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Boulder Named 'Smart Grid City'


Denver Business Journal
March 12, 2008


Boulder will get up to $100 million worth of new technology to become the
nation's first "Smart Grid City," courtesy of Xcel Energy Inc. and its
partners, which are working on new technology to deliver and conserve
electricity, the utility said Wednesday.

Xcel (NYSE: XEL) is based in Minneapolis. It is Colorado's largest
utility, serving about 1.3 million people with electricity and natural gas.

The company said in January it was looking for a city of 100,000 in its
eight-state territory as a test bed for new technologies -- and Wednesday
announced that the city will be Boulder.

Xcel said Boulder was chosen because of its geographic concentration,
ideal size and access to all grid components. The city was also ideal
because it's 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, Xcel said.

The advanced, smart grid system -- when fully implemented over the next
few years -- will provide customers with many technologies designed to
provide environmental, financial and operational benefits.

Xcel said it anticipates paying only a portion of the project's full cost.
Other sources could include government grants to help pay for equipment
and software that could total up to $100 million.

Partners in Xcel's "Smart Grid Consortium" include consulting company
Accenture Ltd. (NYSE: ACN), based in Bermuda; privately held Current Group
LLC, a monitoring and controls technology company based in Germantown,
Md.; Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc., based in Pullman, Wash.;
and software firm Ventyx Inc., based in Atlanta.

"Smart Grid City is the first step toward building the grid of the
future," said Dick Kelly, Xcel's chairman, president and CEO.
"In Boulder, we'll collaborate with others to integrate all aspects of our
smart grid vision and evaluate the benefits. The work we're doing will
benefit not only Boulder, but also customers throughout our eight-state
service territory," he said.

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter hailed Xcel's selection of Boulder.
"We know energy conservation and energy efficiency must be key components
of our energy future," Ritter said. "We also know the least expensive
energy is energy that's never used -- the 'nega-watt.' New smart-grid
technology will allow us to better manage, reduce, monitor and understand
our energy use. It also will integrate, for the first time, solar rooftops
as a recognized part of our energy infrastructure.

"Future generations will produce and consume energy in profoundly
different ways than we do today. With Boulder as America's first Smart
Grid City, Xcel Energy is showcasing precisely why Colorado is fast
becoming an international leader in the New Energy Economy, in modern
energy - and now in smart energy."

Smart grid technologies are intended to allow customers to determine when,
where and how they use their energy.

Potential benefits include lower bills; smarter energy management; better
grid reliability; greater energy efficiency and conservation options;
increased use of renewable energy sources; and support for plug-in hybrid
electric vehicles and intelligent home appliances.

Being Xcel's "Smart Grid City" gets Boulder a number of integrated
infrastructure upgrades and customer offerings, such as:

Installing new metering systems that will not only measure electricity
use but be capable of real-time, high-speed, two-way communication of
that information with the rest of the power grid

Converting existing substations, which transfer power from big
transmission lines to smaller distribution networks, to "smart" stations
capable of remote monitoring, near real-time information collection and
distribution, and better performance

Giving customers who want them programmable in-home control devises and
systems to fully automate home energy use

Upgrading the grid connections to support off-site power generators and
storage units such as solar panels on homes, battery systems, wind
turbines, and hybrid electric vehicles that can pull power from the grid
and delivery it back to the grid on command.

Xcel said the Smart Grid Consortium will spend the next four to six weeks
studying the city's electricity infrastructure to plan for the changes,
which will take place over the next few years.

Xcel said the first phase is expected to be in place by August, with
implementation continuing through 2009. The group will assess the results
of the technologies and use them to talk to state, federal and regulatory
officials about using them throughout Xcel's eight-state territory.

More information is available at Xcel's website,
www.xcelenergy.com/smartgrid, which has graphics and educational materials
explaining its Smart Grid vision.

 

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