September 16, 2009 By News Report
Boulder Colorado's $100 million SmartGridCity project, which launched in May of 2008 and was the subject of an ABC news story last year, is completed, according to Xcel Energy, the company responsible for developing the system. With the smart grid system, meters and sensors send information via broadband over powerline to an operations center. Functions for customers include the ability to monitor energy usage, select when to use high-energy devices such as clothes dryers, and keep track of how much carbon the household is putting into the environment. Customers will soon be able to access a Web portal to monitor and control home energy management devices. SmartGridCity functions also include switching power through fully-automated substations; re-routing power around bottlenecked lines; detecting power outages and proactively identifying outage risks. The deployment integrated more than 20 applications, 95 new interfaces and more than 300 test cases according to a company release. Xcel Energy says it can now read customer meters remotely and have reduced power outages and false alarms. According to the company, the new smart grid warned about transformers that were ready to fail and they were replaced without loss of service.
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.