For any of you Washington State University grads or fans out there, the thought that Pullman was not a “smart city” already probably never crossed your mind. Go Cougs! But thanks to a new proposed project that Avista and some regional partners recently announced, the community of Pullman, Wash., is about to get a whole lot smarter – no homework assignments required.
Avista has joined with regional partners, led by Battelle, to develop a smart grid demonstration project using matching stimulus monies from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The proposal’s intent is to show how smart grid technology can enhance the safety, reliability and efficiency of energy delivery on a regional and national level.
Avista electric customers in the area will benefit greatly from this proposed project by experiencing greater reliability, shorter outage times and the opportunity to monitor energy in order to use it more efficiently, at less cost.
Customers will also be able to see up close and personal what smart grid really means to individuals, not just power companies.
Pullman makes sense as a demonstration project site because it is a bit of an electric island and we can make technological improvements to the entire area over a relatively short period of time – about two years. We plan to apply proven technology that will allow the system to adjust automatically to changes in electric demand and supply, provide automated restoration for local outages, utilize two-way communications between the electric meter and the utility and prepare the electric distribution system for future technologies.
This project helps Avista move the region (and nation) closer to establishing a more efficient and effective electricity infrastructure that’s expected to help contain costs, reduce emissions, incorporate more wind power and other types of renewable energy, increase power grid reliability and provide greater flexibility for consumers.
The proposal was submitted to the DOE last month and we expect to hear back in the next few months. As for the dollar amounts, the Pullman project will cost approximately $38 million. Avista will contribute $12.9 million of that cost. The other entities participating in the project include Schweitzer Engineering, Washington State University, Itron, Hewlett Packard, and Spirae.