Putting the Big D in "Smart Grid"
The sixth largest electricity transmission and distribution company in America is also one of the smartest.
Not merely because Oncor selected IBM as the lead systems integrator for their Advanced Metering Systems (AMS) deployment in Dallas, Texas, but because they see that deployment as the first major step toward fully enabling 3.4 million smart meters by 2012.
Oncor's AMS solution will enable better customer service, whether for setting up new services or making it easy to switch electricity providers. These AMS services will provide customers with the information and control needed to better manage their usage and costs. In addition, the AMS solution will set the stage for more advanced "in-home appliance network" capabilities being developed by energy retailers.
For this initial deployment in Dallas, Oncor will rely on IBM's expertise in smart metering and systems integration, as well as the understanding of data management, business analytics, and security solutions that only IBM can deliver.
Malta: the first smart grid country
Known for its dry sunny weather, knights and long architectural history, this Mediterranean archipelago is about to become known for something else: it's the world's first "smart grid" country.
Malta's electricity and water systems are inexorably intertwined. Malta depends entirely on foreign fuel oil for the production of all of its electricity and for more than half of its water supply, which filters through an energy-intensive desalination process.
The new smart grid, integrating both water and power systems, will be able to identify water leaks and electricity losses in the grid, allowing the utilities to more intelligently plan their investments in the network and reduce inefficiency. 250,000 interactive meters will monitor electricity usage in real time, set variable rates, and reward customers who consume less energy and water.
By addressing the issues of water and power as a system, the Maltese government can provide citizens with better information to make smarter decisions about how and when they use power—and the country can begin the task of replacing carbon-intensive fuel oil with renewable energy for the future.
Amsterdam tests smart metering
In The Netherlands, 500 Amsterdam households will soon be participating in a pilot program for smart meters in that city. IBM is teaming with a number of partners to help Amsterdammers make more informed decisions about energy use. The pilot is part of the Amsterdam Smart City initiative, where citizens, governments and companies are working together to make more efficient use of energy, water and mobility to create a more sustainable city.
Using smart meters, participants in the pilot program will be able to understand their energy use in real time and thereby make adjustments in their behavior. By doing so, they could save on energy costs and eventually help bring about a reduction in CO2 emissions by at least 14 percent.
As part of the pilot program, IBM will also host a customer portal, where participants can check online how much energy they are using and what steps need to be taken to reduce consumption. If the pilot is successful, the energy management system will be implemented in tens of thousands of households across multiple cities in The Netherlands.
Consider what enlightened companies can do
In the GridWise Olympic Peninsula Project (US) in Washington state, intelligent devices (e.g. thermostats) in consumers' homes were tied to the grid system, which automatically controlled power consumption based on pricing signals and customer preference. Electricity bills were decreased by an average of 10 percent.
Empower customers with information
Energie Baden-Wurttemberg (US), an innovative energy provider in Germany, gives customers the pricing information they need to alter their energy consumption patterns. They consumed less power during more expensive peak hours, evening out demand.
With smart grids, DONG Energy (US) can detect a power outage instantly, know the exact location and respond quickly to fix it.