NHEC to Participate in Connected Community Grant

PLYMOUTH, NH – (December 2, 2021) New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) will be getting hands-on experience in “transactive energy” as part of a project aimed at meeting the future energy needs of rural and urban communities across the U.S.

NHEC will participate in a Connected Community grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and will collaborate with the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Efficiency Maine, Knowledge Problem LLC and the Post Road Foundation to see how smart grid technology, enabled by high-speed internet, can improve the efficiency and reliability of regional and national power grids.

The five-year project will help demonstrate how transactive energy can:

  • facilitate more effective use of electricity distribution systems through load flexibility, with applications such as peak management;
  • reveal the financial value of Distributed Energy Resource (DER) deployment on the distribution system, which can provide revenue to motivate the installation of DER and other efficiency measures; and
  • lower financial and engineering hurdles to beneficial electrification — replacing fossil-fuel-powered heating and transportation with lower cost heat-pumps and electric vehicles.

Brian Callnan, NHEC’s Vice President of Power Supply & Resources, said the project will help NHEC learn how to use its existing smart grid technology and its growing high-speed internet network to develop new relationships between the utility and its members.

“In the traditional utility business model, the utility sets the price of the product once or twice a year,” Callnan said. “In a transactive energy business model, price signals are published the day before, allowing a member to decide how and when to use the utility’s services.  NHEC doesn’t control a thing, our members control the transaction. A member may choose to reduce energy if they see really high prices or even export energy to the utility for payment with a home-based or electric vehicle battery.  We’re trying to use the Co-op’s distribution system to give our members more control, while recognizing the value of their energy investments and compensating them for that value.”

NHEC’s involvement in the Connected Community project will also provide an opportunity to improve the reliability of the NHEC electrical distribution system. NHEC has been investing for years in a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system that provides information about the performance of the Co-op’s electrical distribution system. Working with other partners in the Connected Community project, NHEC will be able to use that information to identify potential constraints on the system and mitigate problems before they occur. This will also allow NHEC to make it easier for members to site solar, batteries and other energy resources on its system.

“One of the biggest advantages of the Connected Community project is the access NHEC will have to forward-thinking people and organizations working on these cutting-edge utility issues,” Callnan added. “The Co-op has made a lot of technology investments over time and the relationships we will build as part of this project will allow us to maximize the potential of those investments for our members.”

Commercial Programs

Commercial Programs

Energy Efficiency for Business and Municipalities Owning a business is hard enough without worrying about your energy budget and the comfort of your employees and customers. Whether you’re retrofitting existing equipment, undertaking a major renovation, or...
Welcome New Member – Cathedral Ledge Distillery!

Welcome New Member – Cathedral Ledge Distillery!

With modern energy efficiency built into its classic timber frame construction, the new Cathedral Ledge Distillery will soon be lifting spirits in North Conway!

The organic “grain to glass” distillery has worked closely with NHEC to identify and pursue energy efficiency opportunities, as well as the incentives that have made them more affordable to install.

“They’ve been a good sounding board,” said Cathedral Ledge owner Christopher Burk of his experience working with NHEC Commercial Accounts administrators Chelsea Smith and Joe Lajewski. “There are a lot of options when you’re building new, it requires some pre-planning and that’s where NHEC helped tie it together.”

Burk said NHEC’s technical assistance early in the building design process was important. Working with building engineers Resilient Buildings Group of Concord, NH, NHEC provided analysis of various energy efficiency measures from the building shell to the distilling process.

“This technical assistance early in the process was critical and it’s what we really want members to know,” said NHEC’s Joe Lajewski. “We can be most effective in helping members early in the building process. Changes to key energy systems are difficult to make once construction documents are finalized.”

Distilling is an energy-intensive process, Burk explained, requiring lots of thermal energy followed by rapid cooling. To maximize the building’s efficiency, energy recovery tanks were installed underground, capturing hot water from the distilling process and circulating it through the radiant floor heating in the winter. In the building’s retail area and tasting room, highly-efficient heat pumps supplement the radiant floor heat in winter while providing cooling and dehumidification in summer.

Other energy efficiency features of Cathedral Ledge Distillery include:

  • 10-inch poly insulation beneath timber frame exterior (beyond code)
  • High-efficiency propane boiler
  • All LED lighting
  • Dark Sky-compliant outdoor lighting w/photo-sensitive dimmers

The business, located at 3340 White Mountain Highway in North Conway, also features two Level 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations on-site for customer use.


Burk says he’s aiming to open to the public before the end of the year. Pallets of organic grain and empty glass bottles are awaiting the distillery’s first run of vodka and gin.

“We’re so close I can taste it,” he said.



Call the NHEC Commercial Accounts team BEFORE you build! 

Chelsea Smith
Commercial Accounts Administrator
603.536.8855; smithc@nhec.com

  • Energy needs and rate analysis
  • Guidance on available NHEC incentives
  • SmartHub Energy Management


Joe Lajewski, C.E.M.
Energy Solutions Program Administrator
603.536.8663; lajewskij@nhec.com


  • Identify energy efficiency opportunities and technologies
  • Guidance on NHEC program incentives to defray costs
  • Assistance with incentive applications
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