KEMA Teams with North Western Energy in Montana Grid Project

Author: Spencer Ogden
Date posted10/Nov/2011
Author: Spencer Ogden

KEMA is partnering with NorthWestern Energy to connect a couple hundred Montana utility customers to the smart grid, as part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. Along with installing home area network (HAN) equipment, KEMA will work with consumers on equipment use and manage the educational aspects of the campaign.

The $178 million Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project is partially funded by the United States Department of Energy to test and measure new technologies, including distributed automation (DA) and conservation voltage reduction (CVR), as well as analytical tools for the smart grid.

KEMA will provide smart grid consulting expertise and oversee the installation. NorthWestern Energy will test DA and CVR along with 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 solution that enables choice and control across various communication channels.

John Masiello, a senior director at KEMA says, “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. 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 around the globe build closer relationships with their customers, and we look forward to advancing the state of retail energy in Montana.”

This smart grid trial is unique because it is testing applications in both small urban and rural settings.

William Thomas, NorthWestern Energy manager of regulatory support services believes KEMA’s smart grid expertise “will be central to the success of this project. 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