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'Smart grid' presents great promise,complications PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marjorie Holt   
Monday, April 27 2009

baltimoresun.com
'Smart grid' presents great promise, complications
By Rebecca Cole

Tribune Washington Bureau

April 26, 2009

WASHINGTON

One warm August afternoon in 2003, a power failure originating in Ohio coursed through the northeastern section of the electrical grid, sparking the nation's largest blackout ever and leaving millions in eight states without air conditioning, traffic lights or cell phone service.

A "smart grid" might have averted a shutdown that cost an estimated $6 billion.

That new grid - a digital network allowing utilities, consumers and alternative sources of renewable energy to "talk" to one another - could steer electricity to where it is needed most, avert cascading energy bottlenecks and promote power from alternative sources.

President Barack Obama has made the smart grid a major plank of his "rebuilding America" plan, viewing it as a way not only to eliminate blackouts and power failures, but also to create new jobs and cut greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

In the economic stimulus act that the president signed in February, Congress allocated $4.5 billion for smart-grid investments, a thin slice of the $38.7 billion that the package funneled to the Department of Energy.

Read more at http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-te.smartgrid26apr26,0,3201327,print.story

 
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