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PPL Electric Launches Smart Grid Project in PA

PPL Electric Utilities has launched a smart grid project in Pennsylvania that will enable the utility to add renewable energy, improve its reliability, and give customers the ability to control its power use.

PPL Electric is using GE’s distribution management system, which includes network management software that will allow the utility to monitor and control the status, performance and interaction of equipment throughout its grid. With the new system, PPL Electric will be able to fix potential problems before they occur, minimizing the frequency and duration of power outages, says GE.

GE’s network management software can help the utility determine the source of a power outage and automatically route electricity around it to minimize the number of customers impacted. It also balances the loading of power lines in response to real-time power needs to reduce wasted energy.

The system also provides renewable energy integration solutions that enable PPL Electric to tap into power generated by rooftop solar panels and wind turbines to reduce Pennsylvania’s CO2 emissions that come from electricity generation.

GE’s distribution management system was initially developed for the United Kingdom, where it controls more than 80 percent of the distribution grid. This software system is part of GE’s commitment, called Grid IQ, to modernize the world’s infrastructure and make the smart grid smarter.

GE says power interruptions and disturbances cost the U.S. economy about $80 billion annually, according to the report, “Understanding the Cost of Power Interruptions to U.S. Electricity Consumers.”

Earlier this month, GE and partner companies launched a $200 million open innovation challenge that seeks new ideas from technologists, entrepreneurs and start-ups to create a smarter, cleaner, and more efficient electric grid. The goal of the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid,” challenge is to accelerate the adoption of more efficient grid technologies.

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