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Smart Grid

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By BLFerro
Words 6153
Pages 25
The Smart Grid is a decentralized and interactive system. The interactive nature will involve two-way communication between the utility companies and the consumer. Through Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) consumers are able to make better energy use decisions, defer usage to off-peak periods, and contribute power to peak period usage. Utilities will be better able to detect problems within their own systems and react quickly to replace power sources from multiple possible sources. The “Prices to Devices” concept, based on the premise that energy is priced in real time, allows for ongoing transmission of power availability and pricing to “smart” home controllers and devices. The devices can interpret this information to alter energy usage accordingly – to defer usage to more amenable and less expensive times. The current U.S. power grid is no doubt an amazing machine, but it has many limitations and poses many challenges. One main drawback of the current system is that it was built to move power in one direction – from the plant to the consumer. Years ago this made sense, but today it limits the ability to handle power generated from wind turbines and solar panels. The smart grid uses two-way communication, which handles excess distributed power as well as detects and avoids potential power outages. Currently, power companies rely on customers to tell them if there is an outage or problem. The smart grid automatically detects the problem and instantly reroutes the power. In today’s world of technology, the current power grid seems outdated and inefficient. It is not only reaching operational limits, but also lacking in reliability. The smart grid utilizes wireless sensors, special computers and software to monitor how and where energy is being consumed. It also communicates if there is a problem or blackout in the network. Each home will be equipped with a smart meter. This will enable homeowners to monitor their energy usage and conserve energy. It also allows utility companies to wirelessly monitor their consumer information. A smart grid consists of various high-tech devices, the most noticeable being the smart meter. The meter provides homeowners with automation, usage information, including real-time pricing, and total control over how they use their energy. This information is relayed to a wireless monitor inside the home. With this technology consumers will be able to set a monthly budget and receive text messages or emails when they are close to that budget. The meter also allows for a homeowner to manage their use of power during different times of the day when rates may be cheaper. For example, a consumer can reduce energy use during peak hours and even program appliances to turn off if power gets too expensive. The meters also have advantages for the power companies. They will be able to get usage data wireless without meter readers as well as relay usage and rate information to consumers.
The wireless sensor is another important piece of technology used by the smart grid. The high-speed sensors are used to monitor power quality and relay real-time information to utility companies. These sensors help pinpoint network problems or outages. If a storm knocks out power, the sensor enables to system to identify and isolate the problem and automatically re-route power. According to a DOE publication, outages and power-quality problems cost U.S. businesses more than $100 billion in an average year. (U.S. DOE: The Smart Grid: An Introduction). This technology also allows for reversing the flow of power. It lets homes and businesses with solar panels or wind turbines sell back electricity they are not using to the utility company when prices are high.

