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U.S., Russia collaborate on a smart grid program

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart grid? energy efficiency? clean energy?

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu will be in Moscow to chair the U.S.CRussia Presidential Bilateral Commission's Energy Working Group, partly to implement a smart grid partnership program.

A smart grid memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the cities and utilities of San Diego�and Belgorod, Russia, builds on an earlier exchange involving utilities and regulators in Texas and federal and utility officials in Kaluga, Russia.

In June 2010, the United States Agency for International Development and the Russian Energy Agency (REA) signed a Protocol of Intent to deepen collaboration on energy efficiency, "smart grid" technology, and clean energy.

U.S. Energy Association (USEA), an industry group, and REA developed a two-year cooperative work plan to come up with a joint Russian/American study on regulatory, commercial, market structure and consumer impediments to smart grid deployment in the United States and Russia.

This plan followed exchanges with Texas organizations: Center for Commercialization of Electric Technologies; Public Utility Commission of Texas; City of Austin, Texas; Austin Energy; Blue Bonnet Electric Cooperative; Center Point Energy; Electric Reliability Corporation of Texas; and American Electric Power.

CenterPoint Energy, Austin Energy and Echelon Corp. traveled to Russia to conduct an exchange visit with JSC Kalugaenergo in March 2011. The Kaluga oblast (region) is experiencing challenges meeting electricity demand due to rapid economic development fueled by foreign investment.

The utilities discussed the potential for smart grid technology to improve both end user efficiency and the efficiency of the local distribution network as a mechanism for the oblast administration to meet demand and improve energy service delivery.

The next month, representatives from Belgorodeenergo and the Belgorod Oblast Administration traveled to San Diego and Silicon Valley for meetings with the City of San Diego, San Diego Gas & Electric, Intel; Cisco Systems; Silver Spring Networks; Qualcomm; OnRamp Technologies; and Clean Tech San Diego. These discussions focused on the implementation of wireless technology in meter and distribution network smart grid technology deployment.

A joint regulatory study commences this month and the initial business roundtable is scheduled in Moscow in September/October.

In Moscow, Chu will also meet with Rusnano officials to discuss Russian innovation in nanotechnology, and with the Russian Federal Power Grid Company to discuss power grid modernization and energy efficiency, which is to pave the way for U.S. investment and clean technology exports to Russia.

"From clean energy to nuclear security, the United States and Russia have a growing number of opportunities for partnerships that can benefit both countries and the world," says Secretary Chu in a statement.

Chu's itinerary includes visits to St. Petersburg, and the closed city of Sarov where he will visit Sarov's All-Russian Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF), considered the "Los Alamos" of Russia, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary.

In St.Petersburg, he will visit the Optogan LED factory, a Russian-owned facility that produces LED lighting products. He will also tour the St. Petersburg seaport to review radiation detection systems installed in cooperation with the National Nuclear Security Administration's "Second Line of Defense" program.

- Nicolas Mokhoff
??EE Times

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