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Olympic Peninsula GridWise Demonstration

Olympic Peninsula GridWise Demonstration

Increasing demand on the United States energy grid has spurred many energy providers to consider creative solutions to increase generation and encourage conservation. One such effort, led by PNNL, implemented computer chips in appliances, real-time pricing, and automatic power adjustments to better use existing power and place less strain on the grid.

The demo, which began in early 2006, tested energy pricing in 100 homes on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. The homes received energy price information through a broadband Internet connection, automated demand-response thermostats, and water heaters that adjusted energy use based on price. Automated controls adjusted appliances and thermostats based on predetermined instructions from homeowners.

Volunteers had their own websites for managing their responses. There, they chose from a range of responses from no response to maximum economy response. At any point, homeowners could override their preprogrammed preferences to achieve maximum comfort and convenience.

The demo was one of the first efforts to provide and have loads respond automatically to pricing data on a very short time scale-every 5 minutes compared to other demos' 15 minutes-and the first to include the true costs of transmission and distribution within that price by doing in-the-field demand response with real-time prices.

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