ComEd & Metropolitan Mayors Caucus collaborate to create national model to advance smart city so
ComEd and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) announced today a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will support the study and development of new energy efficiency programs, smart streetlights, and community and residential solar and other infrastructure projects. The MOU provides for a one-of-a-kind collaboration between ComEd and the MMC to develop a pilot for a national model on how utilities and municipalities can work together to create greener, more resilient and sustainable communities.
The announcement follows a green light from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) last month that established “smart” as the new standard for all streetlights that ComEd owns in northern Illinois. The new standard is expected to accelerate the deployment of smart LED street lighting service that will leverage the wireless communications network used by ComEd’s new smart grid platform that allows for two-way communication between the utility and its customers.
This new initiative will also get a boost from the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), which was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Rauner last year. It goes into effect in June and will increase funding for energy efficiency from $250 million to $400 million annually by 2030. These funds create savings opportunities for all customer classes, including municipalities, supporting the development of new energy efficiency programs as well as the conversion of current municipal lighting systems to smart LED streetlights.
For the past six years, MMC has served as administrator of energy efficiency programs for the public sector through a program formally managed by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The ICC recently granted a petition proposed by ComEd and the DCEO that will allow ComEd to assume responsibility for the program.
Preliminary discussions between ComEd and the MMC have been focused on development of projects to convert existing street lights to more efficient LEDs, which consume as little as one-third of the energy and last up to one and a half times as long as the fixtures they replace. In 2015, ComEd launched smart streetlight pilot projects in Bensenville and Lombard. Informed by learnings from these pilots, ComEd is developing plans to replace all 140,000 ComEd-owned municipal streetlights with LED streetlights beginning later this year.
One of the first programs that the MMC will manage for ComEd under the MOU is a series of workshops with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association in south Cook County to help municipalities identify potential projects that they’d like to pursue.
Connecting smart streetlights to the ComEd smart grid allows communities to remotely and instantaneously dim lights for energy savings and brighten them for greater safety. They can also be controlled on-demand by first responders to better manage emergency situations.
Smart streetlights can also serve as a backbone for sensor-based, smart city features that allow for a broad range of solutions, from intelligent waste management to air quality monitoring, snow removal monitoring and traffic management.