On the afternoon of Thursday August 14, 2003 some 50+ million people in eight states and the province of Ontario lost power. Known as the Northeast Blackout of 2003, this event was the largest blackout in North American history. According to Scientific American, the blackout caused 11 deaths and cost approximately $6 billion.
The events that caused the blackout have been investigated and we’ve learned that the electrical power grid on which we depend for necessities like lights and heat is really quite fragile. The grid barely meets our current needs and, because it is based on 20th century technologies, our ability to manage it is limited.
As a response to what we learned from events like the Notheast Blackout of 2003 and as a key step toward energy independence, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contains funding for the SmartGrid Investment Grant Program under the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. The SmartGrid is an update of the 20th century power grid with 21st century technology. Smart metering, reliable and secure transmission and clean energy generation are all part of the SmartGrid.
So how do we create the SmartGrid with updated 21st century technologies? As Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra remarked in his recent speech at the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley, while there’s a lot of work to be done, the government’s most appropriate level of influence is to support a collaborative approach to standards that will ensure we have a level playing field to deliver game changing innovation.
via Around the Corner.