24 April 2009 – The Bonneville Power Administration is seeking partnerships with electric utilities, vendors and manufacturers interested in partnering on stimulus-backed smart grid projects. The Portland-based nonprofit federal electric utility is hoping to tap into some of the $4.5 billion to be allocated from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act for smart grid technologies.

Smart grid technology is aimed at enhancing the way electricity is delivered and can include everything from appliances that interact with each other to transmisison line sensors. Its evolution is meant to help electric suppliers better manage demand and consumption of energy.

While the federal Department of Energy’s funding opportunity is still in its draft stages, BPA issued a request for information from utilities to help identify regional project opportunities in advance.

“Collaboration with utilities, manufacturers, vendors and other stakeholders is key to making smart grid work,” Mike Weedall, BPA’s vice president of energy efficiency, said in a news release. “For a project of this scope, we need a regional approach including a commitment to capital investments.”

The agency held a workshop at its Portland headquarters last week in which it announced its intentions to seek a demonstration project partner. Discussions covered several areas, including projects exploring how plug-in electric vehicles can integrate into a smart grid and how utilities can interface with customers through new technologies and appliances.

The BPA has set a May 18 deadline for responses to its information request. For more information, visit: www.bpa.gov/Energy/N/smart_grid/index.cfm