As energy technology develops at an ever-more-rapid pace, the region’s electricity grid needs to be able to respond and enable the benefits of these new advances. PGE and others are working together to bring these benefits to Oregon’s homes and businesses by developing Oregon’s “smart grid.”
What is the smart grid?
Simply put, it’s a set of technologies to upgrade the current electrical grid. In much of the United States, the grid is many decades old. New technology has the potential to make it more reliable and efficient.
The smart grid includes smart meters that allow PGE to more quickly pinpoint outages and send repair crews. They can also provide you with information that can help you use energy more efficiently, which can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.
It also includes other technology PGE is currently testing, such as power lines that self-correct, battery storage, new transmission management tools and more.
Smart grid projects
As a leader in smart grid development, PGE has rolled out about 825,000 smart meters and is working on projects that will bring smart grid benefits to its customers, including:
Our Energy Tracker tool uses smart meter data to provide insight into how your home or business uses energy and provides custom advice on how to save energy.
The Salem Smart Power pilot
About 500 homes and businesses in Southeast Salem will soon get their electricity from one of the most reliable, advanced electricity systems in the nation.
The project pilots several smart-grid technologies designed to improve the electric system’s operation and reliability, including remote-operated power-line switches, energy storage, demand response, dispatchable standby generation, and solar generation.
All of these technologies will work in concert to create a “micro-grid” — an area able to generate, store and sustain its own power for optimal reliability.
Why the smart grid matters
A smart grid offers benefits like:
- More efficient transmission of electricity from source to end user
- Better integration of variable renewables such as solar and wind
- Greater reliability
- More agility to respond to fluctuations in supply and demand
For example, a smart grid would:
- Be able to sense system overloads and reroute power automatically to prevent or minimize potential outages.
- Meet increased customer demand for electricity while limiting the need to invest in new power plants, by making the distribution of electricity more efficient.
- Help consumers save money and use electricity more efficiently, by giving them real time energy-usage information and more control over how and when their appliances and devices use electricity.
- Deliver the power “quality” necessary to run our increasingly high-tech economy — power free of sags, spikes, disturbances and interruptions.
- Maximize customer-sited energy storage opportunities such as the power stored in electric vehicle batteries.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make it easier for renewable energy sources to connect to the electricity grid.