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U.S. pumps another $620M into smart grid projects

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11/24/2009 07:00 PM EST
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re: U.S. pumps another $620M into smart grid projects
embeded   11/27/2009 12:19:33 PM
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The article says there will about a 4% annual savings by 2030 if Smart Grid is fully deployed. Here in Boulder, CO we have a pilot program to fully implement Smart Grid that's priced at about $100 million or $1000 per resident. Now this covers businesses, the university, etc. as well as private residences, so let's say it's about $500 per private person or about $1000 per home. That means each home will have to pay $1000 on average over time to the power company for installing Smart Grid (I'll ignore paying the interest on the loans the power company will have to take out to install Smart Grid). To get back that back in savings, I will have to consume $1000 / 0.04, or $25,000 worth of electricity. I don't know about anybody else, but going over my electric bills for the last 10 years (thank you, Quicken), that's well over 20 years to reach break even. And that does not cover the cost of buying Smart Grid enabled appliances or converter boxes for my existing major appliances. Now the power savings for homes may be greater or less than the average overall savings, and I had to ballpark the cost per residence because I only had the total cost of the pilot program, but I think it's still going to be a long, long time before this thing pays off for the average homeowner. The case for electric utilities installing Smart Grid to better manage their grids is pretty strong. And I suppose for some people the sheer joy of being able to turn your lights on and off from anywhere in the world is worth it even though timers will do almost as well. But someone tell me again how Smart Grid in my home is going to save me money?

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