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BPA and Smart Grid

The Department of Energy has selected a Pacific Northwest team including BPA to conduct a regional smart grid demonstration project. Read more about this innovative regional effort.

Smart Grid

BPA is one of the first agencies to conceptualize smart grid technology under the name Energy Web a decade before the smart grid moniker became commonplace. BPA's partnership with the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) on the recent GridWise Demonstration Project was an internationally recognized success. This knowledge and experience along with the agency's long history of serving the public have led BPA to partner with Battelle, Northwest Division, on the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. This Project will study how smart grid technology can enhance the safety, reliability and efficiency of energy delivery on a regional and national level.

Smart grid technology includes a wide range of products from appliances in homes to sensors on transmission lines and upgrades to substations. The integrated nature of the smart grid increases communication and information flow, so smart grid can monitor activities in real time, exchange data about energy supply and demand while modifying power use during times of high load requirements. Smart grid can effectively identify, use and transmit existing load thereby lowering the need for hydro system capacity.

As wind integration increases in the Pacific Northwest, the need to balance this intermittent power source with a stable and reliable source is critical. The hydro system has typically provided this power balancing function, but is approaching its limit. Smart grid may be a tool to address wind integration issues. The demonstration's communication and control system is fast and flexible enough to adapt to wind ramping errors and can perhaps provide additional ancillary wind integration services by leveraging real-time voluntary participation of demand side assets such as hot water heaters, air conditioning units, and other smart appliances.

Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project

What makes the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project unique is that our smart grid will provide information to let industrial, commercial and residential consumers make informed decisions based on real-time information. In a nutshell, consumers get to decide how to configure their home system based on their needs at any given time - energy decisions are placed into the hands of the consumers.

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.

BPA is equipped and ready to integrate smart grid technologies throughout the system unlike other U.S. utilities. Currently, BPA has the capability to share real time information from generation to transmission to distribution systems.

Smart Grid funding opportunity materials from the Department of Energy:
Factsheet: Smart Grid and BPA
Smart Grid Resources
Smart Grid Presentation (Feb.18, 2010) (PDF, 6080 KB)
Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project (PDF, 279 KB)
Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Bid
(PDF, 24 KB)

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