Discuss The Smart Grid. Is The Cost Worth The Benefit?

922 words - 4 pages

“Smart grid” generally refers to a class of technology people are using to bring utility electricity delivery systems into the 21st century, using computer-based remote control and automation. (Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability, n.d.) A key feature of the smart grid is automation technology that lets the utility adjust and control each individual device or millions of devices from a central location. In December 2007, Congress passed, and the President approved, Title XIII of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). EISA provided the legislative support for DOE’s smart grid activities and reinforced its role in leading and coordinating national grid ...view middle of the document...

According to projections from America's Energy Information Administration, electricity generation around the world will nearly double from about 17.3 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2005 to 33.3 trillion kWh in 2030. Poor countries will show the strongest growth in electricity generation, increasing by an average of 4% per year from 2005 to 2030, compared with 1.3% per year for their richer counterparts. In some countries, including America, the grid has not kept up with the growth in demand for power. (The Economist, 2009) So, Smart Grid is really needed to overcome the natural shortcomings of electricity so that future generations will not get into the trouble with the shortage of electricity supply. Second, a more efficient system could also do wonders for the environment. The DOE estimates that if the grid were merely 5 percent more efficient, the energy savings would equal the fuel and greenhouse emissions from 53 million cars. As the United States accounts for 25 percent of the world's greenhouse emissions, this change could go a long way toward reducing the effects of climate change. (Lamb, n.d.) Third, the Smart Grid can be seen as a protective measure for American electricity security. The grid's centralized structure provides a tantalizing target to anyone wanting to do something to it so as to set off a domino effect. (Lamb, n.d.)

Considering the smart grid assets, the Smart Grid projects can help improve cost effectiveness, reliability, and energy efficiency of the power system. Broad categories corresponding to the benefits can be derived: managing peak load capacity for generation, transmission, and distribution; reducing costs for wholesale operations; providing enhanced reliability/adequate reliability at less cost; providing ancillary services; reducing the operational costs of integrating renewables; and leveraging the network for energy efficiency and carbon savings. (U.S. Department of...

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