Portland General Electric Incorporates Microgrid into Smart Power Demo Center

Portland General Electric recently opened its new Salem Smart Power Center, an 8,000-square-foot facility in Salem, Ore., that offers a unique insider’s view of a working smart grid demonstration project.

Outfitted with a large-scale energy storage system, the center is intended 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 technologies are designed to work together to create a reliable microgrid that serves about 500 business and residential customers in southeast Salem. 

PGE collaborated with Eaton and EnerDel, Inc. on the $23 million Salem Smart Power Project. The project received U.S. Department of Energy matching funds as part of the largest regional smart grid demonstration project in the nation — the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project(PNW-SGDP).

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-megawatt, 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 participating.

“Oregon is already a national leader in energy efficiency with rich opportunities to boost locally produced renewable energy and clean energy infrastructure,”” said Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. “It seems only fitting we help lead a future that not only powers our homes and businesses in the most efficient way, but also the smartest.”

Salem-based Kettle Brand, a producer of kettle-cooked potatos, 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 will be the first Northwest utility to test its own Smart Power software, which is designed to bring power-generating resources online at the optimal time. It also works with transactive control technology being used in the PNW-SGDP 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 Salem Smart Power Project is part of the five-year PNW-SGDP, which is managed by Battelle, and involves more than 60,000 customers, 11 utilities, the Bonneville Power Administration and several technology participants in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. In the next two years, PGE will provide data to PNW-SGDP as one of the project’s 13 test sites that represent the region’s diverse terrain, weather and demographics. 

To watch a short video on the Smart Power Project, produced by PGE, click here. 

Source: Portland General Electric