Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Recap of The Economist report on Smart Grids

This week "The Economist" ran a 14-page special report on "Smart Grids". They cover everything many topics regarding smart grids from sensors to new city projects to IT opportunities. I've been hearing this buzz float around for a while now but after reading this report I think I finally am getting an idea of what they are trying to accomplish.

Here are a few highlights I thought were interesting:

1. Cities are updating their infrastructures to make them smarter. The article tells many stories about this but one in particular is about how London has been taking its centuries-old water system and making it smart but implementing sensors that report water flow, leaks, etc. This has allowed the city to save on water and they can now respond more quickly to main breaks.

2. Boulder Colorado is the home to what is considered the world's first "fully fledged smart grid". Their energy utility, Xcel Energy, has installed 20,000+ smart meters that report all electricity usage in real time and they're starting to offer dynamic pricing plans that allow them to charge different rates depending on the time of day (peak vs off-peak hours).

3. Opportunities will be had in Analytics. With all these sensors getting deployed someone will need to gather all this data and analyze it so humans can make good decisions. That said, there will be a lot of growth for anyone that can provide data storage and analysis.

I recommend you pick up the article and take a look because it has the potential to affect all of us.

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