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.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.