South Sudanese Ministers Tour Bluebonnet Smart Grid

May 15, 2009

BASTROP, Texas, May 15 /PRNewswire/ — A Senior delegation from the government of Southern Sudan arrived in Texas on Sunday for a weeklong program of discussions with public and private sector companies. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative was selected to host the officials Friday morning to provide a tour of the nation’s first implemented smart grid system.

“We are excited to host the South Sudanese leaders and hear about their plans to develop a smart grid,” said Matt Bentke, COO of Bluebonnet Electric Coop. “As a rural electrical coop that has successfully implemented a smart grid, we believe we will be able to share ideas and best practices that will be particularly helpful to this group.”

Former United States Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Refugee Affairs, Eugene Douglas of Austin, and Nile Trading & Development of Dallas organized this effort, making it the first of its kind in Texas. During a working visit to the country last fall, Douglas discussed the region’s most urgent priorities with its leaders and found that Texas has an opportunity to assist Southern Sudan with its efforts to rebuild.

Southern Sudan will hold a referendum in 2011 to determine whether the current Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan remains part of a “Unity Government” or becomes a fully sovereign and independent state. If a new, independent state prevails, officials want the focus to be on a green economy with emphasis on environmental management, clean air and water and alternate energy.

This morning, a senior delegation from the government of Southern Sudan consisting of four senior cabinet ministers, the deputy governor of the State of Central Equatoria and the director general of power supply took a tour of Bluebonnet’s smart grid control room to increase their knowledge and discuss the country’s need of alternate energy choices.

Bluebonnet began its smart grid project five years ago. Since then, the cooperative has installed a two-way grid along 11,000 miles of line and deployed 80,000 smart meters, covering the entire service territory. The cooperative was able to fully implement the smart grid with only two minimal rate increases, and over the course of the project, it was able to utilize the newly implemented technology to save money.

“We modernized our infrastructure and information and outage management systems without a pilot program,” said Mark Rose, CEO of Bluebonnet Electric Coop. “And we accomplished this transition while maintaining a strong equity ratio and rates that were among the lowest in our peer group.”

Bluebonnet’s vision is to go a step further by implementing a Sustainable Grid(TM), which encompasses three main ideas: Net Energy Market, Economic Development and Education Empowerment. Members will be able to generate electricity, conserve electricity and shift their load at peak times. This will empower members with the right to know and control their electric usage and the right to be a full partner in generating the electricity they use. Fundamentally, the goal is to neutralize, if not reduce, the system’s impact on the overall state grid.

About Bluebonnet

Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Texas and has been serving its members since 1939. Bluebonnet serves 80,000 meters and owns and maintains 11,000 miles of power lines, located across more than 3,800 square miles within 14 Central Texas counties. Bluebonnet’s service area stretches from Travis County to Washington County and from Milam County down to Gonzales County. For more information about Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, go to www.bluebonnetelectric.coop.

SOURCE Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative

Source: newswire

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