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PGE Smart Power Project

Portland General Electric’s role in the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project involves developing a series of new pilot projects in the Salem area to investigate and demonstrate the use of battery storage to offset wind variability; commercial and residential demand response (including a water heater demand response program), remote-operated power line switches, and islanding a specific feeder to create a high-reliability zone.   A small group learning community from the 2010 version of this class worked on one of the initial phases of this project. The project is now entering the operation and data collection phase.   There are several potential projects that a small group could work with PGE on that could provide benefits to both the student team and the utility.  These include:

  • Energy Arbitrage. The student team could help determine the best times, amounts and economic values for charging and discharging the projects’ 5 MW, 1.25 MWh battery to optimize engineering and economic performance of the asset.    This is often referred to as energy “arbitrage” (buying an asset, in this case electricity, at low price and selling it at a different time or in a different at a higher price.)
  • Microgrid and High Reliability Zone. A key component of the PGE Smart Power Project involves “islanding” of a section of the grid to create a “high reliability zone.”  This high reliability zone can be viewed as a discrete microgrid that could be isolated from the rest of the grid.  This student team could help determine various conditions and analyze customer scenarios in which different sections of the feeder would be isolated during fault conditions (outages), by fully utilizing two substations, the battery storage system, and the dispatchable standby generation on customer property to work as a unified whole to keep as many customers powered as possible under numerous permutations of power outage conditions in different locations on the distribution feeder. The team might also explore the lessons can be learned from this project that would assist others interested in similar islanding technology.

In addition to Mark Osborn, who was the Project Manger for the PGE Smart Power Program for its first three years, the members of the Advisory Team for this project would include Kevin Whitner, PGE’s Smart Grid Engineer, and Dr. Wayne Lei, PFE’s Director of Corporate R&D and Smart Grid Programming.