Oregon Energy Storage Demonstration Project Launches With State-Federal-NGO Partnership

December 20, 2015

Oregon shutterstock_217055962

An inaugural Eugene, Oregon backup grid storage program using PV-generated electricity will now be used by the Eugene Water & Electric Board.

This follows a joint solicitation from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity and the Oregon Department of Energy calling for an energy storage program. As a result, $295,000 in state and federal funds are being awarded to the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) for this energy storage demonstration project.

Of note, this project will incorporate 500 kW of electric energy storage in combination with solar PV to provide backup power for the grid.

“This important project addresses the energy-water nexus by providing emergency backup for both,” said Imre Gyuk, manager of the energy storage program at US DOE-OE, in a press announcement. “It assures reliability by including renewable PV as well as energy storage across three aggregated sites.”

EWEB and its development partners, Powin Energy and Green Energy Corp., will receive technical support from Sandia National Laboratories and Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA).

In case of a grid outage, the EWEB project will provide “resilient backup power” to support EWEB’s Roosevelt Operation center, Blanton Heights Communications center, and the Willamette 800 Pump Station. These facilities provide critical electricity, water and communication services.

Additional components of this project will include electric vehicle charging stations and a community solar installation. The community solar operation will allow EWEB customers to buy into a PV system and receive a share of the electricity cost savings.

EWEB, Oregon’s largest consumer-owned utility, developed what it is calling the Grid Edge Demonstration project to show how EWEB enhances community resiliency by providing electricity resources when transmission lines and power facilities are down.

In disasters such as earthquakes or floods, diverse renewable power supplies can help provide power to critical services for response and recovery operations. EWEB’s two-year demonstration project will test local stand-alone electric power, or “microgrid” technology, as well as renewable energy-based storage options, which offer an added benefit of reduced emissions compared to traditional back-up diesel generators.

Will Price, an EWEB Energy Resource analyst, said, “Our demonstration project will test and measure support for three types of community infrastructure, with energy storage for a water and electricity emergency operations hub, a water pump station, and a multi-agency communications site.”

Oregon map via Shutterstock