108 THE POWER OF POSSIBILITY NISC | 50 YEARS OF INNOVATION AND MEMBER SERVICE smart meters provide readings every 15 minutes. In 2011, NISC created the Cooperative Cloud® to securely store the growing magnitude of data. The Cooperative Cloud now contains more than 360 billion data points. Encrypted and stored on servers at Basin Electric Power Cooperative in Bismarck, the data security remains under NISC’s control while the cloud- based technology enables rapid number-crunching. The wealth of data amassed on the Cloud gives utilities a powerful new way to analyze the operations of their electrical grid, says Todd Eisenhauer, Vice President for Strategy and Operations Solutions. “They can see problems that were hidden in the past, when they looked at usage over a month.” Here’s how it works: Minnesota Valley monitors the energy usage at a substation and compares the data readings to a “virtual meter” of all the residential and business meters served by that substation. The real-time calculation shows how much energy was lost in the distribution. With that information, the electric utility can look for ways to reduce the energy loss and create a more efficient grid. Consumers can influence the electric grid by conserving at the right times. In its “Beat the Peak Energy Challenge,” modeled after a similar program at NISC Member Delaware Electric Cooperative in Greenwood, Delaware, Minnesota Valley customers competed to use as little energy as possible Scott Gusé of Boone Electric Cooperative, Missouri’s first electric co- op, was at the forefront of the utility’s efforts to switch from traditional meters to smart meters.