Smart Grid Northwest Plans for an Energetic 2017

by Bryce Yonker, Acting Executive Director, Smart Grid Northwest

In late January, at the tail end of the Portland area snowstorm that won’t soon be forgotten, Smart Grid Northwest hosted a strategic planning retreat to determine priorities for the year ahead. 25 leaders from across the region gathered in Seattle to discuss a host of options for the organization. In the end, we landed on a clear agenda for 2017 focusing on the organization’s three pillars: education, planning and policy.


Since our founding, Smart Grid Northwest has focused on hosting discussions, facilitating connections and presenting information that builds a strong case for the expansion of grid moderation solutions. This will continue to be a core focus for the organization in the year ahead.

We have begun planning the 2017 Transactive Energy Systems Conference (June 13-15, Portland OR) with the GridWise Architecture Council. If you have not already submitted an abstract for presenting, please do so ASAP. If you’re interested in supporting the event, we welcome your involvement.

Smart Grid NW demand response DR symposium 2016

Sold-out crowd at the 1st annual Northwest Demand Response Symposium. Source: Smart Grid Northwest

We are excited to host the second Northwest Demand Response Symposium and plan to add a second daylong confab about energy storage. In addition, mark your calendars for September 27-28 in Portland for the NW Energy Storage and Demand Response Summit—further details will be forth coming, so stay tuned.

We will continue our roundtable series for our utility members and friends and plan to facilitate a regional discussion about optimizing grid modernization investments. Often, these solutions (such as AMI) are planned with a very specific, narrow business case. We are looking forward to having a conversation about how to increase the value from various deployments to benefit of a diverse range of stakeholders.

Finally, we plan to create a simple, standardized form to track the grid modernization projects across the region. From AMI and advanced monitoring, to distribution automation and new consumer engagement programs, we plan to catalogue initiatives that have occurred in the region to date.

Regional Planning

For the Northwest energy planning community, last year was a busy one with the release of the seventh Power Plan. We have been participating in the start of the Demand Response Advisory Council meetings and eagerly await the launch of the Systems Integration Forum.

Outside of efforts with the Planning Council, we look forward to continued partnership with Grid Wise Alliance around the Grid Modernization Index in 2017. It’s not too late to submit data using the online questionnaire about state support, consumer engagement and grid operations. We want to help ensure the Northwest region reports all grid modernization efforts for our scores.

Finally, we hope to continue the development of a smart grid roadmap for the region.

Our core focus for the organization in the year will be on hosting discussions, facilitating connections and presenting information that builds a strong case for the expansion of grid moderation solutions.” – Bryce Yonker, Acting Executive Director, Smart Grid Northwest

Public Policy

The policy pillar also experienced a bustling 2016, as we dove in headfirst with federal grid modernization policy. We commended and supported Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski and Washington senator Maria Cantwell for their work to advance much needed grid modernization policy at the federal level. We are enthused to hear that this year’s plan will start where the Senate left off late last year. Additionally, we look forward to working with the House, including Oregon’s incoming energy and commerce chair representative Walden.

Here in the region, Washington State is working to extend the highly successful Clean Energy Fund, as well as a number of other developments actively in progress with regulators and legislators.

2017 will be a busy but progressive time for Smart Grid Northwest. We look forward to engaging with our community members like you to propel a smarter energy future for the Northwest. Not yet a Smart Grid Northwest member? Now’s the time to join to take advantage of our many programs.