This week, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC) announced the signing of several agreements for first-of-their-kind smart grid innovations. The four projects, each backed through a parallel South Korean public-private partnership, are expected to provide more than $20 million to develop technological infrastructure, deploy energy optimization solutions, improve grid cyber-security, and create a workforce ready to develop next generation energy solutions.
- Illinois Smart Buildings Project: Supported by BOMA-Chicago, this project will include deep energy audits on loop-area high-rises in order to set up a multi-building regulation services and energy efficiency project. Installing new technologies to network buildings and enabling smart grid strategies – such as demand response and variable operations of building systems – allows large properties to reduce energy use and costs.
- Building Energy Management Systems and Distributed Energy Resources Integration: The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) will sign two agreements to conduct research and development to improve building energy management systems, develop distribution automation strategies, and integrate renewable energy sources and energy storage technologies into the smart grid and increase power systems reliability.
- Global Workforce Training and Development: IIT and ADICA will build out professional training and development programs in this sector to solidify Illinois as a hotbed for education and training opportunities in the smart grid sector. This center will recruit industry professionals to develop new strategies and techniques for business innovations that will result from the deployment of a smart grid.
In the last 18 months, companies and institutions such as the Illinois Institute of Technology, S&C Electric Company, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning/City of Chicago have collectively been awarded nearly $120 million for smart grid and energy efficiency projects. These projects are adding to the early green economy leadership demonstrated Mayor Daley’s Chicago Climate Action Plan and Governor Quinn’s efforts to make Illinois a leading provider of clean, renewable energy.