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Where we need to be

In the future, our electrical grid will be able to determine how much energy is needed where and when, it will (within reason) dynamically price based on supply and demand, and it will give feedback to the utility grid about when infrastructure is being stressed or has gone offline. This will be a part of a future that includes smart grids transporting energy from clean, renewable energy sources, to smart homes that intelligently use as little energy as can be reasonably expected. These homes will also need to be equipped with Electric Cars and energy efficient, smart appliances that can communicate with the grid to allow for even more efficient operation.

It is also likely to save a lot of carbon dioxide emissions
Eventually, a smart grid may be able to communicate with appliances such as your washing machine. This would allow you to set the machine to run when energy demand is low and electricity is essentially on sale.Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Although estimated at a cost of $200 to $800 billion for the US alone in total equipment upgrades, the smart grid could save over $100 billion in new power plants and transmission lines over the next 20 years. In addition, it is estimated by some that faults in the current grid cost $100 billion a year, many of which would be resolved by a smart grid. This will be a future investment that will pay off over the coming years.

It is also likely to save a lot of carbon dioxide emissions, somewhere between 60 and 211 million metrics tons per year by 2030, by making energy efficiency easier. It will be easier to see how much your electricity usage is costing you in real time, there will be financial incentives to run energy at off-peak times, and the grid will even be able to communicate with some smart appliances to maximize efficiency.
MSNBC - Smart Grids
Discussion on the pros and cons of smart grid technologies.
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EnergyPriorities.com
Importance of Smart Grid technology.
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MSNBC - Smart Grids
Discussion on the pros and cons of smart grid technologies.
Click now to view
EPRI - Smart Grid
Report on what a smart grid is and possible CO2 reductions from its use.
Click now to view
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