Miami Smart-Grid Project Powers Expectations For Clean Energy

With Earth Day just days away, the bosses of General Electric and Cisco Systems talked about their high hopes for a smart grid initiative underway in Miami, which is expected to be a model for roll out across the nation.

"This will accelerate adoption," said Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman & CEO, who added projects like the Miami one will "drive efficiency, better renewable [energy] adoption and create jobs."

GE, the parent company of NBC Universial, whose properties include CNBC, and Cisco are partnering with Silver Springs Networks, a company that wirelessly connects residential smart meters with utilities, and the local utility, Florida Power and Light, a unit of FPL Group , on the 100,000-electric-meter project.

Cisco Chairman & CEO John Chmabers equated the project to how the Internet carries text and data, saying the grid will "move around electricity" that way. The Miami project will allow the project's participants to scale it, "then replicate it around the country."

GE is supplying smart meters and appliances, among other things, for the project.

Both Immelt and Chambers emphasized the job-creation potential of the smart grid initiative, as well as the need for the US to lead in the green movement.

"Green inesvting is good for investors, good for our employees, good for our customers," said Immelt. "Clean afforable energy is going to happen globally. The US is either going to lead or be left behind. I don’t think the administration has the luxury of not focusing on it right now."

"We ought to lead here in America," said Chambers, calling green technology, an "instant replay" of the Internet.