NEW YORK - Consolidated Edison Company of New York announced that it is launching a $6 million smart grid pilot program in northwest Queens that will test how various technologies support efforts to modernize the electric grid. The utility said the pilot program will provide customers with more information about their energy usage, and help customers use energy more efficiently and save on their electricity bills.

A smart grid integrates information and communication technology into electricity generation, delivery, and consumption, to make systems more reliable and efficient. Con Edison said its 18-month demonstration project combines cutting edge technology with existing innovations that allow, for example, the utility to test and evaluate the company’s response to customer use and power interruptions.

“New York City will be a model showing how smart grid technologies can work together in dense urban areas,” said Kevin Burke, chairman and CEO of Con Edison. “Smart grids will change the way we manage the grid, and can change the way customers manage their energy usage. Our vision is to identify grid innovations that can be reliable and cost effective, and provide increased flexibility for customers in the ways they make energy choices.”

One of the innovations involves a distributed generation project with City University of New York (CUNY) to study how solar energy can be integrated into the New York City electric grid. The solar energy will be obtained from a 100kW photovoltaic system on the roof of LaGuardia Community College.

“With this smart grid agreement, CUNY is partnering with Con Edison to create a roadmap for New York and an example for the nation as we move toward energy independence,” said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “The university’s faculty and researchers will continue to work closely with Con Edison to identify new solar and renewable energy opportunities.”

Con Edison’s urban smart grid pilot will take place within the company’s Long Island City network, an 8.3 square-mile-area, which has a customer density mixture representative of other areas in the company’s system. The network entirely or partly includes the neighborhoods of Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Woodside. The location of the smart grid pilot also gives Con Edison greater flexibility by housing necessary equipment on its own property.

Approximately 1,500 customers will receive smart meters, the main component of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Other AMI features include automatic outage notification, remote meter reading, remote reconnection, and the ability to communicate energy usage information via other smart building technology to web portals or in-home displays. The web portals and in-home displays can show energy usage by appliance and nearly 300 eligible customers will test this technology.

The demonstration program will also test the integration of:

• Intelligent underground systems that can monitor, isolate, and correct distribution problems to improve reliability;

• A commercial customer’s energy generator and renewable energy resources, such as solar energy, into the grid; and

• Plug-in electric vehicles and their charging stations.

The research and development project is the company’s first step in an effort to expand smart grid technology throughout New York City and Westchester County. Con Edison said it will continue working with the state Public Service Commission, other stakeholders, and industry groups to grow and expand smart grid technology across the system.

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Publication date:09/21/2009