The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and Mason County Public Utility District No. 3 (PUD 3), located on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, are partnering on a smart grid pilot project to help manage the electricity grid and use wind power more effectively.
Mason County PUD 3 is installing devices on water heaters that will communicate with the grid, signaling the appliances to turn on or off based on the conditions of the regional electrical system and the amount of variable wind energy that is available.
‘Homeowners who choose to participate in this pilot project can help the region ease strain on the region's electrical system,’ says Lee Hall, the BPA's smart grid program manager. ‘They will also help the region make the best use of wind.’
The BPA notes that shifting water-heater energy use to times when consumption is lower helps ‘level out the peaks and valleys of energy use, which makes the balancing act of supply and demand easier.’
Installation of the devices in the 100 participating homes is scheduled to begin next month.