Empowering a Smart Community

That's just what an electric utility did with the launch of its smart grid pilot project.

The future of utility grid technologies is unfolding in the urban core of Kansas City, Missouri, improving reliable service, reducing operational costs and enhancing opportunities for consumer management of energy costs.

The stats behind the SmartGrid Demonstration Project (SGDP) in Kansas City's Midtown area might not seem overly impressive at first glance: 14,000 customers, 150-block radius, 11 highly automated feeders, a modernized substation and a variety of customer programs. However, by connecting them all with the right equipment, integrated software and experienced personnel, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) created a model for the nation’s utilities to dream big and move toward smart cities goals.

Partially financed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the $58 million project provided a fully integrated demonstration of power grid modernization within the economically challenged area.

“The goal of this project was to deploy end-to-end smart grid technologies to a small geographic footprint of the KCP&L service territory, focusing on interoperability and emerging smart grid standards,” says Meghan Calabro, an electrical engineer and department manager at Burns & McDonnell. “KCP&L then shared lessons learned with the industry so other utilities can benefit from the pilot project experience.”

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