President Obama recently explained the importance of our country’s transformation to a Smart Grid by saying, “It will make our grid more secure and more reliable, saving us some of the $150 billion we lose each year during power outages. It will allow us to more effectively transport renewable energy generated in remote places to large population centers, so that a wind farm in rural South Dakota can power homes in Chicago. And by facilitating the creation of a clean energy economy, building this 21st-century energy infrastructure will help us lay a foundation for lasting growth and prosperity.”
Information technology is not just an enabler of the Smart Grid vision – it is at its very core, helping to revolutionize production, transmission and consumption of electricity in homes and businesses across the nation.
One of the key challenges of the Smart Grid is that it is not 100 percent defined and operational today. A considerable amount of time and significant financial investment are still required to create and reap the benefits of a truly functional Smart Grid. Many people are also paralyzed with inaction, dreaming about the panacea promised by the Smart Grid in the future and so doing nothing about efficiency today. This inaction creates a real risk that the promise of the Smart Grid may never be fully realized.
The good news is that we don’t need to wait. We have the power to take pragmatic steps toward the larger grid concept today.