MINNEAPOLIS; Jan. 23, 2008 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has teamed with Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL), a U.S. electric and natural gas company, to build the “smart grid city of the future,” a fully inter-connected electricity system that manages the various parts of the energy grid that produce power and deliver electricity to customers.
A “smart grid” is a power system that combines traditional and new technology to manage the flow of energy more effectively and efficiently than previously possible and offers comprehensive solutions to environmental challenges facing the industry.
Accenture is a member of the cross functional team established by Xcel Energy to provide guidance as well as the products and services needed to bring Xcel Energy’s vision of a smart grid city to life. The team brings together information technology specialists, engineering firms including Current Group, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Ventyx, and business leaders.
Accenture’s role is to project manage the integration and management of data flow, including automating processes, transmission and distribution of electricity, and to help Xcel Energy manage the Smart Grid City project. In addition, Accenture will build an innovation center for Xcel Energy that will provide a lab-like environment in which Accenture and Xcel Energy will test smart grid concepts including power outages, reliability, and their potential impacts to the Smart Grid. The goal is to help Xcel Energy transform its operations to perform at a higher level and enhance its customer service.
Among the team’s initial tasks will be the selection of a mid-size community with a population of 50,000 to 100,000 residents to become a designated “Smart Grid City.” The city will represent the consumer end of the smart grid, with a fully inter-connected system managing the various parts of the energy grid involved in producing power and delivering it to customers. The city will be a real-world demonstration for emerging intelligent grid technologies and deployment strategies. The goal is to create an international showcase of smart-grid possibilities and evaluate their environmental, financial and operational benefits.
“Xcel Energy should be applauded for this industry-leading vision,” said David Rouls, global lead for Accenture Solutions for Networked Assets for Utilities. “This is not just a conceptual laboratory, but a real demonstration of how the smart grid will affect an actual city. Among the many benefits this project can provide are increased use of renewable energy source, smarter energy management, greater grid reliability and increased energy efficiency.”
“The analog grid has served its purpose for the last half century, but the future requires an integrated, digital smart grid,” said Ray Gogel, Xcel Energy’s chief administrative officer and vice president of customer and enterprise solutions. “This next-generation grid will allow customers to better manage their energy consumption while optimizing the grid through real-time generation management and distribution controls. Smart Grid City will be the first community with a fully integrated portfolio of smart-grid technologies designed to offer environmental, financial and operational benefits.”
Xcel Energy has narrowed the site location for Smart Grid City to several cities in its eight-state service territory in the West and Midwest of the United States. The team will announce the selected city in March 2008 and begin the building phase in April 2008.
“Smart Grid City has the potential to shape and transform the future of the electric grid, utilities operation and delivery,” said David Bieber, managing director of Accenture’s Utilities industry group in North America. “The customer can expect lower bills, access to intelligent home appliances, and utilities that can support plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.”
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 175,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$19.70 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2007. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com.
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