In Germany, two energy providers announced this week they have signed deals with Itron for the company's Total Services solution in a bid to ensure compliance with Germany's Renewable Energy Act.
Stadtnetze Neustadt and Stadtwerke Garbsen, energy providers to 25,000 and 35,000 customers respectively in Lower Saxony, will use Itron Total Services to monitor and manage the integration of renewable energy into the electric grid.
Commenting on the agreement, Rolf Haack at Stadtnetze Neustadt, said: “As we move to smart grid technology in Germany, utilizing Itron Total Services will help ease this transition.
"We can take advantage of Itron’s expertise to manage and maintain day-to-day operations, so we can focus on gaining more business value out of the smart grid solution."
Eckhard Püttker, technical manager at Stadtwerke Garbsen, added that the new technology "will better control our renewable generation facilities in order to react to critical incidents in the grid and avoid local blackouts".
The subscription-based structure includes metering, communications, data management and analysis.
Smart grid demo project
Meanwhile in the US, Portland General Electric (PGE) has announced that it will continue to participate in the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project.
PGE told local media that it will keep operating its Smart Power Center in Salem, which provides backup power for the regional grid and opportunities for other smart grid research projects.
As part of the demonstration project, PGE built a 5-megawatt lithium-ion battery and inverter system that can store 1.25 megawatt-hours of energy.
Bill Nicholson, PGE’s senior vice president of customer service, transmission and distribution, at PGE, told Portland Business Journal that the Smart Power Center is now part of PGE’s ongoing operations.
He said: [The centre] also serves as a pioneering center of technology. We’ve had more than 2,000 utility experts and others from around the world tour the center to learn more about the technologies we are demonstrating, right here in Salem, to explore the future of the smart grid."
When asked what were his biggest learnings from the smart grid demonstration project, Mr Nicholson said: " The most significant finding is that battery storage holds promise for the future.
"Already, our battery array is being used to back up the grid, and we’ve shown it can be used to help balance the variability of renewables and support microgrids."