More than a third of electricity generated in the U.S. is used in households. Air conditioners use 16% of that electricity; refrigerators use another 14%. Hot water heaters and other home appliances - including clothes dryers and dish washers - consume an even more: 29%. (www.energy.gov). Using existing technology, each of these appliances can be made "smarter," lessening our environmental impact. Smart appliances are another important aspect of the smart grid. Smart appliances are appliances that we have in our house today, but are outfitted with computer chips. These appliances are connected to the internet giving consumers the ability to program their appliances to start and stop at their discretion. Smart appliances will respond to price signals from the grid to lessen peak loads. Under a "real-time pricing" system, energy used during peak hours will cost more than energy used at night, when demand is low. This price structure allows residential energy users to optimize their energy usage habits to save energy and reduce emissions. Customers will have the capability to receive their energy information, whether a text or through the internet, and be able to view, monitor and change their energy consumption or appliances on a real-time basis. (Business Wire: National Grid Announces Plan for Smart Grid Pilot in Worcester, Massachusetts). The technology for the smart grid is not new, what is new is the political and economic movement that has brought on national awareness. Last month congress passed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This stimulus package includes $11 billion to implement smart grid technologies throughout the country. The package also includes $13.75 billion for related initiatives and upgrades to transmission systems. (The Economist: United States: Smart move; Electricity). In April 2008 a US study from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) claimed that energy-efficiency improvements in the US electric power sector could reduce consumption by seven to eleven percent more than currently projected over the next two decades. The EPRI claimed it had identified opportunities to improve energy efficiency through the use of 'smart' devices. (www.businesgreen.com). A recent report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) notes that demand and advanced metering programs are rapidly gaining ground throughout the United States.
Recently, Barak Obama and his administration have made energy efficiency a top priority and have signed a stimulus package that contains $11 Billion for technological upgrades to the electric grid. Huge companies like IBM, Cisco, GE, and now Google have initiatives and investments in the so-called "smart grid." 2009 will be the year the smart grid comes on the public market in a big way. GE Energy is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies. They provide abroad array of solutions for traditionally fuelled plants such as coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear as well as those driven by renewable resources such as wind, solar and biogas. GE has the worldwide resources and experience to help customers meet their needs for cleaner, more reliable and efficient energy. In a recent announcement to shareholders, Jeff Immelt informed investors that the stimulus should help speed up more than $100 billion of infrastructure projects in the company's pipeline, including implementation of smart grid technology and health IT projects although it would take until 2010 or 2011 to realize stimulus profits. To achieve these revenue goals GE has entered into several strategic partnerships with companies such as Google, Grid Net, and Eka Systems. In addition GE has acquired several key companies that in total help solidify GE as one of the leaders in the smart grid technology revolution. Last year Google launched a renewable initiative that is cheaper than coal, while GE's ecomagination drive aims to push revenue of environmentally-focused products like wind turbines to $25 billion by 2010. Together the corporate giants said they want to give consumers more energy choices through a smart grid that will also accommodate the next generation of electric transportation and manage electricity more efficiently. Together the companies will collaborate on advanced geothermal technology and the software and services needed to help utilities integrate plug-in electric vehicles into the grid (www.greenbiz.com). Grid Net is a leading provider of open, interoperable, policy-based network management software, and communications product reference designs for the utility industry's Smart Grid and recently announced a key partnership with GE Energy focused on providing innovative smart grid solutions. Applying broadly adopted, proven innovations from enterprise software and telecommunications networking, Grid Net's PolicyNet Smart Grid NMS software enables the delivery of secure, scalable and high-performing smart grid services, including Smart Metering and Distribution Automation. In 2008, Grid Net licensed its WiMAX smart meter reference design to GE Energy, for use in GE's advanced meter product family based on the PolicyNet software. GE has also announced a partnership with startup Eka Systems to integrate the two companies' technology around wireless metering for utility companies. The deal will see GE Energy integrate its smart meter with the EkaNet Smart Network solution. Combining the capabilities of GE’s advanced metering solutions with the open and scalable EkaNet AMI infrastructure delivers a new level of performance for utilities looking for robust smart grid networking www.tmcnet.com. In the summer of 2008 GE announced the acquired Kelman Limited of Lisburn, Northern Ireland, and MapFrame of Dallas, Texas. Kelman is a leading provider of advanced monitoring and diagnostics technologies for transformers, enhancing GE's smart grid product portfolio while MapFrame is a leading provider of mobile mapping and field automation technologies for electric, gas and water utilities and serves nearly 30 major utilities throughout North America, with 35,000 end users (www.smartgridnews.com). MapFrame products provide utility employees with real-time information, enabling them to work more efficiently and productively in the field (www.gepower.com). With the partnerships and acquisitions, GE has positioned themselves to serve numerous customers and