Salem Smart Power Center

Storing energy and integrating renewables

The Salem Smart Power Center is a showcase for innovation that inspires utilities to look at new ways to store energy, provide backup to the grid, support development of microgrids and integrate renewables onto the grid. 

We built the Center, which hosts a 5-megawatt lithium-ion battery and inverter system capable of storing 1.25 megawatt-hours of energy, as part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, a U.S. Department of Energy research effort. 

While the demonstration project officially ended in mid-2015, we continue to operate the Smart Power Center to provide backup power for the regional grid and ongoing smart grid research.

Take a Tour of the Salem Smart Power Center

The Salem Smart Power Center forms the hub of one of the most advanced electrical systems in the nation. A partner in the five-year Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, PGE is testing how to store and better integrate variable renewable energy sources like solar and wind into the electrical grid. We're also testing several other smart technologies to create a highly reliable "micro-grid" serving about 500 PGE southeast Salem business and residential customers, including the State of Oregon and Kettle Brand.

We are demonstrating several new technologies at the Center:

  • Integration of renewables onto the grid. We and our customer Kettle Brand showed how energy storage can help integrate renewable energy sources onto the grid. We used energy from its battery array and from Kettle Brand’s 114-kilowatt solar array to reduce peak load and the variability of customers’ load usage.

  • Stabilization of grid frequency. When power sagged briefly on the regional transmission in February 2015, the batteries immediately fed 5 MW back onto the grid to help stabilize grid frequency.

  • Simulation of a microgrid. We were able to simulate a high-reliability zone, also known as a microgrid, by accessing power from third-party standby generators to continue providing electricity to customers in the event of a power outage.