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XCel Energy Says Boulder SmartGridCity Is Live

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powergridgeneric4If you thought the smart grid was a distant future, in some cities it’s already here. Xcel Energy (s XEL), which sells electricity and gas in eight western and mid-western states, says its SmartGridCity Project in Boulder, Colo. is now live. At least the smart distribution piece is up and running. That includes the network infrastructure and software for routing power to automated substations and around impacted power lines, and Xcel says the deployed technology is already enabling the company to anticipate network failures and fix broken gear before a major outage occurs.


The milestone is important because it shows how quickly utilities are now moving to get smart grid projects deployed. The utility started construction on the project last year, and SmartGridCity is now one of the projects that is the farthest along in the U.S. and one of the first that can claim to have a distribution piece up and running. The technology was built by Accenture (s ACN), Current Group, GridPoint, OSIsoft, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, SmartSynch and Ventyx.

However, the consumer energy management portion, where home owners will use energy dashboards, software and websites to control their energy consumption, will have to wait a bit. In the fourth quarter of this year Xcel plans to rollout an in-home energy management web portal courtesy of GridPoint.

That’s got to be GridPoint’s new energy management software courtesy of its Lixar SRS acquisition. Supposedly the software is pretty slick, though, I’ve never seen a demo of it, outside of this image I grabbed (above) during a recent congressional testimony.

Current Group largely provides the sensors that monitor different conditions on the electrical network, like voltage and current, as well as the software that processes the sensor information for Xcel. Current is also providing communication gear and sensors for smart meters and in-home gateways for the SmartGridCity rollout.

SmartGridCity is also one of the first projects I’ve heard about that will be using DSL networks for smart meter connections, and will be working with local telecom Qwest. Because DSL networks have already been built out the option is more affordable and faster for a utility than building out its own communications network.

7 Responses to “XCel Energy Says Boulder SmartGridCity Is Live”

  1. My household is enrolled in the pilot, and we were notified in May that we would be offered free home energy-management solutions in the summer. Prior to yesterday’s announcement that the consumer interface won’t be coming until the 4th quarter, we hadn’t heard anything more. When things get rolling I’ll be blogging about our experiences in the program on

  2. Kelly Brair

    Duke Awards Smart Grid Contract to Ambient

    Boston, MA – September 9,
    2009 – Ambient Corporation (OTCBB: ABTG) today announced a long-term agreement with Duke Energy to provide communication technologies for the utility’s next phase of its smart grid deployment.

    “Duke is pleased to expand
    our relationship with Ambient through the execution of this agreement. Ambient’s two-way communication node advances our vision of building a smart grid intelligent network that supports the integration of numerous devices on the grid,” said Todd Arnold, Duke Energy’s SVP of Smart Grid and Customer Systems.

    The contract calls for
    Ambient to provide its X-series communications node as the central communications technology to transmit data from residential and commercial smart meters, and other applications back to the utility’s network operations center. This communications node allows for the efficient collection, analysis and management of energy demand through collected usage data to promote more reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly operations.

    “This contract continues a
    strong collaboration with Duke Energy from early smart grid development projects begun in 2005,” said John J. Joyce, President and CEO of Ambient Corporation. “We are pleased to work with Duke Energy to provide a key component of its communications platform, helping to achieve its vision for a smart grid network.”