The Smart Grid Consortium, established in December 2007 by Xcel Energy, will select a mid-size community of approximately 100,000 residents to become a Smart Grid City: a testbed for emerging smart grid technologies and deployment strategies.
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 (PHEVs) and intelligent home appliances.
The analog grid has served its purpose for the last half century, but the future requires an integrated, digital smart grid. 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.—Ray Gogel, CAO and vice president of customer and enterprise solutions of Xcel Energy
Current consortium members include Accenture, Current Group, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Ventyx.
The selected 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.
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.