Government Technology

California Utility Deploys Smart Grid with Stimulus Funds



April 20, 2010 By

Money is starting to move in the market targeting municipal power utilities aiming to read citizen power usage remotely through automated meters. In October 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) subsidized 100 utilities with $3.4 billion set aside in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for smart grid initiatives. Smart grids use the aforementioned meters, along with other technologies, to cut the costs of delivering energy and alleviating demand.

Glendale Water and Power (GWP) of California recently hired Tropos Networks to build a high-speed broadband mesh network for connecting GWP to the meters. The municipally owned utility won $20 million in smart grid stimulus money last October. Adding that to funds already secured for the project equaled $51 million. Roughly 12 percent of the power GWP produces goes untracked, meaning people could be using that power without paying for it. Through automated meters, the utility expects to cut the rate of unpaid usage by around 4 percent, according to Craig Kuennen, spokesman for GWP. Catching that usage and charging for it could lead to additional revenue, he explained.

The meters will also enable citizens to measure their own power usage on a daily basis. The information could empower them to reduce their power bills by showing when to conserve energy.

"The meters are just the first step. We'll have Web portals to access information. The stuff on the Web will be from the day before, but we'll also have in-home displays that will be more real-time," Kuennen said. The utility plans to deploy the meters fully by September 2010, according to Kuennen. Down the road, GWP hopes to use the meters to detect power outages automatically before citizens report them.

As part of GWP's smart grid initiative, the organization plans on deploying meters for detecting water pipe leakages.

"Leaks have a very distinct sound, and they'll be able to listen to the sound in the pipe over time, and, depending on what the sound is, they can tell if there is a leak and how bad it is," Kuennen explained. "You could send a crew out to investigate before it becomes unmanageable."

The updated IT infrastructure will also play a role in an experiment designed to reduce the strain of peak-hour air conditioning on the grid. GWP plans to deploy roughly 200 machines at local government buildings that will make ice during the middle of the night for cooling later. The devices would use the ice to cool the buildings during peak hours, which requires less power than traditional air conditioning, according to Kuennen. GWP will monitor and operate the units remotely, using the smart grid.

The initiative will be implemented in phases starting with a demonstration of the smart meter project components in spring 2010, according to a GWP announcement. The first phase includes installation of a meter data management (MDM) system powered by Itron Enterprise Edition MDM. The project will include 1,000 smart power meters, 500 smart water meters and 300 in-home displays.

 


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Comments

Anonymous    |    Commented April 20, 2010

Our records show you did not vote for Dear Leader. They also show you did not watch his speech last night, as you used no power. Therefore, a mandatory 72 hour blackout is imposed on your residence. Not today, but soon.

Anonymous    |    Commented April 20, 2010

Our records show you did not vote for Dear Leader. They also show you did not watch his speech last night, as you used no power. Therefore, a mandatory 72 hour blackout is imposed on your residence. Not today, but soon.

Anonymous    |    Commented April 20, 2010

Our records show you did not vote for Dear Leader. They also show you did not watch his speech last night, as you used no power. Therefore, a mandatory 72 hour blackout is imposed on your residence. Not today, but soon.

Anonymous    |    Commented April 21, 2010

Huh? Stimulus money was to create jobs, but at the end of installing Smart Meters/Grid, California utilities are laying off all of their meter readers??? =More wasted tax dollars....

Anonymous    |    Commented April 21, 2010

Huh? Stimulus money was to create jobs, but at the end of installing Smart Meters/Grid, California utilities are laying off all of their meter readers??? =More wasted tax dollars....

Anonymous    |    Commented April 21, 2010

Huh? Stimulus money was to create jobs, but at the end of installing Smart Meters/Grid, California utilities are laying off all of their meter readers??? =More wasted tax dollars....

Joao Batista Gomes    |    Commented April 21, 2010

Smart grid is described as a more efficient, less costly than moving electricity over transmission lines for long distance power lines and local end-users in homes and businesses. Investments will take place in entire power system at home, in buildings, campuses, neighborhoods in cities and across continents. Already we see some of these improvements. But while there is the injection or the hope of public Money, the Utilities will not put their own Money in the development of Smart Grid. They do not do it for meanness, but by survival instinct, not worth pushing pushed they will not. Below are some reasons for this. SMART METERS The old meters have survived until today because of their longevity and reliability - some more than 50 years of useful life. New Smart Meters being installed now have a useful life of around 10 years, its fragility - components and packaging - and in some situations, the hostile environment where they will be installed, will determine its useful life. The Utilities will wait awhile to see the performance and new developments of the manufacturers of Smart Meters. SYSTEM OF COMMUNICATION AND INTEGRATION Here the variety of options is so many, vendors and developers, will have to reach an agreement without waiting for the Regulatory Agencies take the initiative. The good side of this situation, is that the set of players are more accustomed to this kind of problem, because diversity is one of the main characteristics of their businesses. RENEWABLE ENERGY How will the integration of renewable energy - wind and solar - in the system. Will be made in transmission lines separate or integrated the existing lines, we should be aware that renewable sources are intermittent, so its monitoring will involve sophisticated solutions management and distribution. What happens if the wind stops blowing during the hottest days of summer, our current system electricity grid is poorly suited to manage variability of new sources of electricity. Solving the transition to new energy sources is only half the battle. After generating the power, you need to distribute it to where it is needed at the right time, in the right quantities. CONSUMERS Some consumers have great difficulty in understanding Special Rates, Demand Response and Peak Time. But consumers will be able to access these data so they can make adjustments in their consumption of energy. The cost of these meters is very high and is passed on to consumers. The hope is that once consumers have access to information on their consumption of electricity, they will take steps to reduce electricity consumption to offset the cost. This raises the question of whether there is a compromise between cost benefit out of the most investments to achieve the goal of an intelligent net work.

