You raise a valid question. The president has stated many times that greener smarter technology is going to be at the front of the pack for priorities. The president has also gotten some major players in the business world involved in this large task. So with all this brain power and funding available, why hasn't more progress been made? Maybe the utilities companies are trying to find the win-win situation. How can they contribute to and comply with these new regulations, while still being profitable?
Barbara, I agree that one would think that smart grid implementation would be moving faster than it currently is, but as you mention there are still some very crucial issues that have yet to be addressed.
You mention the standards and infrastructure issues, and related to that, the whole security issue: there have been hysterical reports in the mainstream media already paranoid about hackers taking over the energy grid and... I don't know... using it to electrocute children or something, but despite the sensationalism security and reliability is a valid concern.
The other difficulty is the lack of consumer interest. One could very validly argue that the reason broadband has penetrated the US market as much as it has is because consumers in massive numbers essentially demanded it. There isn't even close to anything like that kind of demand for smart grid. If anything, there's probably a lot of consumer trepidation because they don't like the sounds of more complicated billing practices and things like that.
Anyhow, long-term, I think smart grid tech makes a ton of sense and after all we can only survive for so long on our current current systems. But there will be many challenges ahead and I do believe that progress will remain frustratingly slow for the remainder of the decade.
Am very sure stakeholders in evolution of smart grid technology are working round the clock.
Managing smart grid infrastructure is a herculean task, so also well consolidated regulations must be sort for and achieved with respect to parties involving in the project. I think government is responsible for this.
The caution of the Utilities is understandable as business people.
However, they can't hold back for much longer. I believe there will be some gamble in it, if a very flexble system cannot be designed on time, which will be able to integrate all the technologies coming up in the area of SMART GRID and SMART METERING.
I don't think that perfect moment will come, it will be developed over time.
Probably for mega insfrastructure projects, standardization is one of the key factors. Given the various technology and protocols for smart grid nowadays, it is challenging to bring all of them together.
@t.alex: in my eyes, you are right, decision makers are freezing investments and still waiting for standardization holding concerns on bad choise to approve, especially in the current financial crisis timeframe, but...standards come after projects delivered...OSI model had got similar origin...
We just keep laying down on the tracks and letting the 'stupidity' train ride over us.
Once again this technology will be utilised by big corporations to sell us more and to increase our consumption.
How is any publicly owned company going to leverage a technology that saves the customer money and in effects cuts thier profit margins, more importantly how are they going to sell that to their shareholders?
Keeping aside any issues related to 'security', do people who read this material really believe the hype that is being passed off as helping mankind get to grips with energy wastage?
The more likely outcome of this will be appliances that continually monitor your environment, your personal behavior and your purchasing/energy requirements , then leverage this information so that it can be packaged up and sold off to the highest bidders.
Link that with Geo-location of your mobile phones and build a cross-referenced network to track you 24 hours a day.
I live in China and they are already a good way down the line on implementing this.
Once in a while the power will be cut and then monitored so that they can see if people are in the premises.
Not to mention that my electric meter can be read remotely.if my aircon is cycled, fairly soon my phone starts ringing and people start trying to sell me stuff, or offering me new appliances.
Another example of meta-data being leveraged to sell things I do not want.
Just becareful what you wish for ......... you may get it.
The question of smart grid and its advantages is been a question among the many technologists also. What are we going to really gain out of developing complete new infrasturcture to monitor the power consumption of each and every equipment indivdually. I think money lies in designing of equipments running with alternate powers sources. Expale like a mobile running on a complete solar chargeable batteries.
The reason for a lack of consumer enthusiasm is that there is not much associated with the smart grid to benefit the ultimate customer. Those yelling loudest about the "benefits" keep talking about linking rates to demand, which only means charging more when people want it the most. That certainly does not benefit ME!
What we certainly do need is much better communication within the grid, and better control, so that sections in trouble can be dropped much more quickly. That would have prevented the last big blackout, and left a much smaller area in the dark for a much shorter time. The technology to provide this has been around for a while, but it was never installed because it does not increase monthly profits.
The security issue would be solved instantly if the meters were to only report a month's power consumption, not hour-by-hour, as some believe would be best. The utility could send out hourly price changes and not interfere with anybodies activities or security. The utility already has instrumentation at the substation level to monitor consumption there, so why report from every meter every hour. That individual useage data is only needed for billing, it is not what they need to tell how much capacity to turn on.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.