“Illinois has quickly become a hub for the R&D, manufacturing, development and financing of smart grid and energy projects. We can use our existing intellectual and human capital to ensure we serve as a model for the rest of the world.”
-Mohammad Shahidehpour, Director of IIT’s Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation

Imagine being able to monitor your electricity, water and natural gas consumption, in real time; being able to easily communicate with your electricity provider so you can save money by purchasing power during off-peak hours or installing systems that alert ComEd and Ameren operators when your power is out. These innovations are coming to Illinois soon.

The ISTC, along with the Illinois Institute of Technology, Clean Energy Trust and O-H Community Partners and with support from the U.S. Small Business Administration, is working to increase awareness for the benefits of smart grid adaptation as a part of the Illinois Smart Grid Regional Innovation Cluster (ISGRIC).  ISGRIC provides a platform to promote business growth and entrepreneurial activity by providing technical and business support to smart grid start-ups and small businesses. Recently ISGRIC released the Illinois Smart Grid Market Inventory, a white paper highlighting the economic benefits of a smart grid update in Illinois. According to the Smart Grid Market Inventory, 190 energy-related companies and 95 R&D firms in Illinois are poised to contribute to the transition to a smarter grid, and have the potential to create thousands of jobs in the process. Illinois is emerging as a leader in smart grid implementation and energy efficiency.

The years ahead will be marked with significant change in the energy industry, yet nowhere will these changes be most strongly felt than in the electric grid itself. Currently, Illinois’ electric grid still utilizes the laws of physics to get power from the grid into homes and businesses, resulting in more outages and malfunctions. These inadequacies led to the passage of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) of 2011, a $3.2 billion investment by ComEd and Ameren to strengthen and modernize the state’s electric grid over the next 10 years.

Electric grid updates aren’t the only way Illinois is becoming more energy efficient. The State is also taking action to support the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) across Illinois, and thanks to the state’s $10 million Illinois Jobs Now! Capital Plan – along with help from the City of Chicago – is installing 26 new EV fast-charging stations along Illinois’ busiest highways.

Read on to learn more about the implementation of smart grid technology, electric vehicles and how Illinois is becoming more energy efficient.

Guest Column: IIT’s Perfect Power Microgrid Initiative

Illinois Smart Grid Regional Innovation Cluster: Illinois Smart Grid Market Inventory

A Smart Grid Begins With a Promise for the Future

In Illinois, a burgeoning smart grid hub

Electric grid update will create jobs, report

Five Innovative New Smart Grid Companies Join Illinois Smart Grid Regional Innovation Cluster

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity: Electric Vehicles in Illinois

Illinois Commerce Commission: Initiative on Plug-In Electric Vehicle

Illinois EV Fast Charging Network Plans To Go Big

Electric Vehicles, Zipcar to bolster state fleet

Reporter’s Notebook: Battery plant to boost Chicago economy

Watch and Listen:

Hiring Begins for Smart Grid Plan
Governor Pat Quinn Rolls Out Nation’s Largest Electric Vehicle Fast-Charging Network


Did You Know?

  • The Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation was created through EIMA to support and advance innovation, research and entrepreneurship in the smart grid. The Foundation will be supported by an independent board and will have initial assets of $22.5 million.
  • Over the next decade, Ameren and ComEd will install approximately 4.8 million smart meters.
  • The Chicagoland metro area is the #1 metro area in the country for installed and available EV charging stations.

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