Today's electric grid is smart. But, it could be much, much more intelligent. A smarter grid is good in many ways. Households lower their electric bills. Utilities defer expensive upgrades. Carbon emissions decrease. The list goes on.
Spanning an unprecedented five-state area, this is one of 16 demonstration projects created by the Department of Energy as part of the 2009American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Many technologies are being tested to for use in a smart grid including electric vehicles, battery storage, water heaters and thermostats to name a few. About one-third of the testing was on transactive control technology, which is unique to this project.
The five-year test is in its final stages. The mix of public and private participants include 11 utilities, five technology partners and two universities, invested $89 million, which was matched by DOE. BPA contributed $10 million, also matched by DOE.
Battelle Memorial Institute, a private, nonprofit applied science and technology development company is compiling and evaluating demonstration project results.
The immense volume of data has yielded some surprising interim results, as documented in the Smart Grid Regional Business Case. BPA sponsored the study, which will help the region make future smart grid investment decisions. A final report will be released after the project is complete in January 2015.
Take a closer look at this video to learn what this project means to the Bonneville Power Administration. Then stay tuned for an in-depth look at each utility participant as the agency unveils case study success stories this fall.