General Electric, in conjunction with several prominent venture capital firms, is holding a contest for smart grid innovation worth a total of $200 million. GE and each of the participating venture capitalists, which includes Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, KPCB, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Rockport Capital Partners.
Trilliant Incorporated will provide Central Maine Power (CMP) with a Smart Grid communications network and advanced meter infrastructure solution, installing smart meters for all of CMP’s 620,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customer accounts. Half of the project will be funded by 1 $96 million grant from the Department of Energy.
The brutal heat wave punishing the American northeast has underscored the need for smart grid technologies. Bob Gilligan, vice president of General Electric’s Digital Energy business says it is imperative to invest overhauling the power infrastructure. “As record-breaking temperatures in the northeastern United States have consumers turning up their air conditioners, our overburdened electric grid is taking center stage,” he says. “The heat wave is causing spikes in power demand, increasing the probability of service disruptions. This provides an example of the demand levels the grid can expect to see in the future as penetration of electric heating and cooling continue to expand, and as new demands like plug-in electric vehicles enter the market.”
Technology conglomerates are increasingly looking to develop business partnerships with utilities, believing the emerging smart grid is one of the next major growth markets. The United States has invested nearly $4 billion in federal stimulus money in support of smart grid deployment. The vision for a smart grid is an efficient power supply network that aids development of renewable energy, the introduction of “smart” appliances that support for electric cars.
Concern over potential attacks on the nation’s electrical grid has prompted Unites States legislators to approve The Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act, better known as The GRID Act. If signed into law, the legislation would give the President sweeping new emergency powers over the U.S electrical grid. In addition, the bill would mandate widespread improvements in the electrical distribution system nationwide.
GE Energy Storage Technologies has unveiled its new Durathon battery technology for utility companies. Thanks to its proprietary chemistry, the Durathon battery has the ability to last up to two decades while providing optimal charge and discharge times. As part of a simple energy storage system, GE’s Durathon battery provides an alternative to costly new power structures, which enables energy to be utilized when it’s needed.
GE’s Digital Energy has opened a new Smart Grid Technology Center of Excellence (COE) in Atlanta, Georgia, the company announced today. The center is expected to provide about 400 new jobs over three years and will combine the world headquarters for GE’s Digital Energy business, a smart grid engineering laboratory, and a world-destination smart grid customer solutions showcase.
GE has announced plans to implement smart grid technology at Hawaii’s Wailea resort. GE hopes the test will reduce peak electricity consumption 15 percent by 2012. Of the approximately 70 smart grid projects currently underway in the United States, the Hawaii project is the only one that has targeted a resort community.