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​Grid Modernization

More than 30 distinct projects in Transmission, Power and IT are underway that make up Bonneville’s broad effort to modernize its systems and operations to drive commercial success while maintaining reliability and meeting power and nonpower obligations.  

​What is Grid Modernization?
It’s a set of projects to advance the way BPA markets and operates the federal power and transmission systems, so that Bonneville can benefit from new technology and emerging market opportunities. It includes new state awareness tools, digital technologies and process automation to help us identify additional capacity, increase revenues and improve reliability. This work is critical to ensuring BPA’s long-term commercial success and competitiveness. 
How does grid modernization help BPA meet its strategic goals?

The program seeks to modernize systems and processes that allow BPA to offer a competitive suite of Power products and services while bringing Transmission more into alignment with industry standards, thereby meeting customer needs more efficiently and responsively.

The net result of this work is broader market participation and access to new markets for BPA and its customers, ultimately strengthening BPA’s financial health and resilience.

Grid modernization is a holistic expression and catalyst for meeting the goals outlined in BPA’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan.

Energy Imbalance Markets: The Grid Mod and Strategic Plan connection

Find out more on how this market opportunity fits within our grid modernization effort and can help drive BPA’s long-term financial and commercial success.

 

 Outreach

 
What are some examples of what grid modernization will achieve?
While grid modernization modernizes a broad swath of BPA systems in Transmission, Power and IT, there are a few concrete examples that can be given of what grid modernization should achieve. First, Power holds back a couple hundred megawatts of capacity because of uncertainty around loads, contracts and the accuracy of real-time data on what is actually occurring on the system. Likewise, BPA is very conservative in the amount of transmission capacity that it holds in reserve. This is inventory that Bonneville can’t sell now, but grid modernization will get BPA the tools and system visibility to reduce uncertainly and increase efficiency to unlock a portion of this capacity. That leads to a potential increase in revenues.
​Has Bonneville seen any early successes from grid modernization?
​Absolutely. One such example is the Marketing and Settlements Solution project that went live in March of 2018 and replaced BPA’s system used for power trading, settlements, reporting and querying functions for transactions with the California Independent System Operator. The project gives us an automated system that verifies BPA has received the energy paid for or delivered the energy BPA sold. These settlements used to be performed manually for transactions that could occur once per hour. Now, certain transactions settle every five minutes. The system also provides better situational awareness through improved access to real-time market data, increasing secondary revenue opportunities. This project will provide BPA with a net financial benefit of $3.3 million over the next five years and then more than $1 million in annual benefits.
The 5 Focus Areas of Grid Modernization
​Operational Modernization: This effort will improve efficiency and coordination with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation as well as enhance control center data, visualization and situational awareness. This work will enable options for market participation.

Commercial Modernization: This work will optimize the commercial availability of the grid, enabling options for market participation and shorter scheduling and dispatching intervals as well as enhancing a comprehensive trading and risk management toolset.

EIM Implementation: This effort will help to optimize the day-to-day operation of the power system and the unique value and capacity that hydropower can bring to a market driven by intermittent renewable resources.

Mission Critical IT Improvements: This work will develop the foundational capability that allows for delivery of the suite of grid modernization projects by establishing a modern, consistent and structured architecture with robust operational reliability.

Improvements to Core Business: This effort will improve consistency and coordination of visibility and controls, while enabling and enhancing a structured and systematic training program related to grid modernization and EIM participation. BPA will modernize its analytical capability and improve forecasting of load and renewable generation.
​How are the Grid Mod projects prioritized?
​Grid Mod projects are prioritized primarily on business value, availability of BPA workforce with the requisite skillsets, and dependencies upon other Grid Mod projects. Projects directly related to the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) or the ability to join an EIM are placed on the roadmap under the assumption that EIM go-live date will be April 2022. BPA is currently in a stakeholder process to determine how and under what conditions BPA could join the CAISO Western EIM, for more information www.bpa.gov/goto/EIM.