Co-op manager to participate in DOE program

Jason Burch

Jason Burch, manager of system engineering for the Shenandoah Electric Cooperative, will serve as one of two co-op industry representatives in a “major Department of Energy research project” over the next three years, the co-op has announced.

Burch, a Harrisonburg native who has worked for SVEC since 2005, will be consulting and offering his professional opinion for the Los Alamos National Laboratory Committee in New Mexico, which will work to develop softwares to create a resilient electric grid that can withstand extreme weather events.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory Committee was one of 14 beneficiaries of funding from the Department of Energy’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium.

The knowledge Burch gains during his time will provide the opportunity for SVEC to be at the forefront of the future of electric grid technology and innovation, stated SVEC CEO Michael Hastings via email Monday.

“By participating in this project, SVEC gets to be at the forefront of planning for the nation’s future,” he stated. “We get to be involved in not only the planning for the next steps for the nation’s grid, but we get to influence those next steps as well.”

He went on to explain the benefits to co-op members.

“The issues that are important to SVEC member-owners will carry a lot of weight nationally since we have representation on the committee. We’re helping to drive the standard for electric utilities nationwide. Our member-owners should be excited about this opportunity. This is very valuable to our Cooperative’s continuing efforts to explore new tools to enhance the reliability and resiliency of the grid.”

Hastings also stated that Burch is well-qualified for the program. “Jason has broad expertise in all aspects of distribution engineering, and has been involved in many technology-related projects, including distributed generation interconnection, transmission and distribution system planning, automated metering infrastructure deployment, and general system engineering oversight for planning and improvements related to the SVEC acquisition of investor-owned service territory in 2010.”

Burch said he is excited about his role in the program and looks forward to serving as a voice for the co-op industry.

“I was very excited about it. It’s one of those things where I didn’t know quite how to feel,” he said. “I’ve never served as an adviser to a consortium but excitement is a good way to describe it. I felt quite honored to represent our coop and other coops.”

During his service to the program, Burch will continue his work with SVEC, as his role in the program will consist of two reviews per year for all three years of the program, with teleconferences being held as needed. He will not be compensated for the work, but all travel costs are being paid for by the Department of Energy.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com