KEMA will partner with NorthWestern Energy to connect approximately 200 Montana utility customers to the smart grid, as part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. In addition to installing the home area network (HAN) equipment, KEMA will work with customers on equipment use and benefits and manage the educational components of the campaign.

The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project is a $178-million program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to test and measure new technologies, such as distributed automation and conservation voltage reduction, as well as analytical tools for the smart grid. New ways for customers to measure and impact their own energy consumption will also be measured.

KEMA’s educational tools and resources will affect customer usage changes and acceptance of smart grid capabilities. KEMA will also provide smart grid consulting expertise and oversee the installation. NorthWestern Energy’s portion will specifically test DA and CVR, as well as energy savings associated with demand response and load control. NorthWestern will deploy Tendril Network’s Tendril Connect, a standards-based software-as-a-service technology solution. The platform enables energy insight, choice and control across various communication channels to customers.

With the new HAN equipment, customers will receive real-time data and notification of DR events. This information will empower them to manage energy use, as well as remotely control any connected device or appliance. Though it is not the first smart grid trial of its kind, this project is unique because it is testing applications in both small urban and rural settings.