will now provide a Houston utility with wireless communications infrastructure to upgrade its electric grid. GE’s Digital Energy division will provide “thousands” of its MDS Mercury 3650 radios to support CenterPoint Energy’s smart-grid build out. The WiMAX-based radios will wirelessly transmit data from consumer’s smart electric meters to the utility’s data center (www.gepower.com). While GE is one of the top smart-meter makers in the country and utility companies such as Pacific Gas and Electric have announced plans to deploy as many as 10 million GE meters by the end of 2011 as part of its smart-grid build out. The meters will be equipped with two-way communications. But the Houston deal marks the first time the company has provided wireless network infrastructure for an electric utility’s metering system. That piece of the smart-grid market so far has been the focus, primarily, of a host of startups, like Eka Systems. GE’s MDS product line has been thoroughly tested on over 1 million wireless devices installed worldwide across multiple industries including oil and gas, water and wastewater and transportation. Once the technology is in place, the utility will be able to offer new products and services to consumers, such as the ability to monitor their energy usage and prices real-time from home computers (www.gepower.com). The wireless network will also help the utility monitor its grid and respond to problems more quickly. WEL Networks is an electricity distribution company that owns, develops and maintains the electricity network of lines, cables, substations and associated infrastructure in New Zealand has announced it will use GE smart grid to improve reliability for the fifth largest electricity utility in New Zealand that supplies 82,000 customers. GE’s outage management software will enable WEL to have more advanced metering infrastructure and allow for real-time knowledge on the status of the grid. This will help to reduce outages and to restore power in a more timely fashion. The New Zealand government is looking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 and GE’s system also will help reduce New Zealand’s overall carbon emission (www.tmcnet.com). In addition to the smart grid network, GE is one of the world’s leaders in appliances and early 2009 introduced a suite of smart appliances or Energy-Management-Enabled Appliances. They are enabled to receive signals from the local utility to avoid energy usage during peak hours (typically between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.), giving the consumers ultimate control. These Energy-Management-Enabled Appliances and the utility meters help consumers manage their utility bills by enabling them to avoid peak-hour energy usage and benefit from tiered pricing structure and save money. America’s electric infrastructure is out dated. At times it struggles to meet the current needs of the consumers. Every year the consumer’s needs increase, which puts more strain on the system. The electric infrastructure must be updated and Smart Grid is the solution. “Smart Grid uses digital technology to improve reliability, security, and efficiency of the electric system: from large generation, through delivery systems to electricity generation and storage resources” (The Smart Grid: An Introduction). The advanced technology of the Smart Grid helps create a system that operates more efficiently. It also helps create a system that can be easily controlled by the users of the system. These advancements in energy delivery provide numerous economic and environmental benefits as well as benefits to both utility companies and consumers. Smart Grid is a large step in the right direction for improving the current infrastructure and the benefits the improved system creates will have a major impact on everyone. “Virtually the nation’s entire economy depends on reliable energy. The availability of high-quality power could help determine the future of the U.S. economy” (Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy). In a report by the Electricity Advisory Committee (Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy), it is estimated that Smart Grid technologies could lower costs related to power disturbances by as much $49 billion per year. The report also estimates that Smart Grid implementation could reduce investments to the electric infrastructure between $46 billion and $117 billion over the next 20 years. These are not the only cost savings. Giving consumers the ability to control their power use could possibly add as much as $7 billion per year back into the economy by 2015 and up to $20 billion a year by 2020. During an economic downturn such as the one the U.S. economy is facing now, these cost savings could be critical. The money saved by Smart Grid technology can be pumped right back into the economy helping to keep businesses running and creating more jobs. The cost savings estimated by the Electricity Advisory Committee are tremendous and are not the only cost savings the Smart Grid could create. Having a more efficient electric system could help reduce the total consumption which may help drive down energy costs. The economic benefits of Smart Grid do not stop with cost savings either. These new technologies are creating a whole new industry for Smart Grid products such as smart meters and intelligent appliances. As Smart Grid implementation begins to increase throughout the nation, this industry will begin generating a lot of additional revenue. Pollution, emissions, and greenhouse gases are all words that have flooded the television and newspaper as global warming has taken the center stage as the top environmental concern. In recent years, utility companies have been pressured to find new and more environmentally friendly ways to generate power. “According to the FY Budget Request by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, if we do nothing, U.S. carbon emissions are expected to rise from 1700 million tons of carbon per year today to 2300 million tons of carbon by the year 2030. In the same study, they demonstrated that utilities, through implementation of energy efficiency programs and use of renewable energy sources, could not only displace this growth, but actually have the opportunity to reduce carbon output to below 1000 million tons of carbon by 2030” (Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy). In an article