The CEO savior
The system's brain and utility CEO savior, the transactive control center ties the micro and regional grids together and makes sure all of the energy sources play nice. Developed by scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, transactive control can help utilities effectively balance supply and demand for electricity. Basically, it's a market-based system that
will allow PGE to store energy when market prices are low and pull from battery storage - rather than buying power - when prices are high. The key to transactive control is a two-way communication signal that contains information about what power is available (and at what price) and what power is needed by end users. This information - all the way from the source of electricity, such as dams or wind projects, to the home - allows intelligent devices and consumers to make smart energy decisions, improving the efficiency of the regions' power system. Centralized intervention is over: this system distributes decision-making throughout its many nodes, where devices are programmed with the prices they will respond to when they see a value signal that matches. Consider a feeder line, for example. When it becomes overloaded, it sends a value-based demand reduction signal. Consumption points capable of demand response can then bid to curtail demand. The lowest bidders will get the job. In theory, the constraint will be alleviated at the lowest possible cost.
Implementing a demand response program
Integrating intermittent renewables is done by letting demand follow intermittent supply at a speed not possible through central dispatch, capturing how the wind supply and forecast varies to translate that into incentive signals, or prices, which are updated every five minutes and sent to participating utilities. Typically, other power production has been adjusted if wind production fluctuates, but that comes at a price and, in the case of hydropower systems, wear and tear. In the future, when wind production slows, a smart grid could help shift the change in power to the demand side, which would cut
back after receiving the signal to use less power. In this test, PGE is also implementing a demand response program, tasking the customers to shift energy use to off-peak periods, when energy demand is the lowest. Researchers will collect and analyze the trial data from the Salem Power Center. The information and experiences from project participants will support a better understanding of how the benefits of smart grid technology may be realized for the region and our nation.