US utility Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana-South filed its grid modernisation plan with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).If the smart grid plan is approved, the utility will use the framework in modernising its electricity distribution infrastructure over the next seven years.
In a press statement, Vectren said the implementation of the smart grid plan will optimise the company’s operations, revenue collection and customer services to some 144,000 residential and business consumers in south-western Indiana.
In total, the plan will cost $500 million to implement over the next seven years.
Commenting on the development, Carl Chapman, CEO of Vectren, said: “Over the next several years, this modernisation work will ensure our energy grid is resilient and more capable of meeting the energy demands of our customers for years to come, especially as advancements in energy technology require a smarter grid.
“We developed a long-term asset management plan – from utility pole replacement to rebuilding older, aging circuits to installing digital meters – to ensure our 7,800 mile, 130 substation energy grid continues to reliably deliver power to our customers for years to come.”
The utility hopes to use the plan to eliminate estimated billing, reduce the occurrence and duration of power outages and improve consumers' energy efficiency.
According to a study conducted by the Indiana University, the rollout of Vectren’s smart grid plan will support 7,000 jobs, generate $20 million state tax revenue and contribute up to $650 million into the economy over the course of its implementation.
In addition to replacing existing grid infrastructure with new smart grid devices and technologies, Vectren plans to expand its renewable energy portfolio to ensure grid stability, whilst at the same time reducing carbon emissions and generation costs.
The energy company said it plans to develop two 2MW solar projects and energy storage systems by early 2018. [US utility expands gas meter upgrade].
The approval of the smart grid plan will also allow Vectren to increase its energy tariffs as from 2018 to recover the company’s investments to be spent in deploying the grid maintenance and upgrade projects.
Image credit: www.pdx.edu.com.