written by Alex Zheng (How Environmental Benefits Can Help Pay for the Smart Grid) it states four ways that Smart Grid can help lower emissions. The ways it will lower emissions are; “enabling the integration of clean, renewable generation sources, reducing electrical losses, increasing penetration of distributed energy resources and increasing energy conservation through feedback to consumers”. Consumer interaction with the Smart Grid appears to be the key. Smart Grid can help change the way consumers use energy. The use of Smart Grid will help better manage the flow of power and increase the efficiency of power plants by reducing the load on the system during peak hours. Without the excess load during peak hours, less efficient outdated power generation systems will not have to be used. Smart Grid also provides more information to consumers on their energy use. This will be an effective way of limiting the load on the power system. The reason for this is because energy distributors will implement variable pricing, having higher prices during peak hours and lower prices during off peak hours. The goal of variable pricing is to make consumers change their pattern of energy consumption resulting in positive impacts to system and the environment. As mentioned above, Smart Grid also allows for the integration of renewable energy sources. Some of these renewable energy sources like wind and solar power could have significant positive impacts on the environment. This would happen not only because it is clean power generation, but it will also help reduce the workload of the less environmentally friendly power generation systems. Smart Grid technology will also support plug in hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles as well as intelligent appliances. In today’s world of computers and other equipment that need electricity to operate, any down time can cost consumers significant amounts of money. It has been estimated by the Galvin Electricity Initiative (Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy) that interruptions in the supply of electricity can cost consumers as much as $150 billion per year. The digital technology of Smart Grid will allow utilities to identify disturbances in the supply more easily. It will allow utilities to locate the problems quickly shortening the time malfunctioning portions of the system are down. Smart Grid may enable utilities to fix problems without even sending out technicians. This will not only save time by fixing it remotely, it could potentially save money by having less utility workers. Smart Grid can help utilities defer costs of major capital improvements to the existing infrastructure as well. For example, “the peak usage of the California Independent System Operator for 2005-2006 was 50,085 megawatts. However, usage exceeded 45,000 megawatts only 0.65% of the time annually. This means that California must build peaking plants, additional transmission lines, distribution lines, and possibly even additional base-load power plants to generate enough supply to meet demand the occurs less than 1% of the time” (Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy). By better managing the demand on the system, Smart Grid would help eliminate the need for investments in new resources such as the ones listed in this example. Smart Grid can also help utilities reduce overall costs of operations. These operational cost savings will come from real-time management of the system, automated disconnection and reconnection to the system, and reduction of in the field operations. Smart Grid will also benefit utilities by improving the security of the infrastructure. “Smart Grid will improve security by bringing higher levels of investment and greater penetration of information technology into the grid, allowing utilities to address cyber security issues more effectively. It will increase the robustness of the grid to withstand component failures, whether due to natural events, age/condition of assets, or hostile causes. It will allow grid components and IT systems in time to detect intrusion attempts and provide real-time notification to cyber security organizations” (Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy). Power delivery efficiency is another benefit to Utilities. In the report by the Electricity Advisory Committee (Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy), it mentions that Smart Grid can create a 30% reduction in electricity distribution losses. “A 2007 survey conducted by IBM of 1,900 energy consumers revealed that growing reliability concerns, fears over environmental sustainability, and increasing costs of energy bills have created a demand from consumers for more control over their energy consumption decisions” (Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy). Smart Grid provides the information and support that all energy consumers are looking for. Consumers will have the ability to better manage their consumption of energy with Smart Grid. The new technologies allow the consumers to monitor their consumption in real-time. Based on the information from these new technologies, consumers can tweak their consumption to save money. They will have the ability to interact with the system and even set up energy preferences. By using energy during off peak hours, energy consumers will not only be able to reduce their energy costs, but will actually be able to help reduce the overall cost of energy. The reason for this is because electric companies may have to operate additional equipment during peak hours to keep up with demand. Smart Grids use of variable pricing and real-time monitoring should help lower consumers consumption during peak hours helping to eliminate the use of additional equipment and lowering the overall cost of electricity for the customers. Smart Grid can also help consumers become more energy efficient because it is more interactive. “Such improved awareness gives consumers incentives to reduce energy use by switching to more efficient appliances and light bulbs, adjusting thermostat temperatures, and turning off lights and other energy consuming devices when not in use” (Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy). Other consumer benefits of Smart Grid are new metering technologies, reduced industrial consumer costs, and enhanced business consumer services. While the Smart Grid seems to have many