No longer the work of science fiction authors, smart grid technology is quickly creating a very financially and environmentally friendly global market. Producing over $33 billion in global revenue in 2012 alone, this technology has the potential to more than double by 2020, producing over $73 billion in annual revenue.
Despite these noteworthy revenues, studies show that 79% of Americans are not familiar with the term “smart grid”. On the bright side, 80% of those who have heard of the term want to know more. With this technology creating new opportunities all over the world, it’s best we break the ice.
Smart Grid: a modernized electrical grid that gathers real-time supply and demand data and automatically adjusts electric loads to improve reliability, efficiency, and financial costs of production and distribution.
Jobs: The direct implementation of smart grid technology could create up to 280,000 jobs. Smart grid also opens the door for more distributed renewable energy sources. Estimates show that incorporating these renewables within smart grids could result in over 400,000 solar, and almost 500,000 wind jobs.
Reliability: In 2003, the Northeast U.S. blackout caused an estimated $7 billion in economic losses. Smart grid technologies create a more stable and reliable electrical grid, reducing the amount of blackouts and the financial costs associated with them.
Greenhouse gas emissions: According to the EPA, in 2011, the electricity sector produced 33% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. with over 2.2 Billion metric tons of CO2e, more than any other economic sector. The implementation of widespread smart grid technologies could help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25%.
(Total U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Economic Sector, Source: U.S. EPA)
Job creation and emission reductions are only the beginning. With worldwide implementation of smart grid technology, we can continue to generate huge revenues, lower carbon emissions, and create a world that future generations will be proud to join. To find out more about these technologies, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s web page on smart grid.