October 13, 2009 By News Report
"Transforming our nation's grid has been compared in significance with building the interstate highway system
or the development of the Internet. These efforts, rightly regarded as revolutionary, were preceded by countless
evolutionary steps."-- U.S. Department of Energy The Smart Grid: An Introduction
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin visited the Research Ridge Test Facility -- a "smart grid" initiative in Morgantown -- that demonstrates technologies to support electricity reliability and energy efficiency. Developed by electricity provider Allegheny Energy and technology company Augusta Systems, the facility demonstrates how a smart grid can link all of the various technologies -- from the customer's air conditioner to the utility's substation -- into a single, more efficient network. "Smart grid is a hot topic at the national level as utilities attempt to modernize their electricity delivery systems," said Manchin in a release. "The Research Ridge Test Facility is a great example of how smart grid innovation is occurring in West Virginia. This project demonstrates how smart grid can benefit customers in our state and throughout the nation with improved electricity delivery and cost-effective management of energy usage."
Microsoft Corp. announced it has developed a reference architecture that can serve as the basis for development of the "integrated utility of the future." The Microsoft Smart Energy Reference Architecture (SERA) is Microsoft's first comprehensive reference architecture that addresses technology integration throughout the full scope of the smart energy ecosystem, according to a company release. SERA helps utilities by providing a method of testing the alignment of information technology with their business processes to create an integrated utility. This is the second utility offering to be released from Microsoft in four months, following the announcement of Microsoft Hohm, an online application developed to enhance the experience of utilities' customers and provide further insight into the supply and demand of residential energy use.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.