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Pecan Street Project draws federal stimulus funding for Mueller project
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 by John Davidson
Congressman Lloyd Doggett, along with Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Austin Energy General Manager Roger Duncan, made the announcement Tuesday afternoon at the site of the city’s former airport. It came just hours after Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced the award as part of DOE’s $184 million in clean energy technology grants.
“We gather in this vibrant new neighborhood, where planes once took off and landed in
The project is designed to be a kind of large-scale clean energy laboratory that will test out new, hi-tech systems for generating and distributing solar power and energy conservation.
At the heart of what
“This is a giant step forward for the City of
Austin Energy, a recognized national leader in alternative energy, will use this platform as way to test and evaluate the smart grid technology, which allows for a two-way flow of information and energy.
“Right now, in general, our system has a power plant in one place and a building in another place and a one-way flow of communication and power,” Duncan said. “Now we’re talking about developing power on different structures through solar and then moving that energy back and forth over the grid and communicating with each other.”
The non-profit Pecan Street Project includes a host of partners, including the city, the
The Mueller development has 1,000 residential meters and 75 commercial meters. All of the development will participate in the project in some form, including about 100 homes and four commercial buildings with solar installations. About 20 homes will have smart irrigation systems.
Four teams from the
“The stimulus award will provide our effort a significant jumpstart at a time when many cities and utilities are competing for leadership in tomorrow’s energy market,” said Brewster McCracken, federal grants manager with Pecan Street Project, Inc. “We intend to make the Mueller neighborhood an example of what modern neighborhoods can accomplish with smarter energy management, clean energy generation and advanced system integration.
By testing new energy conservation and smart grid technologies on a large scale, architects of the project hope to model the way energy grids will function in the future, including everything from smart thermostats to advanced billing software.
“That’s one of the things we have to learn about, is what happens when you have a hundred homes that are all producing their own energy,” he said.
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