China ... plans to invest $600 billion in developing its national smart grid over the next decade" http://xrl.us/bij6yi
The EPRI report estimated the cost of upgrading the U.S. grid could range from $338 to $476 billion, up from $165 billion in a 2004 forecast. Benefit estimates have also skyrocketed to a range of $1.2 to $2 trillion, up from $660 billion estimated in 2004.
Smart Grid videos
http://xrl.us/bij3ti A new report from Pike Research forecasts that 276 million smart grid communications nodes will be shipped worldwide from 2010 to 2016, with annual shipments increasing dramatically from 15 million in 2009 to 55 million by 2016... this will represent a total industry investment of $20.3 billion during the seven-year forecast period, with annual revenues increasing from $1.8 billion in 2009 to $3.1 billion by 2016..."
For life in the 21st century, it is impossible to put a dollar value on the necessity of reliable electrical power. Electricity underlies every aspect of our modern lives, and yet the grid used to deliver this crucial commodity has not substantially changed since the 1890s, after its invention by Nikola “Electric Jesus” Tesla.
The current electricity delivery model is a source-sink one, meaning that a few giant power plants passively monitor the demand for electricity caused by net usage, and turn generators on or off accordingly. From a consumer perspective, your personal “sink” is monitored with a metre that is checked a couple of times a month and you are charged accordingly with a flat rate.
But the real cost of producing electricity is far from a flat rate. Over the day, as people go about their business, the net amount of electricity used rises relative to times when everybody is asleep, resulting in “peak power” consumption, such as when consumers begin making dinner as they collectively return home from work. This peak power is particularly noticeable during hot summers, when millions of people turn on their energy-intensive air conditioners.
A smart grid would cheaper, more robust, more reliable, and greener than the one we have today. The smart grid Telegestore project in Italy, which consists of 27 million connected metres, provides annual net savings of 500 million euros (around $680 million) every year. Based on an estimate published by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the present value of a smart grid can been conservatively estimated to be $7.5 billion to Canadians – not including the cultural, environmental or societal benefits included with radically rethinking how we consume power. Electrical demand will only increase in a growing, developing and heating world, and the very least we can do is provide it in a way that isn’t prone to catastrophic failure. It’s what Electric Jesus would have wanted.