advantages, it does have its drawbacks as well, the first being the ability of the utility company to use variable pricing that could result in an added cost to the consumer. Many consumer groups are skeptical of giving utility companies the ability to change electricity prices on the fly. For instance, the utility company would be able to increase rates on a hot summer day when usage is at its maximum. With the current energy system most utilities are prohibited from using variable pricing. While smart grids have many components, smart meters are at the center of the pricing debate. These so-called smart meters would be installed on a person’s house and take the place of the current electricity meter. The new meter would not require an employee of the utility company to come out and read the meter but instead would send transmissions on energy usage back to the utility company to be collected. The aspect of smart meters that is in question is that they let utilities create real-time markets for electricity, with prices that could vary by the minute. If demand is low, prices are low. But if demand surges during the summer as people blast the air conditioning, the utility can raise prices in the region to discourage usage. That saves utilities money because they wouldn't have to build power plants to meet high demand (BusinessWeek: The Static Over Smart Grids). Supporters believe that this will help consumers understand the cost of energy and conserve more. However, consumer groups believe that this could have an opposite effect and end up costing the consumer more. Even with credits from the stimulus package the consumer would still end up footing some of the cost of the installation of the new smart meters. Flexible pricing could also have a detrimental effect to those who do not want to be responsible for monitoring their electricity as well as the elderly and those forced to stay at home during the day. Consumers could see a sizable increase in price during certain times and not be able to do much about it. It should also be noted that the cost of smart grids is not only on the consumer. The cost of the technology used in smart grids as well as the cost of rolling out the program is high. Recently the Department of Energy has outlined a $3.3 billion plan to develop smart grid technology. Utilities have been experimenting with small smart-grid initiatives on their own — for example, wiring 50,000 homes in Boulder, Colo., and installing 100,000 smart meters in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. But creating a nationwide smart grid that is a goal for the Obama White House, won't be cheap and it won't be easy. On April 20 the city of Miami announced that it was launching a $200 million smart-grid initiative that would connect virtually every home and business in Miami-Dade County by 2011 (BusinessWeek: The Static Over Smart Grids). The Miami smart grid program if completed will be the largest of its kind in the US and if it is successful Florida Power and Light plans to invest another $500 million to roll out the technology to all of its customers. Another challenge of Smart Girds is the security of the grid. Just recently it is believed that cyber spies had penetrated the US power grid and left behind computer programs that could end up disrupting the system. Our current distribution system is decentralized, meaning there is no central control system. With the current structure cyber attackers are really only able to damage sections of the grid. However, as the electric grid gets smarter and begins to rely more on computer networks the vulnerability will also grow. The fear is that smart meters may allow hackers more access to the power grid and its systems. The final drawback of smart grids is barriers to entry. Currently regulatory and technological barriers limit the deployment and implementation of Smart Grid technology. This is why Congress passed The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The act addresses the issues with deploying a nation wide smart grid. The first and most prevalent of these barriers is Cost Recovery. Cost recovery is always an issue when dealing with state utility commissions. In the past, State commissions would have been reluctant to approve the cost recovery given the uncertain economic return on investment to smart grid deployments. However, state commissions are starting to take into account environmental and energy security policy goals (IBID). Substantial regulatory support, which we are starting to see from the Obama administration, needs to be in place to support the deployments of smart grids. The next barrier to entry is the lack of standards and protocols relating to smart grids. First movers have the ability to dominate the current market for smart grid technology. As the industry grows, first-movers have the potential to entrench their leadership and lock up essential intellectual property (IP) to limit competition and the ability of two or more systems to connect.[1] The final barrier to entry that the act speaks to is the cost of implementing a smart grid nation wide. As discussed earlier the cost of the technology used in smart grid as well as the roll out of the technology is high, this could prevent some utilities from moving forward with the initiative. The Smart Grid is an often misunderstood – and still largely unrecognized – concept that holds tremendous promise. Smart grid technologies – like so many “green” concepts – are not necessarily all that new. The United States ventured down this path – with limited tangible successes – during the energy crisis of the 1970s. But, smart grid technologies have been embraced and probably exaggerated by many corporate marketers and politicians as a panacea for the economic and energy woes that now perplex the United States. As a result, the hype threatens to overshadow reality. So, we can only attempt to determine what benefits are being and can be achieved. Last week, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a speech in which he outlined the proposed distribution of over $3 Billion in stimulus funds – by way of United States Department of Energy (DOE) distributed smart grid technology development grants - to stimulate the further development of the smart grid. As per Vice President Biden, "We need an upgraded electrical grid to take full advantage of the vast renewable resources in this country--to