SALEM – The Oregon Department of Energy will award $295,000 in state and federal funds to the Eugene Water & Electric Board for a pilot project that demonstrates energy storage and “microgrid” technology and how it can improve community resiliency and response in emergency situations.
EWEB, Oregon’s largest consumer-owned utility, developed the Grid Edge Demonstration project to show how a consumer-owned utility can help increase 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 critical services during response and recovery. 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.
“After a disaster, Oregonians will need reliable access to electricity, potable water, and emergency communications,” said Will Price, EWEB Energy Resource Analyst. “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.”
The grant is made possible by a joint solicitation from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, which committed $250,000 in federal funds to the project, and the State of Oregon. ODOE is partnering with Oregon BEST to award an additional $45,000 grant to EWEB and its development partners, Powin Energy and Green Energy Corp. Sandia National Laboratories will provide technical assistance to ensure strong project performance, with support from the Clean Energy States Alliance. “We have a very good team,” said U.S. DOE Program Manager Dr. Imre Gyuk. “The long-term benefits for Oregon, and indeed the entire industry, are outstanding.”
EWEB’s proposal achieves all five of ODOE’s priorities for the project, including service reliability and resiliency, and an emphasis on renewable energy integration, high-quality power, grid regulation, and energy demand management.
“ODOE is proud to support EWEB’s demonstration project, which will help us understand more about the variety of grid benefits from energy storage and make utilities more resilient in an emergency,” said Mike Kaplan, ODOE Director. “We’re also pleased with the world-class expertise U.S. DOE and Sandia National Laboratories will bring to our state.”
About the Oregon Department of Energy: The Oregon Department of Energy helps Oregonians improve the energy efficiency of their homes, provides policy expertise to prepare for Oregon’s future energy needs, staffs the Energy Facility Siting Council, provides technical and financial assistance to encourage investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy resources, promotes the cleanup of the Hanford nuclear site, and ensures state preparedness to respond to emergencies at energy facilities.