Xcel Energy announces vision to make Boulder a smart grid city

Denver, CO, Mar. 13, 2008 — Xcel Energy announced it will put in motion its vision to make Boulder, Colo., the nation’s first fully integrated smart grid city.

The smart grid system is designed to provide customers with a portfolio of smart grid technologies designed to provide environmental, financial and operational benefits. Xcel Energy said they will funding only a portion of the project and rely on other sources, including government grants, for the remainder of what could be up to a $100 million effort.

In December 2007, Xcel Energy established the Smart Grid Consortium, bringing together technologists, engineering firms, business leaders and IT experts. Consortium members include Accenture, Current Group, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Ventyx. The group will provide guidance, products and services throughout the project.

In addition to its geographic concentration, ideal size and access to all grid components, Boulder was selected as the Smart Grid City because it is home to the University of Colorado and several federal institutions, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which already is involved in smart grid efforts for the federal government.

Boulder could feature a number of infrastructure upgrades and customer offerings including:

* Transformation of existing metering infrastructure to an electric system communications network;
* Conversion of substations to smart substations capable of remote monitoring;
* At the customer’s invitation, installation of programmable in-home control devices and the necessary systems to fully automate home energy use; and
* Integration of infrastructure to support distributed generation technologies (such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with vehicle-to-grid technology; battery systems; wind turbines; and solar panels).

With the city now selected, Xcel Energy and its Smart Grid Consortium will spend the next four weeks to six weeks studying the city’s electricity infrastructure to develop a scope and preliminary design plan for implementing the changes. Work would start soon after, but system changes will take place over the next few years.

The first phase of Smart Grid City is expected to be in place by as early as August 2008, with implementation throughout the city continuing through 2009. Beginning in 2009, the consortium also expects to begin an initial assessment of the technologies.

After initial implementation and assessment, Xcel Energy will use the results from this effort to talk with state, federal and regulatory officials about a larger deployment throughout the company’s eight-state service territory.

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