As chief architect of Xcel Energy’s Smart Grid City project in Boulder, Colo., Ray Gogel served on the front lines in the industry’s technology revolution.
With the Smart Grid City project, Xcel proposes to create America’s first fully functional intelligent grid, with communications and automation systems linking the network from end to end, power plants to meters. Although Xcel still is deploying the system, Gogel says the project already has yielded some important results. Most notably, it’s shown that the early payoff from smart-grid investments won’t necessarily come from automated metering, but from automation in the distribution network—the “middle mile.”
Moreover, he says, these investments are driving the industry toward a new world of risks and opportunities for utilities.
Fortnightly spoke with Gogel in late 2009, after he left Xcel to take the helm at Current Group—one of the companies that’s providing distribution automation technology for Xcel’s Smart Grid City.
Fortnightly: What do you mean by the “middle mile,” and why is it important?