Our journey to a clean energy future is dependent on innovative ways of thinking and new ways of working together to achieve our shared goal. The new Smart Grid Test Bed that we’re proposing to the Oregon Public Utility Commission will combine both of those things to deliver a smarter, cleaner grid.
What makes a grid smart? It’s a good question. A smart grid transforms the traditional one-way flow of electricity into a two-way flow of energy, where electrical power, information and technology all work together to make the electrical system smarter, more efficient and reliable for customers, while also using more renewable energy.
Our new Smart Grid Test Bed is a pilot program. Concentrated in neighborhoods in three Oregon cities (Hillsboro, Milwaukie and Portland) the test bed will be the hub that brings together separate pieces of technology and energy delivery in order to pilot the more integrated grid of the future.
To build the test bed, we will upgrade existing feeders and substations, the equipment we use to move electricity, with advanced automation distribution technologies. These technologies include sensors, processors and communication devices that can improve reliability and service quality.
The test bed is about more than just the grid elements. Customers also play a vital role in the Smart Grid Test Bed. Through this pilot, we’ll continue to integrate existing things, such as smart home devices like thermostats and water heaters, with the grid. In addition, customers will be invited to install energy storage devices, including batteries and electrical vehicle chargers, at their home or business. These devices will store excess power. Customers can then choose to use the excess power or return it back to the grid. They can opt to change their energy consumption during high demand times, to lower their overall energy costs.
We look forward to approval by the Commission and the launch of this pilot and the learnings it will provide as we continue to find new ways to deliver a clean energy future.
Please check back here for more information as this pilot progresses and follow a #CleanEnergyFuture on social media for updates.