Monday, September 14, 2009

World's first smart grid city is now operational

Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity project in Boulder CO is the first operational installation of a smart grid for electrical power in the world. This is a city-wide installation, rather than the kind of long-distance distribution system that many people think of when discussing a national smart grid, but both will be necessary components for an upgraded electrical infrastructure.


The SmartGridCity project also included automating three of four distribution substations, four computer-monitored power feeders, and another 23 feeders that are watched for voltage irregularities. Approximately 200 miles of fiber optic cable, 4,600 residential and small business transformers and nearly 16,000 smart meters are now connected to the smart grid system.

The smart grid allows the utility to better monitor and regulate the electrical grid. Using real-time monitoring and data feedback, the utility can more rapidly adjust for equipment failures, power outages, and other electrical problems. Individual consumers whose service is connected through a smart meter will also be able to access their own information and can "design and personalize energy consumption strategies" for themselves.

Already this year, since some of the components were installed, four potential transformer failures have been detected, and outages have been able to be prevented by proactively replacing those units before they failed

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