10. Utilities: Austin Energy

There are much larger utilities deploying aspects of smart grid developments – smart meter deployments, integrating renewable source of power, energy storage – but Austin, Texas-based municipal utility Austin Energy has something close to a complete smart grid up and running.

Austin's "Smart Grid 1.0" has deployed 410,000 smart meters, and expects to have all of its customers equipped with a smart meter by late summer, said Andres Carvallo, Austin Energy CIO. The utility has also installed 86,000 thermostats that it can control remotely to cycle off during peak load events, as well as about 2,500 distribution grid sensors across its service territory.

Now Austin Energy is preparing for the Pecan Street Project, meant to incorporate renewable energy, energy storage, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles and energy monitors and smart appliances for customers' homes. The project includes a who's who of high tech companies, including Dell, GE Energy, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Freescale Semiconductor and GridPoint.

Of course, other much larger utilities are busy putting the pieces of the smart grid together. A well known example is Xcel Energy and its SmartGridCity pilot project – a $100 million project aimed at bringing smart meters, "smart" substations, and a host of support systems for distributed generation, plug-in vehicles and home energy use controls

And then there are other utilities pushing ahead with different pieces of the smart grid infrastructure in a big way.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has set a milestone for smart meter deployment, recently announcing that it had installed 2.3 million smart meters so far, more than any other utility in the nation.

And American Electric Power has been taking big steps in integrating energy storage into its grid, with plans to install 25 megawatts of storage by next year and 1 gigawatt by 2020, including large-scale and community-level storage (see Green Light post). 

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