Smart grid demo is a Salem trial to be happy about


Snack brand Kettle, maker of Kettle chips, will supply energy from its 616-panel solar rooftop array to the newly-opened 5 MW smart grid which opened in Salem, Oregon on Friday.

The US$23 million Salem Smart Power Center is one of 13 sites which make up the two-year Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, which is being funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The 8,000 square meter micro grid in south east Salem has around 500 business and residential customers and will test energy storage, renewables integration, demand-response technology, dispatchable standby generation, remotely operated power line switches and transactive controls.

The Salem Center, developed by Portland General Electric with power system engineers and inverters from industrial manufacturer Eaton and a 5 MW lith-ion battery from EnerDel, has received match funding from the Energy Department and will feed data into the Pacific Northwest project, which has 60,000 customers in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

The Oregon State Data Center, Oregon Military Department and Anderson Readiness Center are all participating in the Salem Center project and businesses will cycle heating, cooling and other systems during the day and switch usage to off peak periods to test the demand-response technology.

The Center will store energy when wholesale energy prices are low and draw it down for use when the wholesale prices are more expensive.