New Dawn for Smart Grid?

After Hurricane Sandy smarty-pants pundits like me suggested that maybe what we need right away is not a smarter, more agile grid but, rather, a really tough dumb grid. Indisputably, technologies integrating digital communications and computing into power system infrastructure were materializing much more slowly than their proponents had predicted, and measurable benefits were hard to find. But if the darkest is just before dawn, as the saying goes, then perhaps now the smart grid may at last be coming over the horizon.

Not least among the last weeks’ positive indicators: President Obama’s plea in his State of the Union address for a “self-healing grid,” made in the context of his overall pitch for much greater spending for infrastructure improvement. It was nice to hear, especially coming so soon after the outgoing energy secretary’s farewell talk, in which Chu neglected to include the words “smart grid” even once in his 3750-word peroration.

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