Avista ramps up Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project   

Tags: Avista Utilities, Smart Grid, Infrastructure upgrades, Energy Efficiency, Electricity, Washington

Smart Grid community meeting
Community members learned about Avista's pullman smart grid project at a meeting on January 24, 2011.
 
Advanced meters to be installed in Pullman and Albion, Washington
 
 
Avista and its project partners, including Battelle, updated Pullman community leaders on the Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project today and outlined project plans for 2011.

While the first year of the five-year project focused on updating and automating Pullman’s distribution system, the second year will primarily involve the installation of Itron advanced meters in the city of Pullman, Wash. and the community of Albion, Wash. Approximately 13,000 electric and 5,000 natural gas customers will have their meters upgraded to the new, digital meters, with some customers receiving both electric and natural gas meters. The new meters will be installed over several months beginning in March, 2011.

Heather Cummins talks about smart grid
"The most important aspects of the
Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration
project are the advantages it can pote-
ntially create for our customers,” said
Heather Cummins, Avista’s director of
process improvement, who leads Avista’s
smart grid programs.
Advanced meters operate via a secure wireless network, allowing two-way, real-time communication between the customers’ meter and Avista, so Avista can provide information to customers about their ongoing energy usage through a secure website. Later this year, customers with advanced meters should be able to log into their Avista Utilities account and access additional enhanced web tools to monitor their energy usage throughout the month so they can make more informed decisions about their energy use.

“The most important aspects of the Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration project are the advantages it can potentially create for our customers,” said Heather Cummins, Avista’s director of process improvement, who leads Avista’s smart grid programs.

The advanced meters have the ability to automatically detect and report an outage at a customer’s home or business. The meters are part of an automated distribution system that reduces outage frequency and duration for all customers.

“Having outage information available almost instantly can help our crews to more quickly and efficiently restore power to our customers,” said Dan Johnson, Avista’s Project Manager for the Pullman project.

Advanced Meter
A sneek peek at the advanced meters that
allow Avista's smart grid project to work.
Avista will notify customers who will be receiving the new meters with a letter over the next few weeks, and will continue to update customers with information about the demonstration project and technology throughout the project. Customers can also find information online at avistautilities.com.

The Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project is part of the Pacific Northwest Grid Demonstration Project, led by Battelle, to demonstrate smart grid technologies using matching stimulus monies from the U.S. Department of Energy. Avista is leading the five-year Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project, and will contribute $14.9 million with its local partners contributing an additional $4 million to create a smart grid in Pullman.

“We envision the smart grid to be a more efficient and effective electricity infrastructure that can help contain costs, reduce emissions, incorporate renewable energy, increase power grid reliability and provide greater flexibility for consumers,” Cummins said. “Over the long-term, it could modernize our traditional, one-way power delivery system to an automated, two-way exchange of information and multi-directional power flow.”

Cost-share partners for the Pullman Project are Itron, Washington State University, Hewlett Packard and Spirae. Other partners include vendors and contractors such as Scope and Efacec Advanced Control Systems, who will provide product and services including equipment and installation. Many of the project’s smart grid devices incorporate relay devices produced by Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc., which remains a supportive contributor to the overall success of the SGDP project.
 
 
Posted by  System Account  on  1/24/2011
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