Case Study: What’s the buzz in Smart Grids?

1. How do smart grids differ from the current electricity infrastructure in the United States? Smart grids differ from the current electricity infrastructure in the United States. One of the main differences is that smart grids provide electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology in order to save energy, reduce costs, and to increase reliability and transparency. As oppose, the existing electricity infrastructure in the United States provides electricity which is outdated and inefficient.

Another difference is that, the current electricity grids do not provide any information about how the consumers are using the energy, which makes difficult to develop more efficient approaches to distribution. Since the current electricity grids do not provide useful information, distributors and consumers may not be able to make proper decisions about how they use energy efficiently. Conversely, smart grids provide information to both energy providers and consumers to make more intelligent decisions regarding energy consumption and production for better efficiency.

2. What management, organization, and technology issues should be considered when developing a smart grid? With as advanced as a smart grid is, it is easy to understand that there are several issues that need to be considered when developing a smart grid. From a management perspective

3. What challenge to the development of smart grids do you think is most likely to hamper their development? There are a number of challenges facing the efforts to implement smart grids. Changing the infrastructure of our electricity grids is a daunting task. Two-way meters that allow information to flow both to and from homes need to be installed at any home or building that uses electric power–in other words, essentially everywhere. Another challenge is creating an intuitive end-user interface.

The smart grid won’t be cheap, with estimated costs running as high as $75 billion. Meters run $250 to $500 each when they are accompanied by new utility billing systems. When develop the system smart meters might be too intrusive for the end users. And consumers and utility companies will get the promised payback if they buy into smart grid technology. Another big challenge is risk of the cyber attacks.

4. What other areas of our infrastructure could benefit from “smart” technologies? Describe one example not listed in the case.

5. Would you like your home and your community to be part of a smart grid? Why or why not? Explain.