New Project Background and Analysis
As we are all keenly aware, the answer to efficient, clean, profitable power is comparable to searching for the Holy Grail. Strong headwinds face any power utilities efforts to build more carbon based power plants. Nuclear power, while clean in a sense, faces community shouts of “Not in my backyard.” Duke Energy, and several other players in the power industry, has embraced the idea of more efficient delivery of its current power production, and, real time monitoring of power usage throughout its established grid. This efficiency and monitoring capability has been labeled “Smart Grid Technology” by the power industry. While not alone in their quest, Duke is the largest investor in the technology in the United States. What is the smart grid?
A smart grid is a power distribution system that uses digital technology to enable a two-way “conversation” between Duke Energy and its customers, using advanced meters and other high-tech communications equipment. It’s a new way of working with the customer, helping them to manage energy better, save money and help the environment by cutting existing output and thereby cutting carbon emissions into the environment. By receiving timely information about what is happening on the “grid”, the smart system allows the provider to quickly detect and resolve problems, prevent and shorten power-outages, improve service reliability and give the customers information they need to better manage their energy usage. How does it Work?
A “Smart Grid” starts by installing communication nodes alongside transformers on the existing power grid. These devices are the “brains” of the smart grid system. They create a virtual energy network – collecting data from “smart meters” installed at the end user locations as well as data from other digital equipment on the power lines, then send it over a wireless network back to Duke Energy and then back to the customer. The “smart meters”...