Building the Smart Grid Smartly

In the sixth of a ten-part series, National Public Radio investigates the sustainability of smart grid technology in the places where its likely to be applied.
May 1, 2009, 7am PDT | franny.ritchie
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"The push is on to make the nation's aging electricity grid smarter, so it can handle growing demand for electricity. Many assume that a smart grid will also be a green grid - delivering clean electricity and helping to address climate change. But that's not necessarily so."

"Smart grid technology means several kinds of innovations. One is that both customers and utilities will be able to monitor electric use, minute by minute. Steve Nadel, who runs a nonprofit called the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, says information alone doesn't make the smart grid green."

"In California, San Diego Gas and Electric has been pushing to build a major new power line into the neighboring Imperial Valley. The utility has been selling the idea in part on its environmental benefits.

But California Public Utilities Commissioner Dian Grueneich is skeptical.

"Anybody who's proposing a transmission line in the United States these days is going to claim it's going to be used for renewable - it's going to be a 'green' line because that's mom and apple pie," Grueneich says."

""This isn't rocket science. We don't need to develop whole new technologies," she says. "We aren't making bets on will we be able to develop a whole new way of doing things. It's just really being serious. If we're going to spend this money and call something green, let's make sure it happens."

Thanks to Franny Ritchie

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Published on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 in National Public Radio
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