Florida Power & Light (FPL) and Miami-Dade County have announced a $200-million Smart Grid Initiative that will install smart meters in one million homes and buildings in the county, with FPL planning to spend an additional $500 million on bringing smart meters to its entire customer base of 4.5 million homes, reported the Energy Examiner.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) plans to distribute more than $3.3 billion in smart-grid technology development grants and an additional $615 million for smart grid storage, monitoring and technology viability, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Miami mayor Manny Diaz proposes to use federal economic stimulus funds to help spur the $200-million investment in “Smart Grid” technology and renewable energy over the next two years.
Key partners in the smart grid project include GE, Cisco and Silver Spring Networks. GE will supply the smart meters, which may extend to advanced applications and smarter control systems. Silver Spring Networks will provide wireless network communications, and Cisco will help design and implement the communications platform within the county’s transmission and distribution grid and provide customers with home energy management information and controls.
The initiative, called “Energy Smart Miami,” has the potential to be the most extensive and holistic smart grid implementation in the country, according to the initiative. It is expected to help Miami-Dade County consumers save money by giving them more choices over how they consume and conserve electrical power. It would also generate near-term demand for green collar jobs to support its implementation.
The backbone of Energy Smart Miami will be the deployment of more than 1 million advanced wireless smart meters to every home and most businesses in Miami-Dade County. These meters will give Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) customers more information and control over their electricity usage while also providing FPL with information that will enhance system efficiency and reliability.
Executives at GE and Cisco recently commented on the smart grid initiative underway in Miami. Jeff Immelt, GE chairman & CEO, told CNBC that the project will accelerate renewable energy adoption, drive efficiency, and create jobs. Cisco chairman & CEO John Chambers said that the Miami project will allow the project’s participants to scale it, “then replicate it around the country.”
CNBC also reported that both Immelt and Chambers emphasized the job creation potential of the smart grid initiative, and the need for the U.S. to lead in the green movement.