Smart Grid Advancements to Deliver Benefits to Texans

Utilizing technologies to help us manage our grid more effectively and more reliably are necessary advances for Texas to be able to compete in a digital, 21st century economy.  Smart Grid Technologies and the use of Advanced Metering Systems (AMS) are the vehicles to: deliver energy management tools to consumers; enhance the ability to effectively manage greater installments of “green” energy; and enable the deliver of higher quality, more reliable power.

Putting Control in the Hands of Consumers

  • AMS enables consumers to reduce their energy usage, better manage their bills, and lessen their environmental impact.  It also enables Retail Electric Providers to develop innovative rate plans, as well as provide easier outage detection for Transmission and Distribution utilities.
  • With innovations in information technology and communications, consumers can link heating/cooling systems and high-demand appliances to allow for even greater control. As an example, Apple is promoting a remote lighting control “app” in its iPhone ads.

Managing Power Flow on the Grid

  • Smart Grid Technologies, widely deployed, enhance the ability to automatically manage power on the grid which results in improved reliability, a self-healing grid, and shorter outage durations.
  • Smart Grid technologies also support the integration of utility-scale wind and solar power by using advanced electronics and high speed controls to maintain the integrity of the electric grid in response to fluctuations in output from these resources.
  • In addition, Smart Grid technologies facilitate the deployment of environmentally-friendly electric vehicles.  Partnerships like the City of Houston and Nissan have with Reliant Energy to bring electric vehicles to Texas can help provide consumers a viable electric car option that results in far less pollution from transportation.

Latest Smart Grid News in Texas

  • The approved deployment plan for CenterPoint Energy calls for installation of advanced meters over five years beginning in March 2009. In 2009, CenterPoint Energy was named as a recipient of a Federal Smart Grid Investment Grant that should enable installation of all meters by late 2012. Through year-end 2009, CenterPoint Energy installed 152,275 advanced meters, and another 95,095 were installed in January and February 2010, bringing the number of total deployed advanced meters to 247,370.
  • Oncor’s approved deployment plan initiated in late 2008 will have installation of advanced meters completed by the end of 2012. To date, Oncor has installed over 800,000 meters.
  • The AEP Texas deployment plan was approved in December 2009 and installation of advanced meters will be completed by the end of 2013. To date, nearly 5,000 meters have been installed in Portland, Texas, in order to conduct a system acceptance test. Full-scale deployment will begin in the second quarter of 2010.

To download a PDF of this issue paper, click here.

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