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Department of Energy putting power in the hands of consumers through technology
Date:1/9/2008

The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced today the results of a year-long effort to put the power grid in the hands of consumers through technology. The Pacific Northwest GridWise Demonstration Project found that advanced technologies enable consumers to be active participants in improving power grid efficiency and reliability, while saving money in the process. On average, consumers who participated in the project saved approximately 10 percent on their electricity bills.

The project was funded primarily by DOE, with other support provided by utilities and manufacturers. It involved two separate studies to test demand-response concepts and technologies. The Olympic Peninsula Project found homeowners are willing to adjust their individual energy use based on price signals -- provided via information technology tools. The Grid Friendly Appliance Project demonstrated that everyday household appliances can automatically reduce energy consumption at critical moments when they are fitted with controllers that sense stress on the grid. Both studies helped reduce pressure on the grid during times of peak demand.

"As demand for electricity continues to grow, Smart Grid technologies such as those demonstrated in the Olympic Peninsula area will play an important role in ensuring a continued delivery of safe and reliable power to all Americans," said DOE Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Kevin Kolevar. "The department remains committed to working with industry to research, develop and deploy cutting-edge technologies to power our electric grid and help maintain robust economic growth."

The 112 homeowners who participated in the Olympic Peninsula project received new electric meters, as well as thermostats, water heaters and dryers connected via Invensys Controls home gateway devices to IBM software. The software let homeowners customize devices to a desired level of comfort or
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Contact: Christy Lambert
christy.lambert@pnl.gov
509-375-3732
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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