Joao Batista Gomes    |    Commented April 21, 2010

Smart grid is described as a more efficient, less costly than moving electricity over transmission lines for long distance power lines and local end-users in homes and businesses. Investments will take place in entire power system at home, in buildings, campuses, neighborhoods in cities and across continents. Already we see some of these improvements. But while there is the injection or the hope of public Money, the Utilities will not put their own Money in the development of Smart Grid. They do not do it for meanness, but by survival instinct, not worth pushing pushed they will not. Below are some reasons for this. SMART METERS The old meters have survived until today because of their longevity and reliability - some more than 50 years of useful life. New Smart Meters being installed now have a useful life of around 10 years, its fragility - components and packaging - and in some situations, the hostile environment where they will be installed, will determine its useful life. The Utilities will wait awhile to see the performance and new developments of the manufacturers of Smart Meters. SYSTEM OF COMMUNICATION AND INTEGRATION Here the variety of options is so many, vendors and developers, will have to reach an agreement without waiting for the Regulatory Agencies take the initiative. The good side of this situation, is that the set of players are more accustomed to this kind of problem, because diversity is one of the main characteristics of their businesses. RENEWABLE ENERGY How will the integration of renewable energy - wind and solar - in the system. Will be made in transmission lines separate or integrated the existing lines, we should be aware that renewable sources are intermittent, so its monitoring will involve sophisticated solutions management and distribution. What happens if the wind stops blowing during the hottest days of summer, our current system electricity grid is poorly suited to manage variability of new sources of electricity. Solving the transition to new energy sources is only half the battle. After generating the power, you need to distribute it to where it is needed at the right time, in the right quantities. CONSUMERS Some consumers have great difficulty in understanding Special Rates, Demand Response and Peak Time. But consumers will be able to access these data so they can make adjustments in their consumption of energy. The cost of these meters is very high and is passed on to consumers. The hope is that once consumers have access to information on their consumption of electricity, they will take steps to reduce electricity consumption to offset the cost. This raises the question of whether there is a compromise between cost benefit out of the most investments to achieve the goal of an intelligent net work.

Joao Batista Gomes    |    Commented April 21, 2010

Smart grid is described as a more efficient, less costly than moving electricity over transmission lines for long distance power lines and local end-users in homes and businesses. Investments will take place in entire power system at home, in buildings, campuses, neighborhoods in cities and across continents. Already we see some of these improvements. But while there is the injection or the hope of public Money, the Utilities will not put their own Money in the development of Smart Grid. They do not do it for meanness, but by survival instinct, not worth pushing pushed they will not. Below are some reasons for this. SMART METERS The old meters have survived until today because of their longevity and reliability - some more than 50 years of useful life. New Smart Meters being installed now have a useful life of around 10 years, its fragility - components and packaging - and in some situations, the hostile environment where they will be installed, will determine its useful life. The Utilities will wait awhile to see the performance and new developments of the manufacturers of Smart Meters. SYSTEM OF COMMUNICATION AND INTEGRATION Here the variety of options is so many, vendors and developers, will have to reach an agreement without waiting for the Regulatory Agencies take the initiative. The good side of this situation, is that the set of players are more accustomed to this kind of problem, because diversity is one of the main characteristics of their businesses. RENEWABLE ENERGY How will the integration of renewable energy - wind and solar - in the system. Will be made in transmission lines separate or integrated the existing lines, we should be aware that renewable sources are intermittent, so its monitoring will involve sophisticated solutions management and distribution. What happens if the wind stops blowing during the hottest days of summer, our current system electricity grid is poorly suited to manage variability of new sources of electricity. Solving the transition to new energy sources is only half the battle. After generating the power, you need to distribute it to where it is needed at the right time, in the right quantities. CONSUMERS Some consumers have great difficulty in understanding Special Rates, Demand Response and Peak Time. But consumers will be able to access these data so they can make adjustments in their consumption of energy. The cost of these meters is very high and is passed on to consumers. The hope is that once consumers have access to information on their consumption of electricity, they will take steps to reduce electricity consumption to offset the cost. This raises the question of whether there is a compromise between cost benefit out of the most investments to achieve the goal of an intelligent net work.

Anonymous    |    Commented June 24, 2010

Many of America's Electric Cooperatives have used Automated Meter Reading,(AMR and "Smart Meters" ( automatically signal a power outage and other uses) for many years. This article makes it sound like this is a new and untried technology.

Anonymous    |    Commented June 24, 2010

Many of America's Electric Cooperatives have used Automated Meter Reading,(AMR and "Smart Meters" ( automatically signal a power outage and other uses) for many years. This article makes it sound like this is a new and untried technology.

Anonymous    |    Commented June 24, 2010

Many of America's Electric Cooperatives have used Automated Meter Reading,(AMR and "Smart Meters" ( automatically signal a power outage and other uses) for many years. This article makes it sound like this is a new and untried technology.


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