PGE's new demo center will test our distributed future


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take:I've been talking a lot lately about our distributed future. Depending on your viewpoint, distributed energy resources can be a threat or an opportunity. Now Portland General Electric has launched a demo facility that will test the ability to pull together all the pieces, including renewables, storage and distributed generation. As Green Building Elements put it: "The PGE project will test energy storage, dispatchable standby generation, remotely operated power line switches, demand response, renewable energy integration and transactive control."


(You may recall that I believe every utility MUST learn the word transactive.)


Scan the Green Building Elements article or the press release below. You'll see that this is a demonstration project you should follow closely. And since it is part of the federally funded Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, its findings will be fully accessible to interested parties.- By Jesse Berst


Energy storage tested for Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project


SALEM, Ore. - Research conducted with a large new battery unveiled today in Oregon will help make the Northwest's and the nation's electric system smarter and more efficient, officials said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Portland General Electric's 5-megawatt, lithium-ion energy storage system was shared with the public today at the utility's Salem Smart Power Center in South Salem, Ore. The energy storage facility is part of PGE's contribution to the Battelle-led Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. Half of PGE's $23-million portion of the regional project was paid for with U.S. Department of Energy funds. The regional demonstration is a five-year, $178-million project that launched in 2010.


"The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project is a successful public-private partnership involving 17 organizations across five Northwest states," said Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary for DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, which oversees regional smart grid demonstration projects. "It is a highly innovative project demonstrating transactive energy management, which is a promising, cost-effective way to integrate variable renewable energy, energy storage and demand response at scale. The celebration of the Salem Smart Power Center makes it clear that Oregon is helping to lead the way on energy storage commercialization and grid modernization."

Building the business case

As a primary partner in the project, the Bonneville Power Administration is leading the development of a regional business case for investing in smart grid infrastructure and technologies.


"New, smarter technologies can help us make the most of the region's renewable resources, improve how we operate the power system and bolster its resilience," said Elliot Mainzer, BPA's deputy administrator. "We're looking closely at the benefits and economics so we can tell Northwest electric utilities and ratepayers which 'smart' investments will provide long-term value."


BPA is working to support utilities in the project as they unite to address both regional and utility requirements. Communication and collaboration between utilities is key to making this all work, especially considering that five states are involved, with everything from large investor-owned utilities to smaller publicly-owned utilities. They have varying goals, but are working together to enhance the economics, reliability and integration of renewables for the power system. BPA has taken a lead role in assuring that the utility perspective is addressed as well as the regional perspective so the needs of electricity consumers throughout the Northwest are met.


A regional collaboration

The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project was co-funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through DOE, as well as the project's utility and vendor partners.


As part of the project, Battelle leads a collaborative group that includes the Bonneville Power Administration and 11 Northwest-based utilities:


    Avista Utilities â€" Spokane, Wash.

    Benton PUD â€" Kennewick, Wash.

    City of Ellensburg â€" Ellensburg, Wash.

    Flathead Electric Cooperative â€" Kalispell, Mont.

    Idaho Falls Power â€" Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Lower Valley Energy â€" Afton, Wyo.

    Milton-Freewater City Light & Power â€" Milton-Freewater, Ore.

    NorthWestern Energy â€" Butte, Mont.

    Peninsula Light Company â€" Gig Harbor, Wash.

    Portland General Electric â€" Portland, Ore.

    University of Washington/Seattle City Light â€" Seattle, Wash.


The demonstration project also involves a diverse team of technology providers, including Alstom Grid, IBM/Netezza, 3TIER Inc. and Quality Logic Inc. Washington State University and Central Washington University are also directly involved.


Battelle is the world's largest independent research and development organization. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide. Battelle has managed the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., since the laboratory's inception in 1965.


Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. PNNL employs 4,500 staff, has an annual budget of nearly $1 billion, and has been managed for the U.S. Department of Energy by Ohio-based Battelle since the laboratory's inception in 1965. For more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.