It only took a moment to flip the switch and make it happen, but months and months of planning and working together with a variety of organizations, contractors, educators and utility companies and co-ops finally came together in July and allowed ECHO to begin to feed 27,000 kWh of power into Vermont’s electrical grid.
The solar array that is now on the rooftop at ECHO is one of the many such projects being installed across Vermont. This solar power production, combined with ECHO’s smart building, puts us at the forefront of the emerging Smart Grid. Because eight Vermont electric utilities and co-ops came together and secured a $80 million grant, Vermont will be one of the nation’s first Smart Grid states by 2013.
Since 1960, electricity use has tripled in the United States, but the grid infrastructure has not advanced. The electric grid, which is a network of power plants, transmission lines and utilities, will now become even more complex as all of us potentially become producers (and consumers) of power with that solar panel on your roof, wind turbine out back or battery-operated car that is plugged in. The smart grid will utilize digital technology so that various parts of the grid can communicate. For you, the new Smart Meter on the side of your home will enable you to better manage and understand your electricity usage.
For ECHO, in addition to our commitment to doing our share of reducing our collective energy and ecological footprint, we are interested in helping us all better understand how we can all participate in a healthier environment. Two summer interns recently joined us who are focused exclusively on Smart Grid. Come join Brianna Baker and Kristofer Sellstrom as they create, new, exciting ways for you to explore the coming Smart Grid. How does the electrical grid work? What is a Smart Meter? What happens when the meters can be found across Vermont? These and many other questions are answered every day. Check out their recent blog post.
So it really is more than just a flip of a switch. It is a commitment to continuing to share the innovations and the successes with the public and our peers as we continue down this path of energy sustainability and conservation. We welcome you to come on down to ECHO and poke around…you just might start to see some of these innovations in action.