PGE will continue operating Smart Power Center as national smart grid project comes to a close

PGE has successfully piloted large-scale battery storage to benefit customers and the grid

July 8, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. — While the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project is officially ending, Portland General Electric will continue operating its Smart Power Center to provide backup power for the regional grid and opportunities for other smart grid research projects.

PGE’s center in Salem, Ore. continues to inspire utilities to look at new ways to store energy, provide backup to the grid, support development of microgrids and integrate renewables onto the grid.

PGE built a 5-megawatt lithium-ion battery and inverter system capable of storing 1.25 megawatt-hours of energy as part of the demonstration project, a U.S. Department of Energy research effort.

PGE’s battery array is a key component of its 8,000 square-foot Salem Smart Power Center, which includes interpretive displays about the technologies under development. More than 2,000 visitors, including representatives from regional utilities, India and Japan have toured the center to learn more about the promise that battery storage holds for the future of electricity.

“The Smart Grid Demonstration Project has been a great opportunity to explore new technologies that can benefit our customers and the nation’s electrical grid,” said Bill Nicholson, PGE’s senior vice president of customer service, transmission and distribution.

PGE’s demonstration project goes beyond theory. When power sagged briefly on the regional transmission grid in February, PGE’s batteries immediately fed 5 megawatts of electricity back onto the grid to help stabilize grid frequency.

PGE also was 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. “We believe this could be a viable way to create microgrids, which a growing number of customers are interested in exploring,” Nicholson said.

In addition, PGE and customer Kettle Brand demonstrated how energy storage can help integrate renewables onto the grid. PGE used energy from its battery and from Kettle Brand’s 114-kilowatt solar array to reduce peak load and the variability of customers’ load usage. PGE research indicates this was a first-of-its kind demonstration.

In June, PGE received the 2015 Smart Grid Customer Education Award from the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. The collaborative said PGE’s tours and educational displays at its Salem Smart Power Center demonstrated innovation and imagination, a high level of integrity in engaging with consumers, quantifiable results, and a consumer-centric approach to education and awareness.

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About Portland General Electric Company
Portland General Electric, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a fully integrated electric utility that serves approximately 856,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon. Visit our website at

Source: Portland General Electric Company

Fore more information contact: Melanie Moir, PGE, 503-464-8790