The Triangle region has become a national hub for the emerging Smart Grid industry. Smart Grid is a digital technology used to monitor and regulate the movement of electricity from the power plant to homes and businesses.
Over the next decade, smart grids are expected to replace the nation’s aging mechanical power grid. Upon full development and implementation, the smart grid will function like the energy Internet, allowing homeowners to track their individual energy consumption in real time and make remote cost-saving energy adjustments.
According to Duke University’s Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness, there are nearly 60 companies in the Triangle currently working in various aspects of the Smart Grid Industry. Twenty of those companies are headquartered in the region. Both Duke University and Wake County Economic Development estimate that 3,000 people locally work in the industry.
Consert, a local Raleigh business that allows homeowners to regulate their energy usage, is installing the state’s first two-way interactive Smart Grid network. It is expected to save participants 6.5% on their monthly power bills.
One major regional Smart Grid development is North Carolina State University’s research in plug-in electric car technology. Hundreds of charging stations are planned to be created for public use, with some already in use in downtown Raleigh.
Among smart grid companies headquartered or located in the Triangle are ABB, Siemens, Sensus, Elster, Consert, and Treuveon. IBM, Cisco Systems, Cree and SAS are also involved in Smart Grid technology.