The nefarious to some smart grid was front and center this week on the federal government’s agenda via an announcement that, to date, more than 5 million smart meters and 140,000 programmable communication thermostats have been installed across the country. This reportedly is going a long way towards helping to modernize the nation’s electrical grid.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that a modern grid developed through the use of smart technologies like smart meters is helping to meet “the President’s goals of generating 80 percent of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035 and putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.” Whether you believe this or not is up to you, but suffice to say we’ve definitely seen examples of programs where smart grid installations are, in fact, helping people, and consequently utility companies, save energy and money.
Chu, in his remarks, also noted that a modernized grid supported by smart grid technologies will enable an “electricity system that can automatically synchronize intermittent renewable energy sources with fossil energy generation and energy storage.” This only works though in places where the grid has been upgraded, which looks at this point to be at least Florida, Texas, California, Idaho, Arizona, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Nevada.
Besides the federal government’s joy about smart grid success, others chimed in regarding the march forward of these technologies. The Sierra Club, for example, said that smart grid implementations, along with supporting those behind them, will ultimately “end up saving money and reducing emissions.” Also of note from the fan box was a comment from the Climate Group, who stated that “we know that this important first step has the potential not only to save consumers billions of dollars on their electricity bills, but also to drive major emissions reductions through greater efficiency.”
A tag along to this story that will be of interest to tech lovers is a plan by the U.S. Department of Energy to create a public map that will “allow consumers to contribute information about the data on their electricity use that their utility company provides them.” This map, somewhat similar to a GE green tech map we recently covered, will be online in the fall, voluntary to use and reportedly help people “understand their energy use and their opportunities to save money through energy efficiency improvements.”
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