The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said it will fund $61 million for 10 pilot projects that will deploy new technology for thousands of homes and workplaces to accelerate renewable energy adoption and grid resilience.
The 10 connected communities will equip more than 7,000 buildings with smart controls, sensors, and analytics to reduce energy use, costs, and emissions. The technology will allow building systems to interact with the electrical grid to optimize energy consumption.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said the projects will “help universalize the technology” and further efforts towards “a carbon-neutral, clean energy economy by 2050.” Connected communities of grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs) use smart controls, sensors, and analytics to communicate with the electric grid, reducing the amount of energy they require during periods of peak demand.
A recent DOE study estimated that by 2030 GEBs could save up to $18 billion per year in power system costs and cut 80 million tons of carbon emissions each year. That is more than the annual emissions of 50 medium-sized coal plants or 17 million cars. DOE says its first two connected communities in Alabama and Georgia have already demonstrated this potential by using 42%-44% less energy than today’s average all-electric home.