Boulder: The U.S.'s First Smart Grid?

By Alex Steffen
March 19, 2008

One of the fun things about editing a project like Worldchanging in times like
these is the frequency with which our predictions and speculations get run down
and overtaken by commercial realities. We've written a lot about smart grids,
touting their potential benefits, from neighborhood survivability to enabling
pug-in hybrid-electrics to act as a system of batteries during peak use surges.

Now Xcel Energy has announced that it's going to turn Boulder, Colorado, into
the United States' first smart grid community:

Smart Grid City could feature a number of infrastructure upgrades and customer
offerings – for the first time fully integrated through the partnership’s
efforts in Boulder – including:

· Transformation of existing metering infrastructure to a robust, dynamic
electric system communications network, providing real-time, high-speed,
two-way communication throughout the distribution grid;

· Conversion of substations to “smart” substations capable of remote
monitoring, near real-time data and optimized performance;

· 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 easily dispatched distributed
generation technologies (such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with
vehicle-to-grid technology; battery systems; wind turbines; and solar panels).

There's a lot more on their site, including a somewhat camp (I hope)
instructional video.

There are some really smart folks who think that district infrastructure --
energy, water, sewers, even food production -- are integral to building
sustainable cities. It's fun to think that we just got closer that that becoming a reality.

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