An excellent report from the researchers at Climate Solutions arguing for speedier implemention of Smart Grid technology in the Northwest’s electric transmission system. Smart Grid refers to a host of technological updating that the current electrical system sorely needs. By integrating more advanced computers and digital processing, the electricity transmission can improve its efficiency and resilience.
In the event of disruption, such as a storm or even a terrorist attack, the Smart Grid would be capable of "healing itself" by redistributing power to where it’s most needed. It will also allow operators to pinpoint interruptions more quickly so that they can fix the problem manually. Even better, by creating a more efficient system that wastes less and responds faster to changing conditions, the Smart Grid reduces the need for expensive new power plants and infrastructure. (In one case in Utah, a utility was able to save $4.3 million using new technology and was able to avoid building a new plant and transmission lines in environmentally sensitive areas.) And if that’s not enough, a Smart Grid would allow true interface between distributed forms of eletricity generation like small-scale wind, solar, and fuel cell generators.
But enough blathering from me. The researchers at Climate Solutions have the low down: go read about it for yourself.
Postscript: In our latest book, Sightline also argued for Smart Grid technology. It’s an exciting reform for both environmental and security reasons and even more exciting because the Smart Grid is already on its way. Still, as the Climate Solutions report details, there are plenty of ways that the Northwest’s leaders can hasten its arrival.