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Enterprising Electricity: Putting Theory into Practice

March 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Electricity is so integral to our lives, but humanity’s ever-growing need for it is defacing the planet. There are many ideas on how to stop this, but to have an effect, those ideas need to take root in the real world.

By Matt Baker

Four years ago, the Illinois Institute of Technology transformed into an island. The 50+ buildings that make up the Bronzeville campus were put on a microgrid—a network of buildings, batteries and energy sources that can be detached, or “islanded,” from the power grid.

The benefits of a microgrid are numerous. They can function independently when necessary, such as during a power outage. Energy efficiency is another advantage; through the use of solar and wind generation, the IIT microgrid reduces the university’s power consumption by $1 million annually and carbon dioxide emissions are trimmed by 7%. On-site batteries store excess electricity while sensors in and around the campus buildings track energy use for optimal deployment.
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Environmental Law & Policy Center Sets the Standard for Downtown Offices

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Operating under the premise that ecological progress and economic development are not mutually exclusive, the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) advocates for sustainability policies across the Midwest. Founded in 1993, the non-profit, public interest organization has notched a number of victories, especially lately. Illinois utilities, for example, must increase solar energy purchasing starting next year, legislation due largely to the efforts of the ELPC. They also helped broker the nation’s largest urban solar plant, which was installed in 2010 on the city’s Pullman neighborhood. The multidisciplinary staff is now focused on cleaning the Chicago River, installing controls at coal plants and bringing high speed rail to the Midwest.
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Quinn to ComEd: Smart Grid Deal Needs Some Work

May 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn quashed any hope of support that Commonwealth Edison had for its proposal to construct a smart electric grid. According to a Chicago Tribune report, Quinn argues that, in its current form, the deal would allow ComEd and other utilities to hike rates without state approval.
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New Smart Grid Partnership Creates a World First in Chicago

July 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

A signing ceremony today set into the motion a first-of-its-kind partnership to bring new smart grid innovations to Chicago. The deal is a cooperation between the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC), the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), the Citizens Utility Board and several South Korean government and private interests, including Korea Telecom and LG Electronics. The public-private partnership is expected to provide more than $20 million to develop technological infrastructure, deploy energy optimization solutions, improve grid security and create a green collar workforce.
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Smart Grid 101

March 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Michael Munson, Metropolitan Energy and
Michael Cornicelli, BOMA/Chicago

What is Smart Grid? Smart grid is a term with varied meanings to different audiences. The multitude of perspectives makes it difficult for consumers and businesses to identify what it is, understand how it applies or grasp the potential benefits and costs associated. An interesting parallel may have occurred in the 1980’s as people attempted to define the “internet” or “cyberspace.” At that time, it was a tool used by the government and university researchers with rooms full of mainframe computers. Today, it’s something that we carry with us by way of the iPhone and Blackberry. Caveats aside, the term “smart grid” represents a technology vision to optimize efficient electricity information, transfer and use.
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