CPS Energy, the largest combined gas and electric municipal utility in the United States, has selected Silicon Valley-based Silver Spring Networks (SSN) to deploy a smart grid in its San Antonio service territory.
In addition to deploying advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) for the benefit of its 740,000 electric and 340,000 natural gas customers, CPS Energy will leverage Silver Spring's standards-based smart grid networking platform to roll out a distribution automation initiative and will extend availability of its current demand reduction programs.
Silver Spring Networks provides a high-performance IPv6-based network that establishes a communications foundation for all of a city's assets. Its high-bandwidth capabilities facilitate support for a myriad of solutions— including smart energy metering, smart street lighting, environmental sensors, traffic signals, electric vehicles, information panels, and parking meters.
In commitment to the initiative, SSN will open an office in San Antonio, where the company will employ product testing and engineering personnel, professional technical consultants, technical operations teams, and a variety of permanent staff. This office also will seek to develop strategic partnerships with other local companies.
The partnership also represents an expansion of San Antonio's New Energy Economy initiative. “San Antonio can be for the new energy economy what Silicon Valley is to software and Boston is to biotech,” San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro said at the initiative’s unveiling last June.
Under the New Energy Economy program, CPS has engaged with a handful of diverse players in the clean energy sector. In each case, like SSN, rather than just supplying goods or technology, these companies have agreed to move their U.S. headquarters, principal manufacturing facilities, or a regional office to San Antonio— creating thousands of green jobs, funding educational programs in San Antonio schools and universities, and building a true consortium of clean energy companies.
In addition to Silver Spring Networks, the list of companies, which CPS hopes to grow further in the coming year, includes:
- OCI Solar Power, which will build 400 megawatts (MW) of solar PV capacity in San Antonio and also anchor a campus of solar manufacturers, so far including the South Korean wafer maker Nexolon;
- SunEdison (News - Alert), which will build 30 MW of solar farms in San Antonio by the end of 2012;
- Summit Power Group, which will build a 400 MW (200 MW is contracted to San Antonio) integrated gasification combined cycle plant with 90 percent capture of exhaust CO2;
- Consert, a home energy management company, which will roll out its system to more than 140,000 customers, reducing peak electricity demand by 250 MW;
- Greenstar, an LED streetlight manufacturer, which will install 25,000 streetlights in San Antonio; and
- Cold Car USA, an electric refrigeration truck manufacturer, which will partner with the utility on pilot studies on electric vehicle charging.
"The energy industry is undergoing a major transformation, driven in part by technological advancements and customer expectations for more information," said CPS Energy President and CEO Doyle Beneby. "Our CPS Energy team is committed to bringing together a broad group of innovators who can help our community prepare for the future. Silver Spring's vision and world-class technology are an exciting addition to the New Energy Economy hub that is developing in San Antonio."
"We believe that innovation, energy efficiency, and economic growth go together hand in hand. It's terrific to partner with leaders like CPS Energy that possess the expansive vision required to solve society's most challenging problems," added Scott Lang, chairman, president, and CEO at Silver Spring Networks. "And smart energy is only the beginning: We look forward to partnering with CPS Energy to work to establish the United States' most modern smart city infrastructure,—fueling innovation and economic growth for years to come."
In addition to the smart city partnership, CPS Energy and Silver Spring Networks will establish a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) scholarship and intern-training program, supporting students at universities in San Antonio —with a goal of creating permanent, new energy-sector jobs in the San Antonio area.
Edited by Brooke Neuman