Portland General Electric launches energy storage pilot program

Published on July 06, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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Portland General Electric (PGE) is launching a pilot program that will incentivize the installation and connection of residential energy storage batteries.

The program, which goes live in the fall, calls for PGE to dispatch 525 residential energy storage batteries, which will contribute up to four megawatts of energy to PGE’s grid. The distributed assets will create a virtual power plant made up of small units that can be operated individually or combined to serve the grid. Incentives and rebates will be available to residential customers across PGE’s service territory in Portland, Ore.

PGE will study the full benefits that these distributed energy assets can provide the grid as well as participating customers. Each battery is capable of storing 12 to 16 kWh of energy. In the event of a power outage, participating customers can rely on them as a backup power resource.

“Our vision for clean energy relies on a smart, integrated grid. One of the ways that we’ll achieve that is through creative partnerships and diversified energy resources, including those behind-the-meter,” Larry Bekkedahl, vice president of Grid Architecture, Integration and Systems Operation at PGE. said. “This pilot project will allow PGE to integrate even more intermittent renewable energy and enhance grid capabilities while also giving participating customers peace of mind in the event of an outage.”

Energy storage is vital to help capture and store energy from renewable power sources, including wind and solar. The program will also allow PGE to test new smart-grid control devices across its distribution system. The new controls will better manage how electricity is distributed across PGE’s system to incorporate energy that customers generate.

For the pilot program, in exchange for allowing PGE to operate their battery for grid services, participating customers will receive a monthly bill credit of $40, or $20 if the battery is charged with solar power. Further, customers who are participating in the Solar Within Reach offering from Energy Trust of Oregon will be eligible for a $5,000 instant rebate in addition to the monthly bill credits. Also, those living within the PGE Smart Grid Test Bed who purchase a battery will be eligible for an instant rebate, in addition to the monthly bill credit of $40 or $20.