Michigan's Consumers Energy is teaming up with GE in hopes of proving a clearly defined reliable and integrated infrastructure to strengthen America's energy future and allow the promise of the smart grid to become reality.
A pilot program employing WiMax 4G communications and GE smart meters has
worked to allow Consumers Energy's Michigan
customers to demonstrate how real-time, wireless communications between meters
in the home and the utility's network management and control systems can
improve efficiency and reliability.
The Michigan pilot is the
latest step in GE Energy's smart grid development program. GE has collaborated
with a number of utilities around the world, including Consumers Energy and
American Electric Power (AEP) in the United
States, to fine-tune smart meter
capabilities using this technology.
"This infrastructure solution could be significant in its ability to
provide far more real-time information and updates to distributed intelligent
metering devices over utility equipment lifespans," Wayne Longcore,
director of Enterprise Architecture and Standards for Consumers Energy, said in
The Federal Communications Commission issued a March 17 National Broadband
Plan, which recognized a clear need for improving the communications
infrastructure to modernize the electric grid. GE's pilot falls directly in
line with the plan's call for a clearly defined reliable and integrated
infrastructure to strengthen America's
energy future and enable the promise of the smart grid to become reality.
"This pilot helps Consumers Energy evaluate the immediate benefits of
smart metering, while providing the company with a powerful platform to adopt
additional smart grid technologies to further increase energy efficiency,
improve reliability, empower consumers with information and more easily
integrate cleaner energy sources," said Bob Gilligan, vice president of digital
energy for GE Energy Services. "Deploying better ways to move information
is key to finding smarter, more efficient and more reliable ways to move