SAN JOSE, Calif. A team of utilities, vendors and research groups has submitted a five-year, $178 million proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy to build a smart electric grid demonstration system in the Pacific Northwest region. The proposal is one of more than 400 bids for economic stimulus grants the DoE has received, contending for as much as $3.9 billion in government funds aimed at accelerating work on smart grids.
The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project partnership will be led by Battelle Memorial Institute—a non-profit research group--and includes a dozen utilities in five Northwest states as well as the Bonneville Power Administration. Vendors involved in the proposal include 3TIER, Inc., Areva USA, Drummond Group, Inc., IBM Corp., Netezza Corp. and QualityLogic, Inc.
The project will involve use of more than 112 MW power and serve more than 60,000 metered customers in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. It aims to gather energy use information over a two-year period from 15 test sites with diverse terrain, weather and demographics, including Fox Island in Puget Sound, the Teton Mountains in western Wyoming, and the University of Washington and Washington State University campuses.
The effort aims both to test new technologies as well as the business cases for consumer acceptance of smart grid capabilities such as monitoring and modifying energy use to lower power bills and save energy. "The project will measure and validate smart grid costs and benefits for customers, utilities and regulators, thereby informing business cases for future smart grid investments," said Mike Davis, a Battelle vice president, speaking in a prepared statement.
In 2006, the DOE-funded Pacific Northwest GridWise Demonstration Project on the Olympic Peninsula showed some consumers were willing to modify energy use to save about 10 percent on their electricity bills, the group said.
The DoE has not released details of the proposals it has received. The Battelle-led effort is one of a handful of proposals that have elected to go public with some details of their plans and partners.
Recently, Duke Energy requested the maximum $200 million allowed under the grant proposals to shave two years off an original six-year plan to build networks linking smart meters and distributed automation systems to more than 1.5 million users in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Duke said it will submit a separate proposal for another $14 million for pilot systems demonstrating advanced features such as home energy management systems and services for plug-in hybrid cars.
Earlier this year, a government smart grid standards effort called for adopting Internet Protocol. The National Institute of Standards and Technology plans to release a draft of interim smart grid standards in September.
The IEEE 2030 effort kicked off in June a parallel effort.