Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 18, 2008 – The vision of a Smart Grid City will soon be realized, under the direction of the Smart Grid Consortium announced by U.S. utility Xcel Energy. The advanced, smart grid system is expected to allow Xcel Energy to work in tandem with customers to determine when, where and how they use their energy. Potential benefits include lower bills; smarter energy management; better grid reliability; greater energy efficiency and conservation options; increased use of renewable energy sources; and support for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and intelligent home appliances.
"We are on the verge of significant transformation in an industry that has seen relatively little change during its long history,” said Dick Kelly, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. "I’m excited to work with our partners to reshape and define the future of our marketplace. Using the smart grid, we can provide innovative solutions to the environmental challenges facing all of us today.”
In December 2007, Xcel Energy established the Consortium, bringing together leading technologists, engineering firms, business leaders and IT experts. Consortium members include Accenture, Current Group, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Ventyx. The influential group will provide guidance as well as the products and services needed to bring Xcel Energy’s smart grid vision to life.
Among the Consortium’s initial tasks will be selection of a mid-size community with a population of approximately 100,000 residents. The city will represent the consumer end of the smart grid, with a fully inter-connected system managing the various parts of the grid involved in producing power and delivering it to customers. The chosen city will become a test bed for emerging technologies and deployment strategies. The goal is to create an international showcase of smart grid possibilities and evaluate their environmental, financial and operational benefits.
"The analog grid has served its purpose for the last half century, but the future requires an integrated, digital smart grid,” said Ray Gogel, CAO and vice president of customer and enterprise solutions of Xcel Energy. “This next-generation grid will allow customers to better manage their energy consumption while optimizing the grid through real-time generation management and distribution controls. Smart Grid City will be the nation’s first community with a fully integrated portfolio of smart grid technologies designed to offer environmental, financial and operational benefits.”
A number of technologies will be offered within Smart Grid City, including:
- Transformation of existing metering infrastructure to a robust, dynamic communications network, providing real time, high-speed, two-way communication throughout the distribution grid.
- Conversion of substations to ‘smart’ substations capable of remote monitoring, near real-time data and optimized performance.
- Installation of thousands of in-home control devices and the necessary systems to fully automate home energy use.
- Integration of infrastructure to support up to 1,000 easily dispatched distributed generation technologies (including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with vehicle-to-grid technology; battery systems; wind turbines; and solar panels).
Xcel Energy has narrowed the site location for Smart Grid City to several cities in its eight-state service territory. The Consortium will announce the selected city in March 2008 and begin the building phase in April 2008.