National Grid proposes central New York smart grid pilot program

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Syracuse, N.Y., January 20, 2010 — National Grid has proposed a comprehensive smart grid demonstration program in the Syracuse area that will serve as a test site for the energy grid of the future and provide hundreds of “clean energy” jobs in upstate New York.

The company’s plan calls for a test site of 39,400 homes and businesses in the Syracuse area that will use new equipment to give customers information about their energy use and tools to reduce their carbon footprint and manage their energy costs.

A smart grid is a network for electricity transmission and distribution systems that uses two-way, state-of-the-art communications, advanced sensors, and specialized computers to improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of electricity delivery and use.

For more news and information about smart grids, visit our smart grid topic center

Smart grids also provide environmental benefits by helping to reduce energy use during peak hours and accommodate distributed generation facilities (such as solar energy) to the grid. The company submitted its plan to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) last week.

The proposal, which is subject to PSC approval, aligns with the recently adopted New York State Energy Plan that calls for reducing state electricity use to 15 percent below forecast levels by 2015 and is responsive to Gov. David Paterson’s call for the development of a clean energy economy is his recent state-of-the-state address.

The project, if approved, will have significant near and long term benefits to customers in the pilot area and to the overall economy of upstate New York.

According to the company, the proposed site was chosen because of the Syracuse area’s diverse populations of residential and commercial customers, offering the opportunity to test Smart Grid technology with a variety of customers.

In December, National Grid was selected as a sub-applicant in a recent Department of Energy (DOE) award for a three-year project that will demonstrate advanced energy storage in several locations, including Syracuse. This funding will be used in the Syracuse area to install two energy storage units at one of its substations, and the third at Syracuse University to demonstrate and study the importance of energy storage for managing increased use of renewable generation and the improved reliability of the distribution system. These testing sites are located in the foot print of the proposed program.

A key objective of the proposal is to provide the backbone for potential clean distributed generation and energy storage resources in order to determine how these resources can be safely and reliably incorporated. Syracuse has a number of existing and potential distributed generation project sites, including a large solar project at SUNY Environmental Sciences and Forestry Center

National Grid’s Smart Technology Center (STC) in Liverpool, NY will be a major part of the program. The STC is a comprehensive state-of-the-art outdoor laboratory and training facility that tests and evaluates smart grid technologies to ensure safe, secure and reliable equipment performance prior to deployment. In addition to testing smart grid equipment for the proposed Syracuse area site, the lab tests equipment for other sites within National Grid’s U.S. service territory.

Smart grid technology will provide customers improved energy use information, automation, and savings as well as an unprecedented amount of choice and control over how they use energy. Implementing smart grid technology also will enhance the reliability of the electric system. National Grid hopes to gain valuable information from the programs that it can use in the future to develop a smart grid on a wider scale.

Under the program, all customers will receive a smart meter, and some customers will have the option to have additional equipment installed in their homes that includes special programmable thermostats and other devices that provide data and support energy management.

If approved, the program will be implemented over a 2-3 year period.

Eventually, customers will be able to purchase smart appliances that will connect to the smart grid and start or stop when programmed to do so.

Participating customers will be asked how they prefer to receive their energy information — via text message or from the Internet — and arrangements will be made for them to view and monitor energy consumption on a real-time basis, providing information that allows customers to use less energy during peak periods when electricity use is at its highest.

Additionally, customers will have the option to receive a new rate plan that allows them to save money during periods when electricity use is at its highest across the region.

 

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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