Naperville Smart Grid Initiative Focuses On Consumer Benefits

Meanwhile, the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative is moving forward after the completion of two pilot programs this month. The pilots were used to develop an advanced metering infrastructure, automate the distribution grid, and implement conservation voltage reduction to increase power quality for more than 200 homes and businesses. Technology participants include Elster Solutions, Utility Partners of America (UPA), Tropos Networks, SunGard, Oracle, and Calico Energy Services.

Calico Energy Services, for its part, is providing an on-site energy management platform to connect to the city's new Elster smart meters. The Calico software provides command and control options for the smart grid data system and allows the utility to manage demand, improve reliability, and quantify the impact of energy management programs through integrated analytics.

Calico's service-oriented architecture (SOA) program helps utilities streamline information to enable demand response and commercial building energy management. "Utilities have nightmares when it comes to data integration. We help them quickly and effectively get access to information, and prioritize the data for specific applications," said Thomas Dogget, chief marketing officer with Calico. He says the Calico platform also gives utility customers the ability to view and control their energy use through energy management portals, on-premise displays, and even through electric vehicle (EV) charging systems.

Indeed adding electric vehicles to the grid is an important consideration for the smart grid project. Last month, the city opened the Naperville Auto Test Track to demonstrate the future of electric vehicles and the city’s commitment to environmental initiatives. Nadja Lalvani expects a significant number of Naperville residents to purchase EVs and the city will offer a special time-of-use rates and demand response programs tailored for EV owners.

Full deployment of smart meter installations begins rolling out January 4, 2012. Lalvani is optimistic and has been in regular contact with city administrators in Fort Collins, Colorado, another municipal utility focused on renewable energy sources and smart grid technologies. "We talk to the them on a monthly basis to figure out where we're at in our project, talk about best practices, and how to make the initiative work for everyone involved."

Power line photo provide by Shutterstock