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Energy Efficiency Innovation Overview

Energy Efficiency Innovation

Advances in technology and policy are expected to provide a wide array of energy efficient options, such as smart appliances, programmable Web-based thermostats, ability to monitor energy use through the internet and the use of waste heat from distributed generation.

By creating demonstration projects and test beds related to smart grid, emerging technologies and demand response, BPA's Office of Technology Innovation and BPA Energy Efficiency can help meet new conservation and carbon reduction goals, provide new "green" jobs in the region and promote energy independence while investing in the economic future of the entire Northwest region.

Smart Grid

Smart Grid is a term for digital technologies used in the distribution and transmission of power. In addition to improved efficiency, safety and reliability, a smart grid can provide non-construction alternatives to expanding the transmission infrastructure. Think of the smart grid as the internet brought to the electric system.

BPA is developing the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. This project will test an electricity network using autonomous controls, advanced sensors and distributed computers. The project will allow homes and businesses to act as energy clients and suppliers through a variety of intelligent tools. It is expected to enable information sharing across operational boundaries, such as utilities, transmission and generation wholesalers or between neighboring utilities. BPA plans to have the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project in place by 2015.

Want to learn more about the Smart Grid Demonstration Project? Read more about Smart Grid.

Energy Efficiency Emerging Technologies

Energy efficiency emerging technologies are technological solutions that are not in common use, but hold promise in increasing the efficient use, production or distribution of energy. For example, ductless heat pumps, solid state plasma lighting and LED street lights are all energy efficiency emerging technologies currently being investigated.

BPA is engaged in an effort to identify, assess and develop emerging energy efficiency technologies. This effort will focus on near-to-market and commercially available technologies that can be developed and implemented within the next one to five years. Read more about BPA's Energy Efficiency Emerging Technologies initiatives.

Demand Response

Demand response uses technology and incentives to change electricity consumption by end-use customers. This can result in reductions of energy generation at times of peak use and at times when wholesale market prices spike. While demand response is a critical component of smart grid, as a stand alone program it also offers benefits to both utilities and consumers in the form of increased electric system reliability and reduced price volatility.

Demand response uses a wide range of technologies that offer a variety of options for addressing peak capacity and transmission constraints across the electrical system. Voluntary demand response offers consumers incentives to voluntarily reduce their electric loads at system peaks. In a past demonstration, the region saved approximately $2 million through voluntary demand reduction during the 2001-2002 West Coast power crisis.

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