Duke Energy is headquartered in Charlotte, NC, but has a substantial presence in Northern Kentucky and the tri-state region. The company provides electricity to 1.6 million and gas to 500,000 homes and businesses in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Duke, a Fortune 500 company, is one of the nation's largest electric power holding companies, with $54.7 billion in total assets and 18,650 nationwide.
Northern Kentucky is the site of one of the company's most intriguing forays into the emerging energy conscious consumer market, with the "smart home." Located in Erlanger, KY, it's one of the company's two demonstration sites (the other is in Raleigh, NC) that highlight new and future technologies that allow individuals and businesses to better control their energy use.
This $1 million, high-tech center resembles a Hollywood movie set, with a model kitchen, garage, and apartment complex, all circa 2015. The 15,000 sq. ft. setting also features a substation that provides two-way digital communication between the smart home and Duke Energy.
The main feature of the smart home is a digital energy management system that controls appliances including dishwashers, washers and dryers, water heaters and thermostats. This system allows homeowners to run large appliances at off-peak energy times, lowering energy costs. It can be controlled in-home or remotely, and will let homeowners set temperatures in the most energy efficient way. The system would be purchased separately through a third-party seller.
Many of these smart technologies exist today. What is new is the ability to control your home remotely and communicate directly with the electricity provider, which is part of the federal "Smart Grid" power movement. Residents and businesses in Ohio and Kentucky will be among the first in the country to experience Smart Grid technology with smart meters, which allow for more accurate billing and more personal control of individual electric and gas usage.
In fall 2009 the company received a federal stimulus award of $200 million for additional smart grid improvements in Ohio and Indiana.
Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Duke Energy