KCUR News
8:06 pm
Tue November 24, 2009

$24-Million Federal Grant Powers Smart Grid Plan

Kansas City, MO – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and officials of Kansas City Power and Light announced a $24 million federal grant for the Green Impact Zone on Tuesday. The money will be used to develop a state-of-the-art "smart grid" electrical power system in the central east-side district.

The stimulus money will pay half the cost of a $48 million project that aims to install the new technology in what has been a disadvantaged area of the city.

KCP&L vice president Mike Degendorf says the power grid will give instant feedback to computers that can predict the possibility of a system overload and instantly identify where a storm has damaged a power line or transformer: "Sometimes you won't even see it occurring because it [the smart grid system]predicts what is going to happen."

For customers, new digital meters will give customers a better picture of how much energy they are using and allow them to automate things like thermostat settings to keep the electric bill down.

Degendorf says KCP&L will start on the infrastructure after the first of the year and will be installing the in-house displays and home energy management systems in 2012.