By Jesse Berst
Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity is a polarizing project. Many see it as a pathbreaking demonstration that proved out some of the most important smart grid theories. There's no doubt that SmartGridCity has achieved impressive grid optimization applications and reliability improvements.
Yet others -- including some vocal locals -- believe it has been a massive failure. This crowd focuses on the cost overruns. And on the fact that customers still don't have sufficient tools to easily monitor and reduce their energy use. Some are so angry they want Boulder to secede from Xcel and create its own municipal utility.
It's an important question. If SmartGridCity is seen as a success, it may embolden other regions to smarten up their grids, using the lessons learned in Boulder. If it is seen as a failure, it will encourage regulators elsewhere to disallow similar projects.
What's the truth?
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