Cisco yesterday followed on the heels of its Energy Smart Miami project to offer a new line of technologies aimed at making the country's electrical infrastructure more energy efficient, responsive and secure.

Cisco's SmartGrid solutions lay out an entire framework of smart energy tools, covering everything homes to data centers to electrical substations. The tools will allow utility companies and their customers manage power supplies and energy consumption more efficiently. 

The company expects that the Smart Grid and its associated infrastructure needs will become a $20 billion market by 2015, and that the benefits of moving toward a system that allows for on-demand, instead of always-on, energy utilization can save the United States 10 to 15 percent or more of overall energy use, cut back significantly on the greenhouse gas emissions related to electricity generation, and create as many as 280,000 green jobs.

"Networking technology will serve as the platform of a smart, more secure energy grid for the 21st century," Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers said in a statement. "Cisco is uniquely positioned to provide a converged Smart Grid communications fabric and to assist our utility customers with the kind of business transformation that will enable the efficient, effective transmission of energy and deliver entirely new, environmentally-friendly services to consumers."

Last month, Cisco announced its partnership with the city of Miami to launch a $200 million Energy Smart Miami project. That initiative will bring smart meters and solar power systems to the city, as well as adding plug-in hybrids to the city's vehicle fleet, and encourage the adoption of energy-reduction tools like home energy use dashboards, smart appliances and smart-meter thermostats to pilot programs in 1,000 city homes.

Cisco's Smart Grid project is online at http://www.cisco.com/go/smartgrid.