One of the key reasons for the momentum behind upgrading the smart grid is because of the smart grid’s potential to reduce the environmental impact of our energy use. Now that the smart grid rollout is well under way in Illinois, ComEd, with the help of the Environmental Defense Fund and our partner, Citizens Utility Board, have begun to collect data to help the utility understand if it’s achieving this goal.
Last March, ComEd adopted a system for how to track the environmental impact of the smart grid. According to Midwest Energy News, “Just one month after announcing the metric, ComEd quietly issued preliminary data from its emissions tracking efforts, showing that in 2015, residential ComEd customers with smart meters emitted roughly 161,000 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide than residential ComEd customers without smart meters.” That’s a huge difference! And that’s not all. The company also reported that the smart grid infrastructure helped them reduce the transportation emissions from their trucks, since fewer customers needed to get their meters read.
The process of collecting data about the smart grid and relating it to environmental impact is complex — so utilities are still working through how to do it well, and not all Illinois utilities have jumped on board. In the meantime, ComEd’s data certainly gives us a lot of hope about the future of the smart grid for keeping our planet green!