From around the world: 5 groundbreaking smart grid projects

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By: SGN Staff

The smart grid is a global phenomenon and we can learn from pioneers wherever they are. (Even the nation-state of California!) Here is our globe-trotting roundup of five projects that are charting new territories.

 

United Kingdom -- Cheaper than batteries? Energy storage pilot uses liquefied air

Highview Power Storage, a UK development company, is collaborating with engineers from China to open a liquid air energy storage plant outside London. Highview worked with scientists from the University of Leeds in conceiving the system that uses liquefied air to store off-peak energy, such as that from intermittent renewables. Highview claims the utility-scale technology is significantly cheaper than batteries. The pilot demonstration plant -- expected to open July, 2011 -- is large enough to power several hundred homes for up to eight hours. In addition to large-scale energy storage, the system can simultaneously store and harness low-grade waste heat from co-located processes, important for energy efficiency initiatives.

            What we like: Cheaper than batteries? This one bears watching!

You may also want to check out: The Smart Grid News Energy Storage channel

 

Malta -- First multi-utility smart grid goes online

In 2009, IBM and the Mediterranean island nation of Malta kicked off the world's first nationwide smart grid with a fully integrated electricity and water system. It promised to, among other things, identify water leaks and electricity losses. Now, halfway through the project with 66,000 smart meters installed, IBM and the Maltese utilities have launched a smart grid customer portal that allows consumers to view up-to-date consumption for both water and electricity and compare usage levels in similar households.  The idea is that with more information, consumers can make more informed choices about using water and electricity. 

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            What we like: We're seeing more and more multi-utility projects. For  

            instance, Greenland is in the final rollout phase of a project that is exchanging

            all of its heat, water and electricity meters for smart meters integrated in a

            single country-wide AMR system.

You may also want to check out: IBM smart grid stories on SGN

 

California -- Automated demand response arrives: No sour grapes for this effort

A California table grape producer reduced its electric bill 16 percent annually and achieved ROI in less than two months by integrating automated demand response technology and energy efficiency using Seattle-based Powerit Solutions' Spara product. According to a Powerit press release, companies typically pursue energy efficiency and auto-DR one at a time. By using Spara, users get both at once. The combination allowed Four Star Fruit of Delano, CA to save money by optimizing utility incentive funding, avoiding the need for separate energy audits, and paying for only one control system and installation. Powerit Solutions won a Connectivity Week award for the Four Star project.

What we like: Results like this that show companies a clear economic advantage and provide some positive, planet-friendly PR are going to be the ticket to more widespread adoption of auto-DR and efficiency programs in commercial enterprises.

You may also want to check out: The Smart Grid News Demand Response channel

 

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Maui, Hawai'I -- Integrating renewables: Success of first Maui wind project spawns a second

Five years ago, the first utility-scale wind project on Maui launched commercial operations. According to the companies behind the project -- First Wind and Makani Nui Associates -- the 30 MW Kaheawa Wind Power I (KWP I) project has generated nearly 563 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity since it went online on June 22, 2006. They say the equivalent amount of energy from a traditional fossil fuel facility would have required over 902,604 barrels of oil. KWP I powers approximately 11,000 homes on Maui– about 9% of the island’s energy needs. Now a 21 MW sister installation is under way nearby. The latest project will feature a battery energy storage system to help meet performance standards and smooth fluctuations in wind energy output.

            What we like: We hear a lot about new wind and solar installations, but it's 

            reaffirming to see the kind of impact they can have over time – not to  

            mention the amount of carbon they save.

You may also want to check out: The Smart Grid News DG & Renewables channel

 

Canada -- Energy efficiency is "PC" in Manitoba

To decrease energy use by personal computers, Manitoba Hydro has launched the Power Smart Commercial Network Energy Management Program.  In June, 2011 the utility announced that commercial PC users in its service area can get 100% rebates for installing Verismic's Power Manager software. The package can power down computers automatically, configure computers to consume less power while on, and extend a laptop's battery life.  Newport Beach, CA-based Verismic's software was designed to reduce computer power use and energy costs at large organizations. The company says it is the first offering that can dynamically and intelligently manage servers, desktops, and notebooks (both PC and Mac).

What we like: According to Energy Star, you can save $25 to $75 per computer per year by activating power management features. Consider the many large orgs with wall-to-wall computers and it's easy to see this could mean a meaningful drop in energy consumption.

You may also want to check out: The Smart Grid News Efficiency channel

 

For more stories about pilots, projects and deployments, visit these Smart Grid News channels …

Smart Grid Projects

Smart Grid Lessons Learned

Global Smart Grid