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Energy Efficiency New York City Lights

Published on July 17th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Smart Grid Technology Helps New York City

July 17th, 2010 by  

New York City Lights


An old Cleantechnica writer (actually, our previous editor), arielschwartz/, wrote a great article this week on how a nascent smart grid helped to prevent brownouts and blackouts in New York during a record-breaking heat wave earlier this month.

Although our nation’s electricity grid has a ways to go before we can really call it a smart grid, it is great to see that initial updates and changes are already making a difference.

Here’s the part of the article about how New York City’s utility, Con Edison, used smart grid technology to help keep the grid up:

It wasn’t easy for New York City’s utility Con Edison to prevent brownouts and blackouts as the heat wave mounted. The utility went so far as to call individual customers, pleading with them to turn off nonessential appliances.

But Con Ed had a backup weapon in its fight against blackouts: an initiative that lets the utility reprogram thermostats in 20,000 homes and businesses outfitted with central air-conditioning systems. When the heat wave began, Con Ed sent radio signals to the thermostats, triggering them to cycle on and off every half hour. The initiative saved 25 megawatts of energy during peak demand last week—enough to at least partially prevent the grid from collapsing.

To read more on development of the smart grid across the US, read Ariel’s full article on GOOD.IS, “Battling Heat Waves by Making the Grid Smarter.”

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Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs via flickr 
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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media:, .

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