Washington, D.C., August 13, 2008 — Implementing a next-generation electrical power grid is vital to strengthening America’s resilience and promoting energy efficiency, security, and alternative sources of power, according to a new paper from the Reform Institute. “The Smart Alternative: Securing and Strengthening Our Nation’s Vulnerable Electric Grid” examines the benefits of the smart grid to U.S. security, economy, and energy policy.
“Our Nation is at a crossroads as our energy dependence and vulnerable critical infrastructures become significant liabilities to our security and resilience,” stated Ken Nahigian, author of the paper. “We cannot continue to close our eyes and hope for the best with respect to our current electrical grid. But with the emerging focus on alternative sources of energy and a sustainable environment, we may be witnessing the ‘perfect storm’ that is needed to make the full deployment of the smart grid a reality.”
As the summer season brings the peak period for electricity consumption, and along with it skyrocketing electric bills and power disruptions for consumers, modernizing our outdated electrical power grid and pursuing a system that promotes conservation and energy efficiency will become an attractive option, the paper asserted.
The smart grid utilizes advanced communications and electrical capabilities in an attempt to create a more dynamic grid that facilitates the increased use of energy alternatives such as wind and solar power and energy-efficient technologies such as plug-in hybrid vehicles. The smart grid could also allow consumers to conserve energy and use it more efficiently; makes the transmission and distribution of electric energy more efficient; reduces the likelihood of power disruptions; is more compatible with the technologies and necessities of the digital age; and hardens our energy infrastructure and enhances our national resilience.
“The smart grid is vital to building a more resilient America,” said Reform Institute executive director Cecilia Martinez. “Our current grid is highly vulnerable to severe disruption in the case of a catastrophic event. The lack of reliable power in the event of a crisis acutely impedes our ability to rapidly respond to and recover from a natural disaster or terrorist attack, which is the essence of resilience. Critical emergency response, defense, economic and social activities require a dependable electrical power grid. Employing the smart grid will be a key component of the Reform Institute’s resilience agenda.”
There could also be economic benefits to utilizing the smart grid. The smart grid could cut down on the billions of dollars lost each year by U.S. businesses on power disruptions and energy inefficiency. Losses caused by power disturbances are estimated at over $100 billion per year. It could also open new markets for smart technologies.
The paper is available on the Reform Institute’s website.
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