Press Releases

Micro-transactive grid to study energy sharing, resiliency

June 2020

HAILEY, Idaho (June 11, 2020) ‒ By March 2021, Avista Utilities will energize a microgrid in Spokane, Washington’s University District that allows buildings to share energy, which will minimize impacts on the power grid and create a local energy market.

The project, known as a micro-transactive grid or MTG, will allow distributed energy resources (DER) to be traded from one building to another as needs shift, forming what Avista’s calling a shared energy economy. This shared flow of power allows resources such as solar, battery storage and individual buildings’ energy management systems to supply energy more efficiently to Avista’s customers, while making the local distribution grid more reliable, resilient and flexible.

“With the deployment of distributed energy resources on our power system we are able to envision new products and services between our customers and the utility. These resources deployed in our customer neighborhoods invite customers to participate in the energy eco-system at a much deeper level than ever before. As a part of this project, Avista is evaluating how to create an opportunity for the customer and utility to both benefit,” said Avista Chief Research and Development Engineer John Gibson.

The MTG will provide power during outages and regulate power flow while the microgrid is connected to the distribution grid. Avista plans to use the MTG as a pilot in order to prove whether investment in microgrids can benefit the utility as well as the end user.

“Avista was founded on clean, renewable hydropower and has always been on the forefront of clean energy and innovation. We believe that technology innovations like the micro-transactive grid will help Avista achieve our clean energy goals to serve our customers with carbon-free electricity by the end of 2045 and carbon-neutral electricity by the end of 2027. The MTG is the latest example of Avista’s rich history of innovation that spans more than 135 years. Avista is always seeking out new ideas that can propel our energy industry forward as we reimagine our future and what it can bring,” said Avista Senior Vice President of Energy Delivery Heather Rosentrater.

As the utility’s owner’s engineer on the project, POWER Engineers, Incorporated (POWER) is providing overall design, functionality and construction planning for the components necessary for an MTG. POWER’s team also developed a detailed roadmap to make sure all the parts of the MTG work together successfully.

“We are excited and honored to be working alongside Avista and industry-leading technology providers to create the University District MTG project. The lessons learned here will provide the foundation for the new grid economy and increase the adoption of distributed energy resources,” said Greg Clark, POWER project manager.

The pilot project is funded by a matching grant from the Washington Department of Commerce Clean Energy Fund. In addition to POWER, Avista is partnering with Washington State University, builder McKinstry Company, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, technology companies Spirae and Itron, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

About Avista Utilities: Avista Utilities is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy. We provide energy services and electricity to 395,000 customers and natural gas to 363,000 customers in a service territory that covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.7 million.  Avista Utilities is an operating division of Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA). For more information, please visit www.myavista.com.

About POWER Engineers: POWER Engineers is a global consulting engineering firm specializing in the delivery of integrated solutions for energy, food and beverage facilities, environmental and federal markets. We offer complete multidiscipline engineering and program management services. Founded in 1976, we are an employee-owned company with more than 2,600 employees and 45 offices throughout the United States and abroad.

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