a $200,000 pilot project funded last year by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and carried out by Shenoy and a UMass Amherst team at HG&E that demonstrated how smart electric meters save money and power.

Shenoy, Hoque and Irwin, with others at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Williams College in Williamstown, will use anonymous data collected from several dozen volunteer HG&E customer homes to expand last year’s project to improve electricity use based on meter data.

Data management will be on high-speed processors at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, according to the release.

In the release, Shenoy said the team will focus on a few key energy consumers in the home, especially heating.

They will develop three smart energy services: iProgram, Green Demand Response and PowerTrip to improve performance and save energy.