US Electrical Grid is Largest Interconnected Machine on Earth, And It Needs Upgrades

Climate Desk has put out a really cool and interesting video about how we are improving the technology behind the US energy grid. If you watch one short video today, it should be this one. Press play, please:

As noted in the video, not all folks are onboard with smart metering due to what seems like irrational fear about health and privacy.

Bloomberg reports, "A growing consumer backlash against new wireless digital technology for measuring power usage is slowing U.S. utilities’ $29 billion effort to upgrade their networks. States including California, Maine and Vermont have responded to customer concerns about higher bills and safety by offering them the option of keeping their conventional devices for an extra charge."

You can pay more money and be a larger drain on the grid by keeping your old smart meter, or you can put a little faith in the studies done thus far about smart meters and trust that no, it won't kill you, and you'll ultimately save money.

From Bloomberg:

[California's PG&E] roll-out of the devices, which started in 2006, has been fraught with complications including customer accusations that the smart meters were overcharging. In 2010, state regulators commissioned a study that found the measurements were reliable. Burt of PG&E said the devices are more accurate than traditional analog meters. Regulators and utilities also point to government studies that say the devices are safe. In 2011, the California Council on Science and Technology, a state-created technology advisory board, said in a report it found no evidence from scientific studies that smart meters were harmful and the devices emit far less radio-frequency energy than microwaves or mobile phones.

Yes, there are legitimate concerns about things like cybersecurity, but realistically, everything connected to the Internet is at some risk for security breaches. Is it not worth the risk if it keeps us from a guaranteed future of trying to survive on a roasting planet?

If we want a smart grid (and we don't just want, but need to have a smart grid) then we need smart meters. We need that tool that can create communication between home and utility. Yet the opposition is indeed slowing installation of meters. But as you can see from the video above, our need for a smart grid is one of the most pressing concerns in the energy industry. We need to move forward with this technology, and fast.

Tags: Energy Efficiency | Technology