Thomas Edison invented the world's first functional light bulb. Then he imagined something greater—an electric grid. To fully move into the digital age, society may need to imagine something greater as well.
That something is being termed the Smart Grid and is seen as a power system that combines traditional and cutting-edge technology to create a much-improved electric grid. That grid would, in turn, support the ever-increasing array of digital services desired by consumers, while effectively managing the requisite massive flow of energy.
SmartGridCity is the nation's first fully integrated smart grid community and will boast the largest and densest concentration of these emerging technologies to date. Boulder, Colorado has been selected as the site of SmartGridCity.
Boulder is the right-sized city for a project such as this, and offers an ideal mix of residential and commercial customers. It's home to academic and research institutions (including Colorado University, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the National Institute for Standards and Technology) already working with this emerging technology and studying long-term benefits.
Over the next several years, SmartGridCity will offer the potential for:
The current electricity grid hasn't changed much in the past 100 years, and it cannot keep up with growing demands. Today, customers' needs are growing faster than the current grid can handle. If we don't expand our capacity to keep up with a projected increase in demand of 40 percent over the next 25 years, we're going to see healthy grids become increasingly less reliable. This project also allows us to make our vision of a clean energy future a reality. The smart grid will take our energy system into the digital age and ensure that it continues to serve us well into the next century.
Xcel Energy along with other consortium members Accenture, Current Group, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Ventyx, GridPoint, OSI Soft as well as a other public and private collaborators are committed to bringing its ambitious smart grid vision to life for all the world to see.
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