take the wind from the Midwest and the sun from the Southwest and power areas across the country. By investing in updating the grid now, we will lower utility bills for American families and businesses, lessen our dependence on foreign oil and create good jobs that will drive our economic recovery." (CNET News “Biden gives more smart-grid funding details). In its own White Paper on the subject, the DOE estimates that, through the implementation of smart grid technologies, the United States can realize efficiencies equivalent to “50% to 300% more electricity through existing corridors”. The DOE estimates are so remarkably imprecise and disparate that they appear to be, at best, mere guestimates and, at worst, optimistic fabrications. However, in an attempt to give this some validity, let’s try to quantify the difference that even a small percentage of improvement could make. The DOE further explains that “Today’s electricity system is 99.97 percent reliable, yet still allows for power outages that cost Americans at least $150 billion each year – about $500 for every man, woman and child. If the grid were just 5% more efficient, it is estimated that this would eliminate the “equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars”. (The Smart Grid: An Introduction” by the United States Department of Energy). The emphasis of the smart grid is on more efficient use and fortification of the pre-existing network. It still stands to reason that transmission equipment manufacturers and installers will benefit from this phenomenon. But, towers and wiring are remarkably expensive and time consuming to engineer, approve and install. Most likely, the greatest efficiencies - at least in the short run – will be realized by companies engaged in metering and energy monitoring, appliances for home or office use, and the engineers and software developers who work to make the most efficient use of pre-existing capital equipment. In this paper, we’ve spoken about GE’s involvements in this field. IBM, another beneficiary and pioneer smart grid technologies, echoes the sentiments of the DOE (and, in fact, quotes the DOE from time to time) in a piece – “Smarter Power for a Smarter Planet” that is posted on its own website. “As a result of inefficiencies in this system, the world's creation and distribution of electric power is now incredibly wasteful. With little or no intelligence to balance loads or monitor power flows, enough electricity is lost annually to power India, Germany and Canada for an entire year. If the U.S. grid alone were just 5% more efficient, it would be like permanently eliminating the fuel and greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars.” “We can now instrument everything from the meter in the home to the turbines in the plants to the network itself. In fact, the intelligent utility system actually looks a lot more like the Internet than like a traditional grid. It can be linked to thousands of power sources—including climate-friendly ones like wind and solar. All of this instrumentation then generates new data, which advanced analytics can turn into insight, so that better decisions can be made in real time.” “Smart Grid projects are already helping consumers save 10% on their bills and are reducing peak demand by 15%. Imagine the potential savings when this is scaled to include companies, government agencies and universities.” “Actually, there's no need for imagination. The investment now being shaped in Washington could yield almost a quarter of a million jobs digitizing the grid and in related industries, such as alternative energy and automotive. It could enable new forms of industrial innovation by creating exportable skills, resources and technology.” (IBM website “Conversations for a Smarter Planet: 2 in a Series – Smarter) IBM has recently made several announcements regarding its involvement in this space: Ohio-based American Electric Power chose IBM to be the systems integrator for its own gridSMART (SM) initiative. Consumers Energy, a Michigan-based electric and natural gas utility, announced an agreement with IBM to test a Smart Metering program to be implemented in 2009. IBM also announced, in conjunction with EDF, the leading electricity producer in Europe, to collaborate “on an ambitious project to explore key aspects of the energy systems that are important in EDF operations, in an effort to further energy sustainability. EDF and IBM will work together to develop high performance computing solutions which can significantly advance the operation and optimization of the complex systems and processes involved in electricity production and power management.” We cannot fully understand the efficiencies that can be attained through our present understanding of smart grid technologies. Perhaps the best analogy would be a comparison to our estimates and understanding of Internet capabilities that might have been formed only ten years ago. Overly enthusiastic estimates led to wild stock valuations for unproven and unprofitable Internet related companies that eventually went out of business or, at best, consolidated with others. Underestimates of computing power and storage capabilities limited what would be achieved only several years later. To determine the future of the smart grid, we should learn from the naïve (but well intended) optimism of the 1970s ecological movement and the gross miscalculations and over-extended promises of technology that led to the dot-com bust. The best way to appreciate the potential is to look at what projects are already in progress – or, at least “shovel-ready” to coin a phrase from recent infrastructure initiatives – and what can be achieved relatively quickly and at relatively low cost. Increased demand for (clean) energy – worldwide and in the United States – is a certainty. According to a June, 2008 press release from the U.S. Census Bureau, world population - presently 6.7 billion - has been increasing at a rate of 1.2% per year. The census specifically projected world population to reach 7 billion by 2012. In the United States, the population - now 305.8 million – is projected to be in the neighborhood of 317 million. Understandably, demand for energy will increase along with world populations. One tangible solution is the implementation of smart grid technologies. The challenge is to determine which paths and technologies will best achieve that solution.

