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Smart Grid’s Value Called Into Question

Here’s an article that points to a controversy about smart grid, i.e., about the concept of two-way communication between the electric generation plant and the customer, and the application of intelligence to flow of information. Apparently, someone is alleging that the money spent in the arena has been misspent, that smart grid won’t improve grid reliability, etc.

I have no doubt that there is at least some truth here. I did a radio interview the other day in which I was asked about the way in which smart meters were introduced to consumers here in the U.S. recently; I freely admit that “mistakes were made,” to use the passive voice as we so frequently do in cases like these.

What about reliability? The issue isn’t really reliability, it’s more about efficiency, and, more to the point, conservation, especially during times of peak demand. There are controversies about smart grid, but its ability to manipulate the use of power favorably, reduce costs, defer capital investments, and help to integrate more renewables onto the grid aren’t among them.