On January 26, 2010 I wrote a letter to United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke explaining my directive to City light to produce a Smart Grid plan for the Council. This plan will be used to help the Council determine the best course for a Smart Grid implementation.
As you may know, President Obama has charged Secretary Locke and the U.S. Department of Commerce to develop a nationwide strategy to build a Smart Grid. I want to make sure our national leadership stays apprised of our activities in Seattle and make sure we preserve our reputation of having a competitive edge here. We must continue to preserve our image as being an innovative, forward-thinking and healthy environment for businesses and families.
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This afternoon (12/16/09), I issued a press release calling for a Smart Grid. Below is a post with more information.
System would save people money, modernize City Light’s basic infrastructure and increase reliability and conservation
SEATTLE – In an effort to position City Light on the cutting edge of customer service, Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell has directed the Utility to develop a specific plan for the development of a Smart Grid in 2010. “I want a plan that puts the Full Council and the Executive in a position to make a funding decision for Smart Grid deployment by the middle of 2010,” says Councilmember Harrell. A Smart Grid basically adds two-way communication technology to the existing electrical grid where power and information can flow between the utility and the customer to create a system that operates more efficiently and reliably. It will also result in giving customers more control over their power consumption.
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Seattle City Light is uniquely positioned to provide low-cost, clean electricity to our customers—who own the public utility. Approximately 88.83% of Seattle City Light’s electricity generation is from hydro, a renewable energy. In comparison, about 50% of the United States electrical production comes from coal. The carbon footprint of coal is approximately 1000 grams of CO2 per kWh of electricity generated when compared to 10-30 grams of CO2 per kWh of electricity generated from hydro. Seattle City Light offers an average rate of 6.42 cents per kWh, compared to the national average of 9.7 cents per kWh. With the commitment Seattle and Washington state has demonstrated with the passage of I-937 in 2006 (3%-renewable energy of its load by 2012, 9%-renewable energy of its load by 2016, and 15%-renewable energy of its load by 2020) and Seattle City Light’s commitment with a 5-Year Conservation Plan to avoid 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, what is the next step to continue providing the lowest rates and the cleanest electricity in Seattle?
That next step is Smart Grid. IBM’s slogan is “building a smarter planet.” Smart grid is the answer for building a smarter Seattle. Smart grid is a revolutionary change in how a utility generates and distributes electricity. The revolution has begun, with a federal stimulus package of $3.4 billion for smart grid technology. From these funds, $9.6 million was granted to Seattle City Light and the University of Washington for the development of a “smart micro grid” on the Seattle campus. Consumer education and engaging the public on what exactly is a smart grid and how it helps residents is absolutely vital as we discuss the development of a smart grid. Continue Reading »