I've talked about Technology for a Smarter Planet (More Smarter Planet Info) such as a Smarter Air-Traffic Control System. Now comes news in "Boulder, Colo.: America's First 'Smart Grid City'" (ABC News) talking about houses in Boulder being wired by Xcel Energy:
Soon, 50,000 homes in Boulder will soon be decked out with the latest in environmentally-friendly, energy-saving technology -- including solar panels, electric cars and, for some, a specialized heating, cooling and lighting system -- all of which will be integrated into a monitoring system that reports the home's carbon footprint to the homeowner.
More details about this program are in "Xcel moves hybrids one step further" (Denver Business Journal) and "Alternative Energy Economy - Part II" (IT World).
Of course, it's not all good news. One of the main features of Smart Grid City is that homeowners can produce their own electricity from sources like solar panels, and when they produce more than they can use (including charging batteries in the house and their hybrid/electric cars), they can add the excess power to the city grid. What they add gets subtracted from the power they use from the grid. Ultimately, if a house generates more power than it uses, the homeowner gets paid by the power company. A good idea? No so fast. "Consumers as Producers" (Wall Street Journal) reports a concern that homeowners should be encouraged to use less power and generate more of what they use, but not to become energy producers. Homes producing electricity for other homes would be a bad thing?