DOE picks PGE as Oregon utility partner in smart grid demo

Portland, Ore., November 23, 2009 — The Department of Energy has selected a Pacific Northwest team including Portland General Electric to conduct a regional smart grid demonstration project designed to expand upon existing electric infrastructure and test new smart grid technology with up to 60,000 customers in five states.

The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project was one of 16 announced by DOE. The team includes energy providers, utilities, vendors and research organizations.

Total estimated cost for the project is $178 million. DOE will provide half the funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project’s participants, primarily utilities and industry team members including PGE, will provide the remaining funds.

The Northwest study will involve more than 60,000 metered customers in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Using smart grid technologies, the study will test new combinations of devices, software and analytical tools that enhance the power grid’s reliability and performance.

As part of the study, PGE will develop a demonstration project in Salem serving residential and business customers to document how smart grid technologies can help maintain and improve the electrical system’s reliability when integrating variable renewable power resources with battery storage, peaking distributed generation and customer-sited equipment that can kick in to manage peak demand periods during winter and summer.

PGE’s partners on the Oregon project include Eaton Corp., EnerDel Inc., and Utility Integration Solutions, Inc. PGE’s project details, including customer participation, will be determined in the coming months.

At its peak, the regional project could create about 1,500 jobs in manufacturing, installation and operating smart grid equipment, telecommunications networks, software and controls in the five states.

The project team will install equipment and technology in 2010 and 2011. Then, for the next two to three years, project leaders will gather data on smart grid performance from 15 test sites that represent the region’s diverse terrain, weather and demographics. The project will involve more than 112 MW of power, enough to serve 86,000 households.

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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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