Chu explained, “To compete in the global economy, we need a modern electricity grid. An upgraded electricity grid will give consumers choices and promote energy savings, increase energy efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy resources.”
In order to upgrade the current electric grid into a smart system requires integrating a wide range of advanced technologies, including smart meters, that work together to improve the reliability and security of the grid, allow for the integration of renewable energy sources, and help prevent blackouts and restore power more quickly when outages occur.
There are several projects currently underway that are further advancing the smart grid. For example, the Florida Power & Light Company is deploying an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), distribution automation technologies, electricity pricing programs, and advanced monitoring equipment for the transmission system. Similarly, CenterPoint Energy out of Houston is deploying a fully integrated advanced metering system and Web portal access to over two million customers.
In addition to reaching today’s milestone, the Department of Energy also announced a plan to create a data map that will enable consumers to contribute information about their consumption provided to them by their utility. The Doe believes access to information is critical in helping consumers understand their energy use and their opportunities to save money through energy efficiency improvements. This summer, the DOE will work with utilities, consumer groups, state and local officials, other stakeholders, and the public to design the website that will launch in the fall.
The Department is also hosting a series of regional peer-to-peer stakeholder meetings to facilitate a dialogue among early adopters of smart grid technologies. For more information about the Department’s smart grid activities visit the Smart Grid Website.