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September 02, 2010

ComEd Smart Grid Innovation Corridor Launched



ComEd has launched the "ComEd Smart Grid Innovation Corridor," which is one among the broadest collections of Smart Grid pilots in the country.

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The innovation corridor will assess the latest technology and implementation approaches. These assessments will target specific areas such as residential solar power, the company's first intelligent substation, distribution automation, and electric vehicle charging stations.

The ComEd Smart Grid Innovation Corridor will cover the communities of Bellwood, Berwyn, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Melrose Park, Oak Park, River Forest and the Humboldt Park neighbourhood in Chicago.

The Grid will build upon the information-rich Smart Meters that are currently installed in 130,000 residences within this area.

Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer, ComEd stated that their new innovation corridor could help them study a variety of advanced Smart Grid technologies individually and in relation to each other. She added that this would help them understand and learn the best and most cost-effective way to deliver value to their customers in addition to helping them manage their bills, and improve the reliability of the system.

ComEd will initiate five pilots this year which include the Photovoltaic Pilot which is a three-year project partially funded by a $5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant. The PV Pilot will examine the customer benefits of residential solar generation, hourly pricing signals, the ability to sell back unused solar electricity and the impact of changes in customer load on the ComEd grid.

Intelligent Substation are microprocessor-based controls and advanced digital devices that are being installed at a substation in Oak Park to create an "intelligent substation" featuring automated monitoring and analysis to improve reliability and streamline maintenance.

The Distribution Automation power-line restoration devices and smart isolation switches will be installed to create "self-healing" lines that can automatically correct disturbances and reduce outages.

With the Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure the next generation of electric vehicles will be assessed and smart-charging infrastructure will be installed to encourage development of a market for electric vehicles in Chicago.

The Dynamic Voltage Regulation will help reduce surplus voltage on distribution lines while maintaining high reliability.

Donnelly said that they were focused on exploring innovative Smart Grid approaches that promise significant benefits to customers, the electrical system, and the environment.


Vinti Vaid is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Vinti's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny
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