Northwest Energy Grid Projects Receive
President Barack Obama this week announced the largest single energy grid modernization investment in U.S. history, funding a broad range of technologies intended to spur the nation's transition to a more efficient and reliable electric system.
The $3.4 billion in grant awards are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be matched by industry funding for a total public-private investment worth more than $8 billion.
Grants for projects in Northwest states total $114.5 million:
--- Idaho Power Company: $47 million. Modernize the electric transmission and distribution infrastructure, including deploying a smart meter network for all 475,000 customers throughout the service area and implementing an outage management system and irrigation load control program that will reduce peak and overall energy use and improve system reliability. Will also benefit customers in Oregon. Total cost: $94 million.
--- M2M Communications of Boise: $2.2 million. Install smart grid-compatible irrigation load control systems in California's central valley agricultural area in order to reduce peak electric demand in the state. Total cost: $4.4 million.
-- Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative: $19.6 million. Implement a smart grid system, including more than 95,000 smart meters, substation equipment, and load management devices, that will integrate 15 electric cooperatives across 4 states using a central data collection software system hosted by the Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative. Will also benefit customers in Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Montana. Total cost: $39 million.
-- Central Lincoln People's Utility District, Newport: $9.9 million. Provide two-way communication between the utility and all of its 38,000 customers through a smart grid network and other in-home energy management tools. Deploy smart grid communication and control technology to optimize distribution system reliability and efficiency, restore energy quickly following outages, and empower consumers to reduce their energy use. Total cost: $19.7 million.
-- Avista Utilities, Spokane: $20 million. Implement a distribution management system, intelligent end devices, and a communication network to reduce distribution system loses, enable automatic restoration to customers during outages, and allow for the integration of on-site generating resources. Will also benefit customers in Idaho. Total cost: $40 million.
--- Snohomish County Public Utilities District: $15.8 million. Install a smart grid framework on the utility side, including a digital telecommunications network, substation automation and a robust distribution system infrastructure, that will allow enable the implementation of future smart grid technologies. Total cost: $31.7 million.
An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4 percent by 2030.
The administration divided the grants into these categories:
--- Making Electricity Distribution and Transmission More Efficient -- $400 million. The Administration is funding several grid modernization projects across the country that will significantly reduce the amount of power that is wasted from the time it is produced at a power plant to the time it gets to your house. By deploying digital monitoring devices and increasing grid automation, these awards will increase the efficiency, reliability and security of the system, and will help link up renewable energy resources with the electric grid. This will make it easier for a wind farm in Montana to instantaneously pick up the slack when the wind stops blowing in Missouri or a cloud rolls over a solar array in Arizona.
--- Integrating and Crosscutting Across Different "Smart" Components of a Smart Grid -- $2 billion. Much like electronic banking, the Smart Grid is not the sum total of its components but how those components work together. The Administration is funding a range of projects that will incorporate these various components into one system or cut across various project areas -- including smart meters, smart thermostats and appliances, syncrophasors, automated substations, plug in hybrid electric vehicles, renewable energy sources, etc.
--- Building a Smart Grid Manufacturing Industry -- $25 million. These investments will help expand the manufacturing base of companies that can produce the smart meters, smart appliances, synchrophasors, smart transformers, and other components for smart grid systems in the United States and around the world -- representing an export opportunity and new jobs.
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