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Smart Grid Projects Get Ready to Roll in the U.S., UAE

electricgridCisco, together with utility, technology and local government partners, are developing some of the nation’s first projects to create a smarter electric grid. General Electric is also testing how smart appliances can help lower power demand in a pilot program at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.

Hoping for a piece of the $4.5 billion in funding set aside for smart-grid projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), IBM, Cisco Systems, Stanford University and the city of San Jose have applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for a $42.5 million grant to launch a state-of-the-art smart-grid project to help manage energy consumption by customers and the clean power they produce with solar panels, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

This energy management project will provide 75,000 business and residential consumers with on-premises energy monitors so that they can save money by shifting energy use to off-peak periods, when rates are lower, or by reducing consumption altogether, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

PG&E told the newspaper the project will also help the utility handle more renewable solar power generated by customers from rooftop or backyard panels. PG&E’s grid connects to nearly 40 percent of all customer solar panel capacity in the United States, including San Jose, which is one of the cities with the most solar panels in PG&E’s service area, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In addition, Cisco is working with partners such as Oracle to create the Cisco Smart Grid Ecosystem to drive the adoption of Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications standards for smart grids, which will help utility companies and their customers better manage and reduce energy consumption, improve smart grid security and reliability, and reduce overall energy costs, reports Renewable Energy Focus.

Cisco also is introducing grid security services and solutions for physical and cyber security, which include utility compliance assessment, physical site security vulnerability assessment, grid security architecture design, as well as physical and networking security design and deployment, according to Renewable Energy Focus.

Ecosystem members include technology vendors, power and utility integrators, service providers including Accenture, Capgemini, Echelon, EnergyHub, GE, Infosys, Verizon, Wipro.

GE, one of Cisco’s Smart Grid Ecosystem members, is also working on a first-of-its kind smart appliance pilot program in Masdar City, reports Dubai Chronicle.

The Masdar City and GE Consumer & Industrial program will test how GE smart (or Demand Response enabled) appliances and Home Energy Manager (HEM) can lower power demand in the home and across the city, reports Dubai Chronicle. Participants are some of the first residents of Masdar City, touted as the world’s first carbon neutral, zero waste city, which is being built in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital Abu Dhabi.

The information gained from the program will provide important early feedback in testing consumers’ energy-consumption behavior using the Demand-Response technology, and will assist Masdar City in planning and designing its smart power grid in order to achieve its carbon-neutral, zero-waste, 100 percent-renewable-energy-powered objectives, reports Dubai Chronicle.

The equipment, specifically designed and manufactured for this pilot, will be installed in early 2010 in the first building to be completed at Masdar City, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Ten of the Masdar Institute’s 100 residences will participate in the two-year pilot project.

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