Works Cited Explicitly or as Background Reading

U.S. Census Bureau - News http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/012112.html U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) http://www.energy.gov/ IBM Website (United States) http://www.ibm.com/us/ Repower America http://www.repoweramerica.org/ NYT: Op-Ed Contributor – “The Climate for Change” by Al Gore, November 9, 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/opinion/09gore.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1 Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition (DRSG) http://www.drsgcoalition.org/ CNET: “IBM Snags Smart-Grid Pilot Deals” by Martin LaMonica, November 26, 2008 http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10108678-54.html Bloomberg http://www.bloomberg.com/ Reuters http://www.reuters.com/ Yahoo Finance
Press Release: “IBM and EDF Combine R&D Skills to Further Energy Sustainability” November 21, 2008 http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/081121/0454774.html Russell Ray. (22 March). A Smart Approach To Saving Energy. McClatchy – Tribune Business News.

National Grid Announces Plan for Smart Grid Pilot in Worcester, Massachusetts. (31 March). Business Wire.

Jennifer Alsever. (2009, April). Power Saver. FSB : Fortune Small Business, 19(3), 62.

United States: Smart move; Electricity. (2009, March). The Economist, 390(8623), 36.

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http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2008/09/22/ge-and-google-partner-a-smart-grid-and-green-power

http://www.pr-inside.com/grid-net-partners-with-ge-energy-r550153.htm

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http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/anya-kamenetz/green-day/upstart-joins-google-and-ge-smart-grid-conversation http://www.geconsumerproducts.com/pressroom/press_releases/company/company/GE_LGE_smartappliances.htm

Electricity Advisory Committee, Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy. http://www.oe.energy.gov/DocumentsandMedia/final-smart-grid-report.pdf

Department of Energy. The Smart Grid: An Introduction. http://www.oe.energy.gov/DocumentsandMedia/DOE_SG_Book_Single_Pages(1).pdf

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IBID

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