The Department of Energy (DOE) has selected a Pacific Northwest team including 3TIER—a global leader in renewable energy information services—to conduct a regional smart grid demonstration project. The project will test new smart grid technologies including devices, software, and advanced analytical and forecasting tools that enhance the power grid’s reliability and performance. The Northwest study will involve more than 60,000 metered customers in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.
“The inclusion of 3TIER in this project acknowledges that optimizing the energy supply side of the smart grid equation, and renewable energy in particular, is absolutely critical to the long-term success of an efficient and smart national grid,” says Kenneth Westrick, founder and CEO.
3TIER will provide wind and solar power forecasting for individual sites and for the region as a whole for the duration of the project. The company’s hour-, day-, and week-ahead forecasts will be processed centrally as part of an integrated smart grid system. 3TIER is one of the largest forecasters of wind energy in the world, forecasting production for more than 16.5 GW of regional and 11.6 GW of project-specific installed capacity, including more than 30 percent of the installed capacity in North America.
“A key objective of a national smart grid infrastructure is to make the best possible use of renewable energy resources,” Westrick says. “Accurately forecasting weather-driven renewable energy provides the signals the system needs to optimally integrate that energy into the grid, and dispatch other assets when production decreases. It is an essential component of an efficient and reliable smart grid system.”
The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project team combines energy providers, utilities, technology companies, and other research organizations. Total estimated cost for the project is $178 million. The DOE will provide half the funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project’s participants, primarily utilities, and industry team members—including 3TIER—will provide the remaining funds.
At its peak the project could create about 1,500 total jobs in manufacturing, installation, and operating smart grid equipment, telecommunications networks, software, and controls in the five states. The DOE press release is available at www.energy.gov/news2009/8305.htm.
Founded in 1999, Seattle-based 3TIER is one of the largest independent providers of wind, solar, and hydro energy assessment and power forecasting worldwide. For more information see the Q&A in this issue, and visit www.3tier.com.