Bringing Smart Grid To Vermont
05/18/11 12:00PM By Jane Lindholm
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In 2009, the Department of Energy awarded Vermont $69 million in stimulus funds for the implementation of a statewide smart grid. The project will cost an estimated $138 million; Vermont utility companies are paying for the other half. The goal is that, by the end of 2013, nearly every home and business in Vermont will have a smart meter installed - which will let consumers (and utility companies) monitor their power usage on a daily basis. With a smart meter, consumers will be able to tell how much power they used doing laundry, or cooking dinner, rather than just finding out how much they used per month, in a bill.
We talk to Elizabeth Miller, commissioner of the Department of Public Service, and Paul Hines, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Vermont whose research focuses on the stability and vulnerability of the electric grid, about how far along smart grid implementation is, and what effect it will have on consumers, businesses and greenhouse gas emissions. We'll also hear from Chris Dutton, President and CEO of Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO).
Also on the program, Vergennes voters' rejected a school board unification plan that had been approved by five Addison County towns at Town Meeting. We talk with Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca about the significance of the vote, and where other districts stand in discussions on school board consolidation.