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Companies Seek Smart Grid Project

by Staff
Portland Business Journal, August 27, 2009

More than a dozen Northwest energy-related companies have teamed up to submit a bid for a $178 million smart grid project.

The effort is led by Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle Memorial Institute, which operates the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. It also features a dozen utilities in five Northwest states, including Portland General Electric and the federal Portland-based Bonneville Power Administration.

The five-year project involves the participants gathering energy usage information over two years from 15 test sites. Among those are three sites in Oregon: Milton-Freewater, Portland and Salem.

Researchers, who will be testing new technologies designed to modernize the electric transmission system, will use the data to study consumer behavior and determine whether new technologies will modify behavior.

The project involves more than 600,000 metered customers in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

"The proposed demonstration will study smart grid benefits at unprecedented geographic breadth across five states, spanning the electrical system from generation to end-use, and containing many key functions of the future smart grid," Mike Davis, a Battelle vice president, said in a news release. "The intended impact of this project will span well beyond traditional utility service territory boundaries, helping to enable a future grid that meets pressing local, regional and national needs."

Half of the $178 million cost of the project will come from the project's participants. At the peak of the work, the project is expected to employ 1,500 workers in manufacturing, installation and operating of smart-grid equipment.

The bid is in response to a request in June by the U.S. Department of Energy for proposals for regional smart grid demonstration projects designed to improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of energy delivery.

The Department of Energy is providing funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the demonstration projects.

Companies Seek Smart Grid Project
Portland Business Journal, August 27, 2009

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