Kentucky's Public Service Commission may invest in smart grid technology in the near future, according to local NPR station WFPL News. Before moving ahead with any major plans, the PSC will hold two public meetings to gauge consumers' interest in and opinions of a smart grid. It will also accept written comments through Feb. 27, 2015.
The meetings will include presentations by the PSC covering the possible costs of implementing smart grid systems, technical issues, societal impacts and more, according to the McCreary County Record.
A long road to smart technology
Smart grid is an umbrella term covering numerous devices such as advanced electronic meters for homes. It enables utilities to determine pricing more accurately based on usage and demand. PSC opened the smart grid case in 2012, according to a news release. Since then, the commissioners have researched and gathered information regarding smart grid systems and benefits.
All four investor-owned utilities in Kentucky, Louisville Gas and Electric, Kentucky Utilities, Duke Energy and Kentucky Power, are all have a stake in the potential smart grid project. However, what specific smart grid initiatives they would implement has not yet been decided.
The case file includes the results of a comprehensive study for developing the smart grid in the state by the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. The "Kentucky Smart Grid Roadmap" includes data collected by researchers, and six main recommendations:
- The establishment of a Kentucky Smart Grid Council
- The funding of technology development research and policy within the state's universities
- The encouragement of investment in high bandwidth data networks
- The creation of a regulatory mechanism to increase investments in energy-efficient technologies
- The allowance of real-time and multitariff pricing
- The establishment of clear metrics and goals for smart grid implementation in the state
Following the end of the public commenting period, the PSC is expected to make a decision within 6 to 8 months.