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Energy Department: Digital Tech Transforms U.S. Electric Grid

power gridPublic and private sector investments of more than $9 billion since 2010 have helped to grow smart grid technology deployments, the Energy Department said in a report.

DOE said in the 2014 Smart Grid System Report submitted to Congress that digital technology applications have transformed the U.S. electric grid as new policies spur growth of energy resources and customers and businesses alike take part in generating and managing energy.

Electricity customers are able to gain access to information in order to manage their consumption using smart meters, communication networks and information management systems, according to the report.

DOE estimates that smart meter installations will reach 65 million nationwide by 2015.

The Oklahoma Gas and Electric is seeing reduced peak demand with the integration of metering infrastructure with time-based rates and in-home displays and the utility could defer the construction of a 170-megawatt power plant, DOE said.

Utilities are also able to detect and locate disruptions, as well as monitor the status of assets to schedule maintenance works, the report says.

“In addition, utilities are upgrading and integrating computer systems to improve and merge grid operations and business processes,” DOE said.

“The integration of these technologies and practices will require a faster-acting, more flexible grid and new business and regulatory approaches,” the department added.

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