Smart grid: Unnecessary, or necessary evil?

Regulations, privacy and security concerns, and other issues could hold back developments.

07/20/2009


 

According to a story by

Kevin Bullis at the MIT Technology Review , a smarter electricity

grid could fundamentally change the way people pay for and manage their

electricity use. In theory, the technology could help reduce demand, save

money, and improve reliability and efficiency.

But implementing the

necessary changes will be difficult, according to experts attending a symposium

on the smart grid at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y.,

this week. They expect resistance from regulators and consumers alike, citing

the complexity of the proposed system as well as concerns about privacy and

security.

The smart grid will

incorporate new networking technology, including sensors and controls that make

it possible to monitor electricity use in real time and make automatic changes

that reduce energy waste. Furthermore, grid operators should be able to

instantly detect problems that could lead to cascading outages, like the ones

that cut power to the northeastern United States in 2003. And the

technology ought to allow energy companies to incorporate more intermittent,

renewable sources of electricity, such as wind turbines, by keeping the grid

stable in the face of minute-by-minute changes in output.

In a story by Stacy Morford

at SolveClimate ,

developing a national smart grid is such a high priority for the Obama administration

that regulators plan to let power providers who pioneer the technology pass

their costs on to their customers-before national standards are approved and

before analysts have determined the most cost-effective technologies.

The Federal Energy Regulatory

Commission adopted its official Smart Grid Policy on July 16,

setting priorities for the grid's development that emphasize such areas as

cybersecurity, dynamic pricing, and the need for technology that can facilitate

off-peak charging for electric vehicles.

Experts at the Gerson

Lehrman Group have written an opinion piece entitled " Smart Grid is the Scam of

the Century ."

In it, they discuss that the Smart Grid is a Trojan Horse Big

Brother that wants to get into your home or business under the disguise of

being green.

Author Kevin

Bullis at MIT Technology Review also wrote an article titled "A Costly and

Unnecessary New Electricity Grid."

In it, he says a national

interstate system for distributing power may prove an expensive boondoggle.





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