PEER Offers Peerless Power System Performance

PEER Offers Peerless Power System Performance

This piece was originally published in the September 2016 issue of electroindustry.

Ryan Franks, Power Systems and Infrastructure Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council

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Inspired by the 2003 blackout in New York City and concerned about the reliability of the nation’s power system, former Motorola CEO Bob Galvin started the Galvin Electricity Initiative. Subsequently, he teamed up with Kurt Yeager, former president and CEO of Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), to collaborate on the establishment of the Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER).

After years of refinement, PEER went looking for an organization that could bring it to the forefront of public interest. In 2014, the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) officially took over management of the PEER rating system.

PEER helps industry stakeholders dramatically improve power system performance by providing operators with a framework for continual improvement and performance assessment. Modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program for buildings, PEER provides energy professionals with a guide for how to define, specify, and assess sustainable power to buildings. It is the nation’s first comprehensive, consumer-centric, outcome-driven system for evaluating power system performance.

Developing criteria that address such a wide range of customer concerns, design requirements, and performance outcomes is inherently complex. To make this program easier to navigate, PEER credits are grouped into four categories: reliability and resiliency, energy efficiency and environment, operational effectiveness, and customer contribution.

Each category includes a set of prerequisites and credits. PEER criteria reward implementation of industry best practices and encourage the adoption of new, innovative strategies.

The rating system uses five criteria types to measure performance:

  • Performance outcome: quantifiable performance that can be compared to an industry benchmark or goal
  • Demonstrated capability: measureable capability that supports key customer outcomes and efficient, safe, and reliable grid operation
  • Performance transparency: measurement and aggregation of data for reporting, benchmarking, and trending
  • Standard process: established process that produces specific efficiency, reliability, and safety outcomes
  • Design consideration: proven strategy or technology for more efficient, safe, and reliable grid operation

PEER provides a valuable framework that can be used to assess new designs and developments, long-term improvement plans, and existing project performance. The projects may be categorized in the following way:

  • City: public projects with a large variety of customers
  • Campus: privately owned or operated projects that have few customers but include distribution to multiple buildings and loads and are increasingly referred to as microgrids
  • Supply: privately owned or operated projects that supply locally generated power to downstream customers or loads and do not have control over the distribution system or the customer

PEER helps electricity leaders, professionals, and operators

  • reduce energy costs and cut economic losses caused by supply contract inefficiencies, poor energy reliability, poor power quality, and energy inefficiency;
  • define key performance metrics, benchmark to industry standards, and verify measureable outcomes;
  • quantify the value produced to date, identify sources of customer value, and make the case for investment by revealing waste and performance gaps;
  • rigorously assess projects based on a comprehensive, balanced scorecard of sustainable performance criteria;
  • demonstrate competitive advantage and comparative differentiation;
  • build a comprehensive, continual improvement process based on industry best practices
to maximize returns and minimize risks;
  • build trust, credibility, and customer satisfaction; and
  • establish a common language for stakeholders by facilitating education and collaboration.

To register your project or become a PEER partner, visit peer.gbci.org.


Mr. Franks develops technical and business solutions for the PEER rating system.

Read the September 2016 issue of electroindustry.

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