Energy storage demonstration in Oregon earns federal funds

Oregon solar storage project

The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE), in a joint solicitation with the energy storage program of US DOE Office of Electricity (US DOE-OE), will award $295,000 in state and federal funds to the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) for an energy storage demonstration project that will incorporate 500 kW of electric energy storage in combination with solar PV to provide resilient backup power and numerous other benefits.

U.S. DOE-OE committed $250,000 to the project, and the Oregon Department of Energy partnered with Oregon BEST to commit an additional $45,000. EWEB and its development partners, Powin Energy and Green Energy Corp., will also receive technical support from Sandia National Laboratories and the nonprofit Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA).

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“This important project addresses the energy-water nexus by providing emergency backup for both,” said Dr. Imre Gyuk, manager of the energy storage program at US DOE-OE. “It assures reliability by including renewable PV as well as energy storage across three aggregated sites.”

In case of a grid outage, the EWEB project will provide resilient backup power to support EWEB’s Roosevelt Operation center, Blanton Heights Communications center, and the Willamette 800 Pump Station. These facilities provide critical electricity, water and communications services to customers. The solar+storage system, which will tie all three facilities together in an islandable microgrid configuration, will also provide grid services and integrate renewable generation during periods of normal grid operation. Technical support from Sandia will ensure that the project is designed and operated optimally to provide maximum benefits.

The grant was awarded in a competitive solicitation for a sizeable energy storage demonstration project that would provide multiple benefits to the grid, to the state, and to ratepayers. EWEB’s proposal met all five of the state’s priorities for the demonstration project, including service reliability and resiliency, renewable energy integration, high-quality power, grid regulation, and energy demand management. Additional components of the project include electric vehicle charging stations and a community solar installation that will allow EWEB customers who may not own property that could support solar PV to buy into a PV system and receive a share of the electricity cost savings.

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EWEB, Oregon’s largest consumer-owned utility, developed what it is calling the Grid Edge Demonstration project to show how EWEB enhance 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 power to critical services for response and recovery operations. 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.”

“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.”

“This shows what can be accomplished when state and federal agencies work together to push new technologies forward,” ESTAP project director Todd Olinsky-Paul commented. “CESA is pleased to be a part of what should be an excellent project that will benefit EWEB’s customers, add resiliency to the region, and advance knowledge in the areas of energy storage, resilient power and microgrids.”

The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) is a national, nonprofit coalition of public agencies and organizations working together to advance clean energy.

— Solar Builder magazine



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