Portland General Electric opens educational smart grid center

Portland General Electric opened its new Salem Smart Power Center, an 8,000-square-foot facility in Salem, Ore.

This working smart grid demonstration project contains a utility-scale energy storage system and is designed to help PGE test how to store and better integrate variable renewable energy sources like solar and wind into the electrical grid.

The technologies work together to create an uninterruptable microgrid that serves about 500 business and residential customers in southeast Salem. An onsite visitor center offers educational exhibits about the project and smart grid.

PGE’s partners on this project included Eaton and EnerDel, Inc. The project cost about $23 million.

The project received Department of Energy (DOE) matching funds as part of the largest regional smart grid demonstration project in the nation – the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project (PNW-SGDP).

The PGE project will test energy storage, dispatchable standby generation, remotely operated power line switches, demand response, renewable energy integration and transactive control.

PGE worked with EnerDel to outfit the center with their 5 MW, lithium-ion battery system, and Eaton to provide engineering expertise and two-way inverters to manage and operate the energy storage system. The energy storage system works with state of Oregon standby generators to create a high-reliability zone to reduce service interruptions for PGE customers.

To test demand-response technologies, PGE business customers are volunteering to cycle their heating, cooling and other systems on and off throughout the day or shift their use to off-peak. In addition, residential customers are letting PGE automatically cycle their water heaters on and off for brief periods throughout the day.

The Salem Smart Power Project is part of the five-year PNW-SGDP, which is managed by Battelle, and involves more than 60,000 customers, 11 utilities, the Bonneville Power Administration and several technology participants in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. In the next two years, PGE will provide data to PNW-SGDP as one of the project’s 13 test sites that represent the region’s diverse terrain, weather and demographics.

Portland General Electric, headquartered in Portland, is a fully integrated electric utility that serves about 830,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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