Smart Technology Reshaping the Future of Energy

by Helena Hernandez

From developing new, sustainable methods of power generation to expanding transmission and distribution efficiencies to levels once considered unimaginable, FPL is moving full speed ahead to provide our customers with America’s best energy value at costs below the national average.

Along the way, a key cornerstone has emerged in everything we do and touch: smart technology.

It’s been nothing short of a game-changer.

Our journey into the world of grid automation began more than a dozen years ago with the deployment of digitized smart meters. Developed to help customers more accurately assess and manage their bills, it was a true customer-service tool, and the technologies that brought the smart meter to life soon began migrating across the overhead grid, in the form of automated smart switches, fault current indicators and other intelligent devices perched high atop power poles and tied into the lines.

 

fpl worker in a bucket truck working on a power line

Automated feeder switches, like this one, are able to redistribute power and avoid customer outages when problems occur.

fpl worker installing a meter

The deployment of smart meters laid the groundwork for other intelligent technologies used throughout the grid that help maximize service reliability for customers.

 

These devices have become instrumental in how we monitor the flow and distribution of electricity, digitally communicating data and information back and forth across our vast network to identify potential issues. Fault current indicators, for example, identify faults on lines, greatly narrowing troubled areas so crews can more efficiently locate and fix problems. Automated smart switches, meanwhile, are self-powered and self-healing in nature, able to redistribute power and avoid customer outages whenever problems do occur.

The sum result of our adoption of smart-grid technology can clearly be seen in our reliability data.

In 2020, FPL achieved a nearly 40% improvement in reliability for our 5.6 million customers since 2006, a company-best, marked by drastic reductions in both the number of customer power outages and their durations.

We have installed more than 5 million smart meters and over 155,000 intelligent devices along the grid since 2006, and with a continued eye on the future, we are taking these intelligent technologies in a whole new direction - underground.

Just as we currently install about 90% of our new power lines underground, we are developing smart devices across key areas of the underground grid, strategically placing them where they can most efficiently help prevent outages for thousands of customers.

It is simply the latest evolution in a long line of technology milestones in which FPL is helping lead the nation.

As 2021 commences, there’s no question that a fundamental shift and transformation is occurring before our very eyes. Electricity, once regarded as a mere commodity that powered other industries and communities, quickly is emerging as a core technology sector all its own.

As we pivot toward emissions-free solar power generation, battery storage facilities and a green hydrogen pilot project, it will be our ever-evolving smart-grid – packed with technology and backed by robust infrastructure – that will deliver America’s best energy value to your front doorstep.

Helena Hernandez

Vice President, Smart Grid & Innovation