Glendale Water and Power, supplying Glendale, California, is one of the first smart grids to connect customers in the United States. Three years and over 100,000 total smart meters later, and Glendale is close to announcing a fully functioning smart grid.
However, to get to that point, there is still more work left at this point. Once the smart meters are all installed, it will take two months of testing to confirm readings. There will also be a 12-month distribution automation pilot at one key substation. Finally, there are still PV units and energy storage units that need to be installed and integrated.
The project began through a $20 million dollar grant from DOE funding smart grid technologies. The business case Glendale presented to DOE indicated a 7 year payback, which they now say may take fewer than 5 years to fully repay the grant.
This is based on the overall positive support Glendale residents have shown towards the program, on top of the ability of smart grid technologies to reduce energy bills and improve efficiency. Glendale Power and Water expects to see even further reductions in peak demand, already reduced by 3%. They also expect to see a 7% reduction in water use.
While nationwide smart grid programs may still be several years down the line, the Glendale project serves as a good example of the benefits of a functioning smart grid.