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Jul 062010
 

From Green Right Now Reports

Efficiency. It’s much discussed. But will Americans really turn down their AC (or their heat), caulk their windows and put their electronics on power strips?

Grid technology is key to bringing renewables online and increasing efficiency (Photo: GreenRightNow)

Experts say yes, they will — if they can see that meter ticking away, adding needless dollars to their electricity bills. But the ability to gauge our electricity use with “smart” gadgets around the home depends largely on updating the national grid; creating a smart grid that can feed back information. And that will take national dedication.

Advocates pushing for a renovated grid wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) today, urging him not to forget this part of the formula in shaping an energy and climate bill.

In a letter dated June 30 and released today, GridWise Alliance president Katherine Hamilton told Reid that developing and fully deploying a smart grid would enable a cleaner, more efficient and economically productive energy future that could:

  • Reduce carbon emissions by 18 percent over the next 20 years, according to a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
  • Help consumers save 4 to 12 percent on their energy consumption with a net savings of $2 to $35 billion over the next 20 years, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. (The letter didn’t address the large gap in potential savings.)
  • Create $64 billion in projects with a $16 million investment, creating 280,000 jobs, according to an analysis done as the Recovery Act was written.

“These technologies promise to reinvigorate not only an aging utility workforce with new workers but also create a much-needed new manufacturing base in this country,” Hamilton wrote.

The GridWise Alliance, created in 2003, is supported by a variety of businesses with a stake in the development of the grid, including utilities, tech companies and academics working in energy fields. The organization recently announced that  Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE and Sam Palmisano, Chairman, President and CEO of IBM, will lead an international gathering of energy industry thought leaders
at the inaugural GridWise® Global Forum, September 21-23 in Washington, D.C..