Kansas City will test advances in smart grid

Kansas City’s urban core in the Green Impact Zone will be the testing ground for advances in the smart grid, which is the name for a project to upgrade electrical devices in your home and upgrade power lines in the area.

“The rest of the country is looking to Kansas City to lead on this,” said Danny Rotert, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Kansas City Democrat who has been the driving force behind the green zone.

Boulder, Colo., already has installed an advanced smart grid designed to reduce energy costs and provide the potential for renewable energy. Now Kansas City Power & Light is looking to try the next generation of smart grid in the green zone, the $200 million effort to make 150 blocks in central Kansas City more energy efficient.

“The green zone is really a sandbox to deploy some of these newer technologies,” said Chuck Caisley, a KCP&L spokesman.

To simplify, think of power lines becoming two-way, like the Internet. That lets you see in real time how much energy you’re using, and possibly cut back. And it lets utility companies monitor — and at times control — how much power you’re using.

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