November 24, 2009
Doe Awards Austin's Pecan Street Project $10.4 Million For Smart Grid Demonstration at Mueller
Energy Project Aims to Turn Mueller Neighborhood into America’s Cleanest, Most Efficient Neighborhood
The Department of Energy has awarded the Pecan Street Project, Inc. $10.4 million under the department’s regional smart grid demonstration program. The grant will be used to fund an advanced smart grid project at the Mueller development in central Austin. The Mueller neighborhood – a public-private joint venture between the City of Austin and Catellus Development Group, a ProLogis company – is located at the site of Austin’s former airport.
The demonstration project will integrate with Austin Energy’s next generation smart grid platform to create, operate, and evaluate an open platform Energy Internet – a type of smart grid that allows two-way electricity and information flow and is modeled on the architecture of the Internet. Resident and commercial participation in the project will be voluntary.
“The stimulus award will provide our effort a significant jumpstart at a time when many cities and utilities are competing for leadership in tomorrow’s energy market,” said Brewster McCracken, Federal Grants Manager with Pecan Street Project, Inc. “We intend to make the Mueller neighborhood an example of what modern neighborhoods can accomplish with smarter energy management, clean energy generation and advanced system integration. Our goal is the most self-sufficient and energy efficient neighborhood development in the country.”
The proposal was submitted by a partnership of Central Texas energy experts, including Austin Energy, The University of Texas, Environmental Defense Fund, The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and the City of Austin. In addition, Pecan Street Project, Inc. will create a Technology Review and Advisory Committee with representatives from ERCOT, Bluebonnet Electric Coop, CPS Energy San Antonio and Pedernales Electric Coop.
“What better place for innovation than in this innovative community,” said U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett. ”We gather in this vibrant new neighborhood – the site of Austin’s old airport – where airplanes once landed and took off. Now we have landed these federal funds to help our community takeoff on its energy future. We are taking old ways of using energy and creating a new, more efficient way forward. These federal dollars will focus on how we store renewable energy with a smart grid.”
Details of the funding will be negotiated with the Department of Energy in the coming weeks. The proposal, however, included: distributed clean energy installation, energy storage technology installation and testing, smart grid water and smart grid irrigation systems, smart appliances and plug-in electric vehicles linked to a grid-integrated system of smart charging stations, energy storage and solar power.
The project will collect data and analyze these results against control groups and distribution feeder systems in other locations in the City of Austin to quantify how the integration of these technologies impacts electricity usage and bills, the utility’s finances, environmental outcomes and overall system performance.
“We are pleased to leverage our leadership and federal support to demonstrate smart grid technologies in Austin and for the benefit of the country,” said Roger Duncan, Austin Energy General Manager and a member of the Pecan Street Project Board of Directors. “The Pecan Street Project will be a model for industry and community collaboration in developing a business model for the utility of the future.”