Cisco, GE in $200 million Miami smart grid project

Cisco is part of an alliance of companies looking to provide the City of Miami with $200 million in "smart grid" renewable energy technology over two years. The other companies are GE, Florida Power & Light, and Silver Spring Networks.

The money will come from federal stimulus funds, according to Cisco. Cisco recently announced an initiative to team with cities globally on green projects.

The initiative, called "Energy Smart Miami," is intended to help Miami-Dade County consumers save money by giving them more choices over how they consume and conserve electrical power. It would also generate near-term demand for "green collar jobs" to support its implementation, and help encourage environmental practices to address longer-term climate changes that pose a threat to Florida and its coastal regions, Cisco says.

Energy Smart Miami is estimated to generate demand for 800 to 1,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly involved in the deployment, during the two-year implementation period, Cisco says.

Energy Smart Miami will deploy more than 1 million wireless "smart meters" to homes and businesses in Miami-Dade County to give FPL and its customers information on energy usage, efficiency and reliability. The smart meters will be based on a network architecture that allows other providers to develop and deploy applications that could help consumers better manage the electricity usage of their air conditioning and appliances, Cisco says.

The project has the support of Carol Browner, President Barack Obama's point person on energy and climate change, Cisco says.

FPL is leading the strategy and deployment of smart grid technologies for the project. GE will supply smart meters, and possibly applications and smarter control systems. Silver Spring Networks will provide secure wireless network communications. Cisco will help design and implement a communications infrastructure within the county's transmission and distribution grid, and provide customers with home energy management information and controls.

Contingent on receiving this federal support, Energy Smart Miami could begin later this year and be completed by the end of 2011. Over the next five years, FPL intends to expand the project to a total of more than 4 million homes in Florida. The cost of expanding smart meters outside of Miami-Dade County represents a $500 million investment in addition to the $200 million proposed in support of Energy Smart Miami.

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