Duke Energy has applied for $214 million in federal infrastructure funds that will go toward establishing the Charlotte-based utility’s “smart grid”system. $14 million would go toward the company’s operations in South Carolina and North Carolina for smart grid transmission lines and demonstration projects. Duke Plans to convert its entire electricity-delivery infrastructure into an advanced, state of the art smart grid. Duke Energy spokesman Dan Scanzoni says the smart-grid is essentially an “energy internet” that will use two-way communication to improve energy efficiency.
“It will help in terms of detecting power outages. It will also help in terms of making the system more reliable and ultimately can help customers achieve energy efficiency and hold down their power bills.”
Duke submitted its application for the federal funds with the U.S. Department of Energy which will award $4.5 billion in smart grid grants nationwide as part of the Economic Stimulus Package. Duke is on the fast track of developing its smart grid system in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.
Scanzoni says when the smart grid is ultimately established, it will employ “smart meters” capable of two-way communication between customers and the utility. “Customers will have the ability to monitor and manage their electricity and perhaps install devices that help them to use less, but not impact their convenience or comfort in any way, but simply manage their electricity in ways to save them money and energy.”
Scanzoni says smart meters would also be employed to better monitor natural gas usage.
Scanzoni says a number of energy conscious individuals are beginning to employ alternative energies into their overall power usage plan, and the smart grid will be able to integrate renewable energy into the grid. “That could include solar panels on individual homes’ rooftops in terms of generating electricity. What the smart grid will be able to do is bring that into the overall electric distribution system for the benefit of all customers.”
Scanzoni says the “smart grid” is the future as far as energy distribution technology is concerned. “As we move further into the twenty-first century with the likely introduction of electric cars and more energy efficient appliances will will be able to work with our customers to help them save energy and communicate directly with their meters and that will enable many energy saving technologies to take place.”