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GE Supplies Smart Appliances To Martha's Vineyard Pilot Program
Jan 6, 2011
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GE will supply dozens of consumers on Martha's Vineyard with Profile appliances and Nucleus energy managers to help them more efficiently manage energy use, while helping Vineyard Energy Project (VEP) and the Vineyard Power Co-Op understand the role of smart grid technologies in operating a more independent power grid.

VEP, a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of clean and sustainable energy, received nearly $800,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy to implement smart grid technologies, including smart appliances.

As part of this two-year pilot, about 120 Profile appliances enabled with GE's Brillion technology will be placed in 35 households, which will also receive the Nucleus energy manager. Fifteen homes will receive just Nucleus and potentially a control switch on a suitable appliance, such as a legacy hot water heater. To help utilities manage growing peak demand, these technologies can receive and respond to price and "demand response" signals from power companies to lower, or delay, power consumption during certain hours of the day.

Demand response programs can help utilities avoid building more power plants by empowering and incenting consumers to lower their demand during "peak" hours. During peak hours, electricity demands and costs are highest — often between 2 PM and 7 PM. Reducing energy use during peak hours also reduces the island's need to purchase back-up power to meet demand during energy spikes.

VEP's long-term vision for the Co-Op is to provide 100% of the island's power with wind and solar energy during the off-season, when the island is home to 16,000 permanent residents. In summer, when the island population can reach 110,000, Martha's Vineyard would purchase power to supplement wind and solar. Smart grid, and demand response-enabled technologies, could help the island better manage the balance of energy supply and demand.

Brillion-enabled appliances include refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, the new GeoSpring hybrid water heater, ranges, microwaves, and clothes dryers. VEP pilot customers will receive between three and eight appliances.

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