NR 15-13 Demand Response Project update

John Dobken, Public Affairs, 509-377-8369                                                      
Doug Johnson, BPA Public Affairs, 503-230-5840
RICHLAND, Wash. – Energy Northwest and its public utility partners City of Richland, Cowlitz County Public Utility District, Pend Oreille County PUD and the Bonneville Power Administration fully and successfully integrated the Aggregated Demand Response Pilot Project into the Northwest grid in early April.
Bonneville and EN formally partnered on the project in September 2014 and placed a pilot-scale 18-megawatt demand response resource in service early February. Building on the project’s excellent performance to date, Pend Oreille County PUD and its customer Ponderay Newsprint Company joined the EN team in April, bringing the resource to its fully-subscribed 35-megawatt capacity.
Over the long run, fast-response demand-side resources have 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 12 tests of the pilot resource lasting up to 90 minutes; each was an unqualified success, meeting or exceeding all requirements and expectations.
“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 EN 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 explore third-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. “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.”
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. Communication 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 who can then resume normal operations.
About Energy Northwest
Energy Northwest develops, owns and operates a diverse mix of electricity generating resources, including hydro, solar and wind projects – and the Northwest’s only nuclear energy facility. These projects provide enough reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy to power more than a million homes each year, and that carbon-free electricity is provided at the cost of generation. As a Washington state joint operating agency, Energy Northwest comprises 27 public power member utilities from across the state serving more than 1.5 million ratepayers. The agency continually explores new generation projects to meet its members’ needs. Energy Northwest – Find us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
About Bonneville Power Administration
The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a nonprofit federal power marketing agency under the U.S. Department of Energy that sells wholesale renewable hydropower from federal dams in the Columbia Basin and one nuclear plant to more than 140 Northwest utilities. BPA operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 circuit miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana with more than 480 customers. It funds one of the largest wildlife protection and restoration programs in the world, and, with its partners, pursues cost-effective energy savings in all sectors of the economy. BPA also pursues breakthroughs that can increase efficiencies, solve operational challenges and reduce costs — all of which help maintain affordable, reliable electric power for the Northwest and lessen impacts to the environment. For more information, contact us at 503-230-5131 or visit