The region’s electricity system has grown substantially through the decades. But today organizations, including BPA are employing new generation of interactive technology to enhance the grid and solve growing energy industry challenges.
The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project
is testing ways these tools can be used in the region. The project, which is being overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy began in 2010. Participants are performing unprecedented testing to identify elements that could be part of a future smart grid. The five-year project— the largest in the nation—spans five states and enlists participation of 60,000 meters. Participants include the Bonneville Power Administration, Battelle Memorial Institute, 11 distribution utilities, five technology partners and two universities.
Private and public participants will fund half of the approximately $178 million cost of the project, which includes funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. BPA is contributing $10 million.
As part of this project, BPA is sponsoring the development of a Smart Grid Regional Business Case to identify the highest sources of potential value for BPA and its customers and regional utilities. Interim results identify attractive opportunities and key uncertainties. The study is the first assessment to account for the interactions of various technologies and to quantify the uncertainties and risk of regional smart grid investments.
The study is being developed with input from a number of regional entities including the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. The RBC also incorporates input from regional stakeholders including distribution utilities in the region and findings from smart grid studies nationwide.