PGE unveils first-of-its-kind ‘Smart Grid Testbed’

U.S. utility Portland General Electric has launched a first of its kind project that will integrate smart grid technologies at a very large scale in the US.

The smart grid test bed will accelerate the utility’s energy decarbonization and clean energy efforts, in partnership with customers.

Some 20,000 customers across three neighborhoods, Hillsboro, Portland and Milwaukee, will participate in the utility’s demand response smart home technologies pilot.

The aim is to transfer the utility’s reliance on coal to virtual power systems through optimising consumer energy efficiency.

The pilot is expected to help Portland General Electric to reduce its carbon footprint and address climate change, in addition to making its grid network more resilient.

For instance, consumer smart home devices such as thermostats, water heaters, electric vehicle chargers and batteries, will be automated to respond to energy demand changes.

Portland General Electric has set a target participation rate of at least 66% — approximately ten times the national average for similar programmes

“We’re using our Smart Grid Test Bed to deliver simple, seamless solutions and working with customers to drive carbon out of our system,” said Maria Pope, president and CEO of PGE. “We’re determined to meet our shared climate and equity goals.”

The project is being overseen by energy regulators in Oregon and has been developed in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Institute.