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The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration project is the largest of 16 funded by the US DoE. The demonstration covers US states of - Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming
The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration project is the largest of 16 funded by the US DoE. The demonstration covers US states of - Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming

In the US, the results of the government-funded Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration project (PNW-SGDP) , has shown the importance of data in improving energy efficiency and lowering costs when added at all levels of the electricity system.

The 5 year demonstration project, which began in 2010, is the largest of the 16 smart grid demonstration projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The demonstration area covered five Pacific Northwest states, including Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

The smart grid project sought to quantify smart grid costs and benefits, facilitate the integration of renewable resources, and validate new smart grid technologies and business models.

Participating utilities and their customers have some $80 million in smart grid equipment installed as part of the demonstration project, as well as a new signaling technology to enable demand response.

The project also aimed to advance standards for interoperability and cyber security approaches as well as provide two-way communication between distributed generation, storage, and demand assets and the existing grid infrastructure.

Making the most of aggregated data

The project, which concluded its data collection in August 2014, is now sharing results which have stressed the challenges utilities and energy providers face as they deploy smart grid technologies and connected devices that generate masses of data.

Project results revealed that, ensuring data is reliable is a “difficult” task, and drawing meaning insights from aggregated data can be even more challenging.

Ron Melton, PNW-SGDP’s project director said: “One of the things we’ve learned on the project is that it is not easy to operate some of these technologies and some of this equipment in a way that produces good quality data all of the time.

“Data quality, data integrity is a problem right now,” said Melton. “We need to be developing tools and technologies for both the utilities and vendors to make sure that the data being generated by these information-enabled devices is good data, that they’re operating correctly, and the data is being captured and stored properly.”