Salem Smart Power Center

Storing energy and integrating renewables

Carol Dillin

The Salem Smart Power Center is the hub of one of the most advanced electrical systems in the country. It will help Oregon — and the nation — discover new ways to build intelligent energy resources for the future.

Carol Dillin, vice president of PGE Customer Strategies & Business Development

At PGE’s Salem Smart Power Center, we are inspiring utilities to look at new ways to store energy, provide backup to the grid, support development of microgrids and integrate renewables onto the grid.

We built a 5-megawatt lithium-ion battery and inverter system capable of storing 1.25 megawatt-hours of energy as part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, a U.S. Department of Energy research effort.

While the demonstration project officially ended in mid-2015, we continue to operate the Smart Power Center to provide backup power for the regional grid and ongoing smart grid research.

Watch how the Salem Smart Power Project was conceived and executed, and how it still works today.

At the center, we have demonstrated several new technologies:

  • Integration of renewables onto the grid. We and our customer Kettle Brand showed how energy storage can help integrate renewable energy sources onto the grid. We used energy from its battery array and from Kettle Brand’s 114-kilowatt solar array to reduce peak load and the variability of customers’ load usage.
  • Stabilization of grid frequency. When power sagged briefly on the regional transmission in February 2015, the batteries immediately fed 5 MW back onto the grid to help stabilize grid frequency.
  • Simulation of a microgrid. We were able to simulate a high-reliability zone, also known as a microgrid, by accessing power from third-party standby generators to continue providing electricity to customers in the event of a power outage.