Back in 2010, Lisa Margonelli threw down the gauntlet on the then-budding smart grid technology. Her Atlantic write up, “What’s Really Wrong with the Smart Grid,” points out that, “…[when it comes to the smart grid], there is no coherent ideology there at all, never mind a green one. And that’s the problem: Nobody has bothered to explain why the Smart Grid is good for you and me and then turn that into policy.”
Margonelli’s challenge may have been the swift kick we needed to develop and communicate the concept of smart grid technology today.
Let’s face it. It’s been a long and hard road to develop and communicate the concept of the grid in a way that makes sense to bureaucrats, utilities, manufacturers, regulators, environmental groups, and consumers. Furthermore, we still have a long way to go. However, the innovative spirit that guided the smart grid has – and will continue – to prove that the benefits far outweigh the costs.
The question all stakeholders continue to ask is whether the grid will benefit everyone — and in what way.
Americans consume energy at a staggering rate. In 2018 alone, the average total consumption per person (per capita) was 309 million Btus. Fossil fuels account for 81% of the energy supply in the U.S., with nearly two-thirds of that going toward electrical power. While sources such as natural gas and coal have sustained us to this point, it is uncertain how long they will last. Best estimates suggest that natural gas may last another 60 years.