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Transforming the energy grid

Avista and the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced they will enter an agreement to strengthen and expand their partnership at the frontiers of grid modernization.

The scope of the new agreement includes collaboration on new battery and thermal storage technologies, and the development and testing of transactive building controls for increased grid reliability and resiliency. Through the use of algorithms and analytics developed by PNNL, Avista will also be able to partner with its customers to coordinate service and help reduce load during peak demand. 

“This continuing partnership is about leveraging regional expertise,” explained Heather Rosentrater, vice president of energy delivery at Avista. “Working together, Avista and PNNL will be able to accelerate the delivery of new services that provide both customer and societal benefits.”

Researchers from both PNNL and Avista will create a testbed for advanced distribution management systems, including the open-source software Avista is currently developing with Duke Energy. That software, which employs interoperability concepts and distributed intelligence, enables individual updates to “micro-services” rather than the entire system. This allows utilities to more efficiently integrate, coordinate and optimize diverse assets and add new grid management functionality (including the energy grid, traditional and renewable generation, and customer assets) — ultimately delivering more options in how customers can interact with their energy company. 

Avista and PNNL plan to work with local government agencies to develop a protocol and methodology for establishing a “Home Energy Score” to inform owners and buyers of a home’s potential energy performance. Avista engineers will develop the analytics model that can quantify and create a metric for residential energy efficiency; PNNL will provide the analytics and an independent review of the process necessary to create a metric that will be utilized to tailor energy efficiency solutions to customers.

“Avista and PNNL have a significant history and successful track record of collaboration and innovation in grid modernization, and we’re looking forward to expanding our work with Avista to new challenges and opportunities at the grid’s edge,” said Carl Imhoff, head of the Electricity Infrastructure market sector at PNNL. “Specifically, we’re collaborating on new projects that we believe will make our power grid more resilient, and that empower consumers with more information and choices in meeting their energy needs.”

Learn more about our partnership here

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