Mayor Manny Diaz recently unveiled an ambitious, $200 million " Energy Smart Miami" smart grid project developed in partnership with General Electric, Cisco Systems, Florida Power & Light and Silver Spring Networks to ultimately deploy smart meters on every home and most businesses in Miami-Dade County. The project, which aims to land stimulus bill funding for as much as half the project, will create as many as 1,000 new jobs as it brings next-generation technology to homes and businesses. In addition to smart meters, the project aims to install solar power systems on several schools and universities, add 300 plug-in hybrid vehicles to the city’s fleet, and bring a series of new technologies like home energy use dashboards, smart appliances and smart-meter thermostats to pilot programs in 1,000 city homes.
Energy Smart Miami piggybacks on a series of already planned upgrades to the Miami area electric grid that has been in the works from FPL and California-based Silver Spring Networks. In the new project, GE will provide one million smart meters to the project, with the potential to upgrade to 4.5 million, enough to cover FPL’s entire customer base in Miami-Dade. Silver Spring Networks will provide the technology to link those smart meters, and Cisco is spearheading the in-home smart devices and home dashboards in 1,000 residences.
Smart Grids have the potential to defer investments in long distance transmission lines and maximize the efficient use of the existing transmission/distribution infrastructure. For consumers, it sets the table so that electricity can be used more efficiently and provides a technological platform for the electric transportation system of the future.