Got a dispatch out of Rosemead, California: “Southern California Edison Unveils Nation’s Smartest Neighborhood Electricity Grid.” The document goes on to cover what the utility calls the “Circuit of the Future,” a project serving 1,420 homes and businesses in an area called the “Inland Empire.” The project is designed to be a real-world test of how certain advanced technologies will behave when subjected to environmental conditions outside the test lab.
Here's some more details via local news video.
The technologies included in the pilot are a systems controller that can pinpoint circuit problems and isolate them, a fiber optic communications system that communicates this sort of data to systems operators, new surge protectors called “fault current limiters,” something that manages duct bank temperatures and distributed generation power generation capabilities.
Southern California Edison doesn’t tout the pilot technology as green so much as it touts it as smart. Its goals include fewer outages, faster service restoration when the power does go out and possible cost reductions in the future. But in this case, in my opinion, smart is pretty much the same thing as green. In particular, the grid’s support for distributed power is intriguing because, in theory, this could let the utility easily swap in and out alternative energy generation sources as appropriate. Worth monitoring.