Discussion: EPB, a Chatanooga, Tennessee, utility company, hit two milestones in the last two weeks of 2010: It completed the final touches on one of the fastest Internet pipelines in the world (200 times faster than the average U.S. download speed), and it activated the first automated switches on its electricity network (which is expected to save 40% over the next 18 months). Citing “huge similarities” between high-power communications and electric networks, EPB uses software and communication technology to optimize equipment for actual usage patterns. This marriage of high speed Internet and smart grid is expected to save the utility and area businesses tens of millions of dollars annually.
Date: January 23, 2011
Questions for discussion:
- What are data points and how will they help EPB become more efficient?
- Discuss how EPB’s new pulse-closing switch technology reduces costs over the conventional reclosers.
- What percentage of energy does EPB lose due to transformers that are often larger than necessary for their load?