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Creating a Smarter Grid One Street at a Time

Did you know 62 million electric meters in the United States will be "smart" by the end of 2012? But these smart meters provide limited data. Intel is working with Pecan Street Inc. to test technology that can help consumers make better choices about energy use in their homes.

Smart grid community provides insights for a sustainable future

When hundreds of neighbors are installing solar panels on their homes should they face south or west in order to best impact the energy grid? And what happens to that same grid when roughly a quarter of those same folks start using electric cars on the same day?

Do these questions sound far-fetched? Not in Austin, Texas, where researchers are carrying out a comprehensive consumer-oriented smart grid project.

Pecan Street

It’s called Pecan Street, and it involves hundreds of homes, schools, businesses, and
one of the largest supercomputers in the world—not to mention the largest concentration of electric cars found anywhere.

Intel technology touches many parts of the huge project, from the sensors in the buildings to the supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas.

Intel-sensor technology measures energy usage in the buildings and then streams that data to TACC. There, Intel®-based servers analyze huge amounts of data, charting usage patterns, visualizing data, and helping researchers discover how they might better implement advanced energy management systems.

“Pecan Street is bringing consumers into the energy world in a way that empowers them to make better decisions and use energy more wisely,” says John C. Thomas, Director of the North American Energy Sector Platform Strategy at Intel.

Energy efficiency

Energy-efficient technology

The Pecan Street Inc. project will eventually reveal which appliances and devices are most efficient and where home-based energy production is best utilized.

Big Data

Big Data intelligence

The Intel technology-enabled Pecan Street Inc. project connects hundreds of homes, schools, and businesses in Austin and Dallas to a supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center.

Paul Navrátil

Energy infrastructure

"The idea is to lay out the path forward for the national energy infrastructure," says Paul
Navrátil, a researcher with the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) who is working
on the Pecan Street project.