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Report: Smart grid could cost $476B

5/24/2011 03:43 PM EDT
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Lee Harrison
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re: Report: Smart grid could cost $476B
Lee Harrison   6/11/2011 2:24:00 AM
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Without reading the full report (which I don['t want to do), I can't understand what fraction of these costs are actual upgrades to long-distance transmission, what fraction are costs of upgrades to distribution transmission, and what fraction are new "smart grid" functionality in terms of measurement, communication and control? The long-distance transmission and a greatly improved national grid and power pool strike me as absolutely essential to both American prosperity and to energy and climate abatement needs ... and there's really no way to make these things happen without serious federal "push," although mechanisms like the Interstate Highway System can be copied to avoid the rants of the states-righters. Upgrades to regional/local distribution and the communication functions seem to me to be intrinsically the responsibility of each power consumer, to be handled as ordinary costs of their power provider. The comment above by Jim Jarvis to the effect that legislators seem particularly unable to make rational engineering and technology decisions these days seems bang-on to me today ... but then what can one expect when a large fraction of them deny science and engineering ... indeed seem to have "declared war on arithmetic?" This issue/topic is hardly unique. Can anybody name any large-scale engineering or technology decision which legislators have decided, which has had even a fig-leaf of rational engineering/science/economics? Selecting Yucca Mt? How 'bout that one? Look at the current fiascos over the STS, how 'bout that one? Climate and energy policy more generally? The Ethanol subsidies? Can anybody name one that is rational and defensible, on the merits of the facts/data?

JimJarvis
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re: Report: Smart grid could cost $476B
JimJarvis   6/1/2011 10:46:45 AM
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Why smart grid? Because the 30,000 or so regulated public utilities represent 30,000 P&L's and Balance Sheets, which are managed to produce a regulated return by beancounters and regulatory lawyers. (who, I should point out, have never built anything in their lives, except a bureaucracy.) Wind and Hydro are demonstrably useful and efficient sources of electricity...but they tend to occur in places where demand is absent. So we need to get electrons from there to here...wherever those places are....across those blasted local P&L's. Which means we need an overarching mechanism which senses power demand in LA, and wind power supply in Topeka, and routing it. Do we need a smart grid? Yes, but that's just the visible structure around a smart energy policy. What we really need are more engineers and scientists in Congress. At the moment, we seem to have 535 people who can't find their backsides with a flashlight. Let alone produce a national budget that'll work for more than six months. Why should we expect a rational, life-cycle-costed national energy policy?

prabhakar_deosthali
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re: Report: Smart grid could cost $476B
prabhakar_deosthali   5/30/2011 12:00:16 PM
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Why smart grid first of all? using the available digital infrastructure can't we do the some of the functionality of the proposed smart grid system- like for example measuring the energy usage based upon the time-of-the-day. The huge cost involved in implementing the smart grid , the time taken to implement and support it, keeping it up-to-date as to take care of the technology obsolescence are all going to add many uncertainties to this project.

UdaraW
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re: Report: Smart grid could cost $476B
UdaraW   5/30/2011 6:57:07 AM
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Interesting point, DrQuine. In my view, the main reason for these varied forecasts is that we, the electrical engineers, have not yet figured out a method to build the smart grid as an upgradable framework. Between 2004 and 2011, what probably might have happened is that, we have discovered more applications to be served from the smart grid than what we had in 2004. So the higher cost forecast. Once we arrive at a skeletal structure that could last the test of time, as and when new application areas emerge, we should be able to plug in these future applications into the grid as modules in the existing framework.

DrQuine
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re: Report: Smart grid could cost $476B
DrQuine   5/27/2011 12:37:58 PM
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"Smart grid could cost $476B" illustrates the false precision of industry analysts. If the "EPRI report estimated the cost of upgrading the U.S. grid could range from $338 to $476 billion" (up from $165 billion in a 2004 forecast) why are 3 digits of precision being reported when even the first digit is uncertain?

ck_02
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re: Report: Smart grid could cost $476B
ck_02   5/26/2011 7:30:23 PM
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So...what was the purpose of implementing the FCC tax? I'm pretty sure that I was told that specific tax was set up to advance the infrastructure throughout the years, yet it is being wasted, not wholly unlike the SS tax I pay into and most likely will never reap any benefit from.

siva.ts
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re: Report: Smart grid could cost $476B
siva.ts   5/26/2011 8:41:10 AM
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This needs to implemented in phases , if in 5yrs down the lane a new solution may be invented ,then all the investment will be wasted.

Charles.Desassure
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re: Report: Smart grid could cost $476B
Charles.Desassure   5/26/2011 12:00:14 AM
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The costs and benefits of building a smart electric grid have more than doubled over the years should not be a surprise to anyone. I really expected that the cost to be higher. Other Countries are far ahead of the US in terms of building a well designed smart electric grid according to an article that I recently read. So the cost of this project should not be a factor.

daveb
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re: Report: Smart grid could cost $476B
daveb   5/25/2011 3:01:15 PM
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The question really revolves around will the Utility customers pay for it, or will all taxpayers pay for it. Should it be built out one utility (customers) or one state (state taxpayers) at a time, or should we let Uncle Sam (all states and all taxpayers) pay fo the upgrade. Even if we all benefit from the upgrade, should we not have some say in when we would rather spend the money.

Tunrayo
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re: Report: Smart grid could cost $476B
Tunrayo   5/25/2011 2:26:31 PM
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Will the benefits of a smart grid really outway the investment?

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