Denver, CO, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — May 16, 2008 – Xcel Energy has announced that the design phase is complete, equipment is ordered and construction has started on its SmartGridCity project.
In April, Xcel Energy and its Smart Grid Consortium partners completed their study of Boulder, CO’s electricity infrastructure, and developed a scope and design plan for implementing the changes. The company then placed equipment orders, including an order for 15,000 smart meters. In May, the company began implementation of the smart grid network and construction on the SmartGridCity Control and Operations Center.
SmartGridCity is a multi-phase project, which is expected to be complete in December 2009. The advanced, smart grid system – when fully implemented – will provide customers with a portfolio of smart grid technologies designed to provide environmental, financial and operational benefits.
“We’re on our way toward building the grid of the future and making SmartGridCity a reality,” said Dick Kelly, Xcel Energy chairman, president and CEO. “This is a forward-thinking project that will transform the way we do business. In SmartGridCity, our customers will have more information, including the tools to communicate directly with us, and will choose when and how they use their energy based on price, generating resource or convenience.”
Phase I, which runs from March 2008 to August 2008, is the demonstration phase, and initial installations will take place to test capabilities and gauge customer reaction. Phase II, which runs from September 2008 to December 2009, will be a full deployment phase to a broader customer base. Xcel Energy and its partners will dedicate up to 115 people to SmartGridCity, to install and monitor more distribution as well as in-home equipment, and work with customers to begin using the new technology.
Xcel Energy and its partners have started installing the high-speed communications network and smart grid sensing equipment necessary for deploying SmartGridCity, which will enable two-way communication between customers and the company.
The company has ordered approximately 15,000 Landis+Gyr smart meters, which will be installed by August 2008. In June, crews will begin installing them, at approximately 2,500 meters each week. The new smart meters provide detailed usage history and automated meter reading. The meter installation will be at no charge to the customer.
The potential benefits of SmartGridCity include operational savings, customer-choice 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.
Xcel Energy anticipates funding only a portion of the project, and plans to leverage other sources including government grants for the remainder of what could be up to a $100 million effort.