Last week, I traveled to Jupiter, Florida, to celebrate the completion of a milestone effort to enhance the reliability and resiliency of the electric grid. Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) Recovery Act-funded project will help in better understanding the health of the grid, identifying issues before they become problems and speeding restoration of power following storms.
Being there to witness the culmination of FPL’s smart grid overhaul brought back memories of when it all began. Back in October 2009, at the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, President Obama announced the launch of the $3.4 billion Smart Grid Investment Grant program. As part of this first-of-its-kind initiative, nearly $8 billion in public- and private-sector funding was committed to this innovative grid modernization effort.
The FPL project was extensive, touching every aspect of FPL infrastructure, from inside the home and up on the rooftops all the way up to transmission lines and substations. Boosted by these smart grid investments, FPL not only accelerated its grid modernization efforts but also fostered greater innovation among employees and suppliers. This includes the expansion of FPL’s Enhanced Performance Diagnostic Centers -- where data from the grid will be used to help shorten and reduce the impact of power outages, and prevent many potential outages before they occur. FPL has also installed 4.5 million smart meters in homes in its service area -- empowering consumers to better understand and take control of their home energy use.
Our partnership with FPL, and with other utilities and companies we work with to modernize the United States electric grid, is as valuable as the project itself. This project, and others like it, will help light the way forward – moving us more quickly to a smarter, more resilient electric grid.
To learn more about national efforts to modernize the electric grid, visit the website of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.