KEMA, a global provider of business and technical consulting, testing and certification for the energy industry, will partner with NorthWestern Energy to connect approximately 200 Montana utility customers to the smart grid, as part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. In addition to installing the home area network (HAN) equipment, KEMA will work with customers on equipment use and benefits and manage the innovative educational components of the campaign.
The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project is a $178 million program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to test and measure new technologies, such as distributed automation (DA) and conservation voltage reduction (CVR), as well as analytical tools for the smart grid. New ways for customers to measure and impact their own energy consumption will also be measured. KEMA’s educational tools and resources will be critical to affect customer usage changes and acceptance of smart grid capabilities. KEMA will also provide smart grid consulting expertise and oversee the installation. NorthWestern Energy’s portion will specifically test DA and CVR, as well as energy savings associated with demand response (DR) and load control. NorthWestern will deploy Tendril Network’s Tendril Connect, a standards-based software-as-a-service technology solution. The platform enables energy insight, choice and control across various communication channels to customers.
“We’re proud of our strong relationship with NorthWestern Energy and its Montana customers, and we are excited to work with them to advance the smart grid in this part of the country,” said John Masiello, a senior director at KEMA. “By partnering with NorthWestern Energy and Tendril Networks, we are confident this project will provide a critical baseline that will guide Montana into the smart grid age. Customer education is an essential cornerstone of the energy industry’s smart grid transition. It’s critical to have a firm understanding of customers’ needs and behaviors. KEMA has helped many utilities build closer relationships with their customers, and we look forward to advancing the state of retail energy in Montana.”
With the new HAN equipment, customers will receive real-time data and notification of DR events. This information will empower them to manage energy use, as well as remotely control any connected device or appliance. Though it is not the first smart grid trial of its kind, this project is unique because it is testing applications in both small urban and rural settings.
“KEMA’s smart grid expertise will be central to the success of this project,” said William Thomas, manager of regulatory support services at NorthWestern Energy. “We aim to provide our customers with enhanced grid reliability and performance, as well as dynamic pricing. Demonstrations such as these will help advance our goals, as well as provide meaningful data on smart grid transitions for the broader energy industry. We are looking forward to the results of this project and to continuing our valued relationships with both KEMA and Tendril Networks.”
In an effort to share its smart grid knowledge and success stories, KEMA has created the Smart Grid Sherpa online forum. Visitors can access a blog with contributors from across the energy industry; a knowledge base with articles that cover R&D, business cases, and public policy; and profiles of successful smart grid pilot projects around the globe. Follow us on Twitter: @SmartGridSherpa.
KEMA is a global provider of business and technical consulting, operational support, measurement and inspection, testing and certification for the energy and utility industry. Our knowledge of innovative technology helps clients ensure the availability, reliability, sustainability and profitability of energy and related products and processes. KEMA Americas serves energy clients throughout North and South America and the Caribbean.