There’s been a lot of talk recently about smart grid. It’s a buzz word on TV and the Internet that doesn’t really have a clear definition for most people. In general, having a smart electric grid means using technology to enhance the flow of energy and information while increasing reliability, efficiency and decreasing costs.
What it could mean in the future is anyone’s guess, but Avista is looking to lead the way by utilizing technology that we’re already experts on, that will provide the framework for future “smart grid” enhancements. Just today, we applied for federal funds
under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act for the first of two smart grid electric distribution projects. Read the news release
We’ve requested $20 million, but have committed to investing $22 million in matching funds to ensure a successful project. Leveraging the stimulus money will result in reduced pressure on customer rates; making costs lower than they would have been without stimulus funding.
We expect to hear back on our application in October. The Smart Grid Investment Grant Program (SGIG) is administered by the Department of Energy.
The reality of today’s announcement is that while smart grid has unlimited potential for technological advances into the future, the prudent thing for Avista and our customers today is to be prepared for all future possibilities. This project lays that groundwork while making our electric distribution system more efficient and reliable today.
We’ll put a post up tomorrow with a few more details on the first project we’ve requested funds for.