Gallery: A US Smart Grid Would Save Energy Consumers 2 Trillion Over th...


There’s a lot of yelping these days about the cost of renewable energy technology but in some cases the investment is just a fraction of the payback. For instance, with a nation wide smart grid in the United States, new estimates say we could save up to $2 trillion over the next twenty years with an investment of $476 billion. Trillions in savings sounds like a great kickback to us, and we think that it’s time to get it in our heads that sometimes you just have to pay it forward.

These new estimates were created by the clean energy thinkers over at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). “We need to tell power customers there is going to be an improved power system that will result in reduced costs even if they do not see an immediate reduction in their bill,” said Clark Gellings, an EPRI Fellow. EPRI estimates that by 2050, with a smart grid, the average electricity bill will go up by about 50%. If the smart grid is not employed that same bill will go up by 400%.

With all the sexy innovation in wind turbines and solar panels the comparatively boring innovations in smart grid technology often get pushed aside. You can’t show the smart grid off in a wind-swept field or on a brand new building like you can with other clean energy technology — but that doesn’t mean the benefits aren’t huge. Creating a renewable energy future is as much about producing carbon-free energy as it is about making sure we use that energy in the most efficient manner.


Via Reuters


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  1. William Branham January 12, 2013 at 8:14 am

    A nation wide smart grid in the United States, new estimates say we could save up to $2 trillion over the next twenty years with an investment of $476 billion.

    Read more: A US Smart Grid Would Save Energy Consumers 2 Trillion Over the Next 20 Years | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

  2. lazyreader May 31, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    How arrogant is that. Private sector does just about anything better because they can compete. With current technology maybe. But it’s tinkerers and inventors in basements and garages that have brought us better everything. Business looking for profit; they’ll deliver us a better battery, better electric car and a better charger. Whos to say lithium will be a part of the battery. Many researchers are developing iron andcarbon batteries, materials in far greater abundance to make batteries.

  3. caeman May 31, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I was being facetious. Mostly. The more electric cars we produce, the more electricity we will need to produce to recharge them. There simply is not enough in the way of renewable energy that we can harness with current technology to satisfy the demand.

  4. lazyreader May 31, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    @Caeman: Computers, servers, and data centers consume a lot of electricity. Don’t you think its hypocritical to spread technophobia and anti-technological dogma over the internet. Why not let the free market run the energy sector. Government tampers with the market. As for cmflyers comment on dismantling the grid; that’s an option for the rich elite who can afford to put solar panels on their homes and place racks of batteries in their basements. More de-regulation may yield many smaller energy companies that can still compete and provide cheap power to customers at a lower price. Is it cost effective to build your own power plant. If so is it as reliable or efficient as what private sector providers can do. Economist Adam Smith said it quite well “It’s the maxim of every prudent family never attempt to make at home what will cost more to make than to purchase”. We preach energy independence, what if we were food independent?? Next time theres a drought or fire or flood or crop failure, we’d starve to death.

    If you wanna burn wood in a Una-bomber shack, be my guest. I can live with the sin of air conditioning, television, internet, microwave ovens and anything else I can plug into my wall socket. Millions of people die in the Third World every year because of respiratory ailments associated with combustion. Because they use fire as a principal source of lighting, cooking and heating. In Africa they go into tropical forests cutting down huge amounts of land, just to make charcoal and slaughter the gorillas for bush meat so they don’t have any reason to protect the forests. If they don’t have cleaner burning natural gas or access to electricity and without the charcoal, they’ll simply burn whatever they get their hands on. They’ll burn cardboard, plastic, garbage, dried sewage or dung. Since they can’t dispose of flue gases properly the smoke stays low in the air. The result is far worse for local air quality than if a coal fired power plant existed just a few miles away.

  5. caeman May 29, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Electricity is the opiate of the masses.

  6. cmflyer May 29, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Caeman, you can’t deny an electric future. But you can demand efficiency. Electric lighting and appliances are getting more efficient, and advances in solar and battery technology will slowly be adopted. Electric vehicles will be the smart grid of the future, providing peak power while you are parked at a smart meter. But in the end I think the key is dismantling the electrical grid altogether, with towns and individual homes generating their own power. This could be a huge social revolution in terms of wealth distribution. Turn the power brokers out on their ears!

  7. kcdk99 May 25, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Who wants to bet that they charge us now for the upgrades and when the cost savings go into effect they don’t actually pass those savings on to us?

  8. lazyreader May 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Several utilities have attempted to create a “smart grid” program using public subsidies that would stick low income customers with higher power bills. But the plan was rejected by regulators as it “eroded important protections for low-income customers against shutoffs. The plans unfairly target low-income customers and circumvented laws made to help struggling consumers keep the lights on. benefits are unlikely to be realized without a difficult transition period during which the luster of the promised potential of the technology is diminished by the extreme cost overruns and by reduced reliability (due to software bugs and unanticipated problems).

  9. caeman May 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    In addition to making more efficient use of the electricity, we need to use less electricity. We need to cut our dependence on tech devices and adapt to less energy use. More and bigger windows in houses for day-lighting, own fewer electric devices, get away from using costly air conditioners, use less heat in the winter (do you really need your house cooking at 72 degrees?)

    This idea of mind is why I see electric cars as being so bad. If we have 10 million EVs by 2020, that is 10 million EVs pumping up the electric demand, which means more coal being burned, more nuclear rods being used, etc.

    We need to cut our dependence on electricity. Period. If environmentalist truly want to show how green they are, they need to lead the way and show that one can survive just fine with FEWER thing, rather holding on and just making the devices they are slaves to more efficient. That increase in efficiency simply strengths the addiction and increases the justifications.

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