One more leap for Chattanooga's advanced smart grid


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: We've heard plenty about the progress of high-profile smart metering projects. But here's a successful project that's mostly about improvements to the distribution network itself. It's possibly the smartest smart grid since Xcel's SmartGridCity in Boulder. But this one seems to have the enthusiastic support of the mayor, the citizens and the regulators. - By Jesse Berst


In partnership with S&C Electric Company and DOE, Chattanooga, Tennessee's EPB hit a milestone in its smart grid initiative this week with the installation of the final S&C IntelliRupter® PulseCloser, a major component of EPB's self-healing grid. The IntelliRupter is expected to cut power outage duration by 40%.


EPB is one of the biggest publicly-owned electric utilities in the country and also has another distinction: "Home to the country's most automated smart grid of its size, Chattanooga is a unique success story in how the smart grid can be an economic engine, reduce power outages, improve reliability and prepare for future power demands," said EPB CEO Harold DePriest.


"EPB's smart grid uses a very high level of smart grid automation that allows the grid to automatically respond to disturbances and minimize disruptions to electric service," explained John Estey, S&C president and CEO. "When an event occurs, the IntelliRupters communicate with one another through EPB's high-speed fiber optic communication network to determine the location of the event, and then automatically isolate it and reroute power to restore electric service to as many people as possible."


It's a big deal in that, according to an Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study, the cost to the country of power interruptions for residential and business customers is roughly $80 billion annually.


EPB won a $111 million federal stimulus grant to help pay the cost of construction and implementation of the city's smart grid.


Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid He consults to smart grid companies seeking market entry advice and M&A advisory. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the US and abroad, he also serves on the Advisory Council of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Energy & Environment directorate.

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