Smart Grid Northwest Now Becomes Grid Forward to Promote and Accelerate Grid Innovation

Back to News & Articles

To advance modernization of the regional power grid, Smart Grid Northwest announces that it has progressed into a new nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization named Grid Forward. This industry association unites the stakeholders involved in the regional energy system to work together to promote and accelerate innovation across the electric grid.

“Smart Grid Northwest has accomplished its goals of strengthening relationships and surfacing shared objectives among utilities, service providers, governments, regulators and advocates across the Pacific Northwest,” said Smart Grid Northwest Executive Director Bryce Yonker. “As Grid Forward, the organization will expand its scope and align more stakeholder members to drive grid modernization across the region.”

Grid Forward is hosting a kickoff event and luncheon with several prominent speakers addressing the topic “Accelerating Grid Innovation” on June 21 at 11am in Portland. All interested parties are invited, and members receive a complimentary ticket. Grid Forward will also hold a membership breakfast and meeting on June 21 from 9am to 11am. For more information, go to the launch event webpage.

Grid Forward brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to educate and collaborate among one another to identify, replicate and scale successful approaches to modernizing the regional grid. The organization accelerates grid innovation by:

  • Encouraging investments into new technologies and models for advanced and optimal grid management techniques
  • Accelerating the move from demonstrations to larger scale deployment
  • Exploring regulatory and business model pathways to encourage best-in-class solutions for managing grid systems
  • Supporting cultural change to help energy providers and their partners navigate in evolving energy ecosystems

The electrical infrastructure is undergoing a dramatic transformation. On the one hand, distributed energy sources (wind, solar and storage), demand-side management, and monitoring and analytics are upending the economics of traditional grid management. On the other, regional governments and businesses are pushing for reliable, low-cost, carbon-free power, and taking a bigger role in how power is managed and delivered. The technology exists to make all this a reality – Grid Forward and its members are collaborating on the best paths to scalable, affordable solutions.

“We’re excited to be a member of Grid Forward as it focuses on issues that impact our utility, customer-owners and local communities,” said Debra Smith, CEO of Seattle City Light. “The work to accelerate grid innovation will be important as we pursue regional goals such as electrification and deep decarbonization, while continuing to deliver reliable, affordable power.”

The organization’s signature event, called GridFWD 2019, will be held in Seattle on October 7-9 and feature wide-ranging keynotes, interactive discussions, training sessions, grid modernization tours and networking events. Open to members and nonmembers, the initial speakers, topics and venue information are available to review at

“Grid Forward has a unique opportunity to bring the most important players in the ongoing grid modernization effort – technologists, policy-makers, operators and others – into a single environment with the express intent to drive safe, efficient and innovative solutions into full deployment,” said Matt Schnugg, Senior Director of Data & Analytics at GE Power Digital, and a Grid Forward board member. “We look forward to helping define and collaborate in its activities and diverse membership as the organization steps into the next chapter.”

For more information on Grid Forward’s mission and activities, go to or download this summary paper.

Related Posts