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First Full-Scale Smart Grid Now Online

While many components of smart grid systems, such as smart meters, are in place with a number of utilities, until just recently, there hasn’t been a comprehensive and full-scale smart grid in place.

But an $800 million (USD) Florida Light and Power (FPL) project integrates all of the components necessary for a true smart grid, and is now networked and capable of monitoring and controlling every aspect of it.

This project, said to be the first of its kind (at least in terms of scope and scale), uses thousands of sensors at key places in the grid, including local distribution lines, substations, transformers, and high-voltage lines, which are used to feed back data to the utility for monitoring.

Altogether, FPL’s smart grid has 4.6 million smart meters and more than 10,000 other devices on it, enabling the utility to determine the health of individual components on it, as well as use the real-time data to help reduce power outages. In addition, now consumers have access to their data to help inform their own usage.

According to Technology Review,

“The meters have also cut the duration of power outages. Often power outages are caused by problems within a home, like a tripped circuit breaker. Instead of dispatching a crew to investigate, which could take hours, it is possible to resolve the issue remotely. That happened 42,000 times last year, reducing the duration of outages by about two hours in each case.”

The project was funded in part with $200 million from the U.S. Department of Energy.

[Image: Christian Haugen]

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