The Department of Energy announced Wednesday that the Snohomish County PUD will be awarded $30 million to improve system reliability, mitigate wildfire risks, and enable demand management as part of a historic $10.5 billion investment via the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program, according to a news release.
The PUD’s SnoSMART project is a $60 million infrastructure and software project that will deploy hundreds of wireless-connected smart grid devices to the PUD’s distribution grid and upgrade the software tools to operate them. The SnoSMART project will revolutionize system visibility and control for PUD grid operators, further prepare the grid for transportation and building electrification, and enhance the utility’s ability to add distributed energy resources through advanced system planning.
“Grid reliability has become more important than ever as our communities become increasingly reliant on electricity for heating, cooling, transportation, and connectivity to employment and education,” said John Haarlow, PUD CEO/General Manager. “The GRIP program funding is an incredible opportunity for the PUD to make important investments in our communities, especially our communities that are more vulnerable to extended outages.”
Upon completion, SnoSMART will reduce energy burden for all PUD customers and help prevent wildfire smoke exposure throughout the region. The project will leverage existing partnerships with tribes, regulatory agencies, local governments, and labor to enhance community and grid resiliency and support safe, healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities.
This project will accomplish these objectives by:
• Replacing fire-causing expulsion fuses in highest risk areas
• Installing hundreds of wireless smart grid devices to improve grid reliability
• Upgrading aging software and technology systems to enable a more efficient grid
“This funding will accelerate the implementation of these advancements by 15 years, allowing the PUD to make a truly generational leap forward,” Haarlow said.