Update on EN, BPA Demand Response Project

Energy Northwest and the Bonneville Power Administration integrated an additional demand response resource into the Energy Northwest Aggregation Demonstration project that first went live Feb. 9. This project is the first-of-its-kind for the region. The system will help BPA test balancing loads on its Northwest transmission grid through industrial resource partners.

Over the long run, demand-side resources have the potential to defer or displace the need for new generation in the region and make the most efficient use of existing generation − resulting in overall cost savings for Northwest ratepayers. Since the launch of the pilot program in February, BPA has called for 11 tests lasting up to 90 minutes; each was a success.

Mark Reddemann, Energy Northwest CEO

Mark Reddemann, Energy Northwest CEO

“This is a testament to Energy Northwest’s mission to provide our public power members and regional ratepayers with safe, reliable, cost-effective, responsible power generation and energy solutions,” said Energy Northwest CEO Mark Reddemann.

In the past, BPA provided balancing services such as this solely with capacity from the federal hydropower system. However, growing demands on the hydro system along with the dramatic increase of wind generation have limited its flexibility to provide enough balancing reserves to meet reliability standards. This has necessitated that BPA explorethird-party capacity sources.

“The hydro system provides many benefits to the Northwest, but it has been stretched to its limit,” said BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer.

Elliot Mainzer, BPA Administrator

Elliot Mainzer, BPA Administrator

“Moving forward we will need smart, sound measures, including demand response to cost-effectively maintain hydro and transmission system flexibility and deliver value and reliable service to our customers and the region.”

Following the agreement to start a pilot program, Energy Northwest assembled the demand response resource from asset loads served by regional public utility partners and took the role of the resource aggregator. The contract currently provides up to 35 megawatts of reliable “fast reaction” demand response-capacity resource.

Conceptually, demand response builds on the idea that while individual electricity loads are relatively minor compared to the scale of a regional transmission grid, many loads lowered and raised at once may serve as a cost effective alternative to building or purchasing the output of additional electric generating stations.

Demand Response

Energy Northwest has developed its Demand Response Aggregation Control System, a comprehensive data gathering, monitoring, control and communications infrastructure system, for the project. Communications devices are installed by each participating utility to report to and receive direction from the DRACS via secure cloud-based data paths. DRACS is hosted within Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center, a U.S. Department of Energy funded incubator facility built and operated for such roles.

Energy Northwest and its public utility partners continue to look for diverse electric loads from customers willing and able to reduce their electric demand on short notice. The participating public utilities that provide the customer loads for the demand response resource are expected to include utility participants in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

How it works

BPA meets balancing obligations in real-time. When Balancing Authority conditions require BPA system operators to activate reserve system balancing resources – including demand response – BPA operations generates a signal calling on demand response assets for an event.

Energy Northwest’s Demand Response Aggregated Control System (DRACS) picks up BPA’s signal, acknowledges its receipt, and forwards the signal to multiple demand response assets. Upon receipt of the forwarded signal, each asset begins automatically to reduce its loads. The load changes must be complete within 10 minutes and sustained through the event, which can be up to 90 minutes in duration.

During events, DRACS collects detailed metering information from each of the assets and reports total capacity response delivered to BPA. Once an event ends, DRACS sends terminating signals to the assets which can then resume normal operations.

(posted by John Dobken)

5 thoughts on “Update on EN, BPA Demand Response Project

  1. Pingback: Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers 255 | Neutron Bytes

  2. While demand side shedding/smoothing are animpressive. Responding to the upcoming urgent need for generation supply side with demand side fix is short-term thinking. Now policy dictates that says demand side efficiency is cheaper (thus better) than building generation supply.
    There is little doubt that some resiliency can be achived by growing a whole new bureauracy – the efficiency bureau.
    In the management science book, The Goal, efficiency improvements are good. But as production reaches close to maximum, when a constraint is reached, rolling production stoppage occured, just like a capacity freeway can be brought to a stop.
    The elephant-in-the-room issue is the need for additional generation, and a new nuclear power plant is the obvoius baseload solution.


    • Thanks for the comment.

      Load growth here in the Northwest has been relatively flat for the past number of years. Creating a demand response program makes sense in that it provides flexibility to the grid operator, as mentioned above. It’s a good tool to have.


      • I read GM Ed Brost’s post in the Franklin PUD “Hotline” where he states, “… The nation’s electricity supply is being stretched beyond its capability to meet growing demand… ”
        Following public energy policy is good; but, demand response (reduction) is not supply. Also, there are supply and demand situations to the South where power plants are being closed for water use restrictions, gas generation is not being built, hydro-has dried up, and SONGS isn’t playing. We rely on winter supply availability from the South, but can we count delivery availability particularly in a lean water year?
        The demand response you mention above will limit demand. Why not increase the supply and provide incentive to use the electricity to make jobs and grow the economy?
        The flat demand is a result of national economic malaise, the ENRON hangover that decimated the energy economy, and dramatically increasing electricity rates. Increasing price of electricity decreases demand in many ways. The consumer feels the pinch and adjusts the thermostat etc, the industrial company with increased costs will increase prices which drives customers away, probably offshore. Without business, the industrial company will die, or relocate. Without jobs, the lights get turned off, a great win for energy efficiency.
        Sucking on an empty hose will not quench our economy’s thirst for juice.


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