Portland General Electric opens Salem smart power center


Portland, OR, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 4, 2013 – Portland General Electric has opened an 8,000-square-foot facility in Salem, OR to test and demonstrate smart grid technologies.

Outfitted with a large scale energy storage system, the Salem smart power center is designed to help PGE test how to store and better integrate variable renewable energy sources like solar and wind into the electrical grid, along with several other smart technologies as part of its Salem Smart Power Project. The resultant microgrid serves about 500 business and residential customers in southeast Salem. An onsite visitor center offers educational exhibits about the project and smart grid.

“Together with our project partners and customers, we are demonstrating smart grid technologies to help Oregon and the nation learn how to build intelligent energy resources for the future while continuing to deliver long term value for customers,” said Jim Piro, PGE president and CEO. “We are proud of the collaboration, hard work and ingenuity that went into this project, and thank our Salem customers who volunteered to participate in this important study.”

The PGE project will test energy storage, dispatchable standby generation, remotely operated power line switches, demand response, renewable energy integration and transactive control.
PGE worked with EnerDel to outfit the center with their 5 MW lithium-ion battery system, and Eaton to provide engineering expertise and two-way inverters to manage and operate the energy storage system. The energy storage system works with state of Oregon standby generators to create a high reliability zone to reduce service interruptions for PGE customers. The Oregon State Data Center, Oregon Military Department and the Anderson Readiness Center are also participating.
Salem-based Kettle Brand, pioneer of the kettle-cooked potato chip, is connecting its 616 panel rooftop solar installation to the project to help test storage and bring solar energy into the grid when it’s needed most.

To test demand response technologies, PGE business customers are volunteering to cycle their heating, cooling and other systems on and off throughout the day or shift their use to off-peak. In addition, residential customers are letting PGE automatically cycle their water heaters on and off for brief periods throughout the day.

PGE also will be the first Northwest utility to test its own Smart Power(SM) software, which brings power generating resources online at the optimal time to ensure customers receive the most benefit at the least cost. It also works with transactive control technology that communicates the cost of delivering energy through the power system. For example, PGE will store energy at the center when energy market prices are low, and pull from energy storage, rather than buying power, when market prices are high.

The $23 million Salem Smart Power Project is part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project.