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)

Energy Northwest, BPA Launch Demand Response Pilot Project

Energy Northwest and Bonneville Power Administration announced a regional demand response program expected to come online in January 2015. Under the contract, EN will develop a 19-megawatt demand response pilot project with the option of bringing online additional demand response resources up to a total of 25 megawatts.

Energy Northwest expects up to $2 million in gross revenue value from the pilot project; much of this funding will support the comprehensive data gathering, monitoring, control and communications infrastructure and processes necessary to implement the regional program.

“This agreement furthers the Energy Northwest vision to be the region’s leader in power generation and energy solutions through sustained excellence in performance and innovation,” said Energy Northwest CEO Mark Reddemann.

Generation imbalance and reliability on the transmission grid is a challenge for balancing authorities such as BPA to manage. This agreement will explore the potential for energy end-users to lower within-hour consumption as a balancing management resource. Energy Northwest will lead the effort to assemble and operate an aggregated “fast reaction” demand response-capacity resource and BPA will evaluate the project’s ability to supply electricity reserves and other regional transmission system needs.

In the past, BPA provided balancing services such as these being tested solely with capacity from its hydro system. However, growing demands on the hydro system have limited its flexibility to provide this capacity so BPA is exploring third-party capacity sources.

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.

Energy Northwest will develop the Demand Response Aggregation Control System, a comprehensive data gathering, monitoring, control and communications infrastructure. Communication devices will be installed by each participating utility to report to and receive direction from the DRACS via secure cloud-based data paths. DRACS will be 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.

DRACS

The DRACS infrastructure will support the demand response initiative. (Click to Enlarge)

“This regional demand response program will be the first-of-its-kind program in the Northwest led by public power, for public power,” said Jim Gaston, General Manager of Energy Services and Development.

Energy Northwest and its public utility partners will assemble 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.

“The Demand Response project team remains open for participation from additional regional public utilities,” said John Steigers, Generation Project Developer and project manager for Energy Northwest’s demand response program. “We anticipate the demand response program will be a regional resource that will grow in value as additional utilities, load assets, and products are added to the resource.”

–By Laura Scheele, Energy Northwest