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2011-02-16 13:49:04 GMT 2011-02-21 10:00:00 (GMT -08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) Yes (click here to learn more about ) Closed 0 0 0 direct invitation(s) have been sent by the voice seeker resulting in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far. Voice123 SmartCast is seeking 50 auditions and/or proposals for this project (approx.) Invitations sent by SmartCast have resulted in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far.
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In 2015, Smart Grids appeared to promise real benefits to energy providers and customers alike. But by 2025, this promise is yet to be fulfilled in much of the world.
WE MOVE IN AS THE SPINNING SLOWS, ENDING UP LOOKING AT THE U.S. POWER GRID, THE INTERCONNECTED LINES PULSING IN BLUE AND RED AGAINST A DARK BACKGROUND. WE CAN SEE IT’S THE U.S. BECAUSE THE GRID ITSELF CONFORMS TO THE SHAPE OF THE COUNTRY.
In the United States, the Smart Grid had been promoted as a fix for an aging and increasingly brittle infrastructure since the early 2010s, but political opposition had proven a formidable barrier.
VIDEO: blackout of NYC, frozen power lines.
The Winter of 2015-2016 changed American minds. Although a Smart Grid wouldn’t have prevented many of the disasters, the crisis made clear to the public that something needed to be done.
VIDEO: protests, smashed smart meters
But the same public did not like what they got.
Technology Journalist, Marian Ramsey reported,
“The Smart Grid roll-out left much to be desired. The big energy companies were quick to install smart meters and implement new pricing rules, but never really made an effort to tell energy customers what that meant.”
VIDEO: intercut between snowstorms and heat waves
Extreme weather conditions brought unexpectedly high power use in many parts of the country, and home consumption went up by an average of 25% – but because prices changed in real time in response to use, many customers saw their bills double, or even triple.
VIDEO: angry protestors yelling at executives
By 2020, the Washington DC elite had pronounced the Smart Grid a failure.
VIDEO: WE SEE THE SPINNING GLOBE AGAIN, NOW ZOOMING IN ON THE NORTHWEST PACIFIC (JAPAN, KOREA).
In places like Japan and South Korea, Smart Grid technologies were rolling out quickly. Culture, politics, and technology combined to make the deployment easy, and local observers could only watch in amazement as similar efforts in America stalled.
By the mid 2010s, leading Pacific Rim nations saw the first clear benefits of the systems, with measurable improvements in household energy efficiency. This did little to persuade American critics of Smart Grids, who felt that technologies suited for small countries were wrong for a nation as spread out as the US.
VIDEO: WE SEE THE SPINNING GLOBE AGAIN, NOW ZOOMING IN ON EUROPE.
In Europe, the roll out of Smart Grid technologies seemed to mirror the East Asian model at first, building towards the EU’s established infrastructure goals. But obstacles soon arose.
Martha Vanderleun, EU Energy Advisor 2017-2021, said
“The biggest problem in the European Union was getting the full cooperation of member countries. We wanted the Smart Grid network to be cross-border, so as to provide greater resilience. We just didn’t expect that member states would fight giving up full control over their power grids.”
Citing sovereignty issues, the United Kingdom announced in 2020 that it would not be participating at all in the EU Smart Grid, choosing instead to build its own. Several other member states followed.
By the early 2020s, the Smart Grid was nearly complete in countries like Japan and South Korea, and clearly demonstrating its benefits. At the same time, it remained stalled in the US, and fragmented in Europe. But as weather and resource-driven energy costs increased, however, other parts of the high-tech world realized they needed to reconsider the technologies.
Tech Journalist, Michael Baker wrote
“Over the past few years, better public understanding of what Smart Grids could do helped the idea regain some support in the US. There was a generational aspect, too. People were more accustomed to the use of pervasive sensors and infrastructure monitors, and had fully embraced the spread of renewable energy.”
Despite the lack of a federal mandate, a growing number of U.S. communities have adopted distributed renewable power. As an added benefit, the Smart Grid network has served to accelerate the spread of new energy technologies, by making load balancing across intermittent suppliers much easier.
In both the U.S. and Europe, the Smart Grid has also enabled the rise of microenergy companies, local renewable power providers using spot energy production on rooftops, parking lots, and other shared footprint spaces.
The advanced developing world has also started to embrace Smart Grids. India and Brazil have begun to build their own cutting-edge Smart Grid systems, taking advantage of lessons learned by other nations. Conversely, China’s Smart Grid efforts, have been hampered by bureaucratic in-fighting between Beijing and provincial governors.
In 2025, there is no one Smart Grid story. Japan and South Korea have the clear lead in Smart Grid innovation, but both Europe and the leapfrog nations of Brazil and India are building competitive systems. China, despite ambitious goals, continues to lag.
The United States seems to combine all of these trends. Many in Washington still want a nationwide roll-out, but some regions – notably New York, California, and Colorado – have already adopted grid technologies more advanced than in the Federal plans.
At the same time, parts of the country remain stuck with a power grid that hasn’t changed markedly in a generation, with no real movement in sight.
The trajectory of the Smart Grid model in the 21st century is clear. What is unclear, at this point, is when the parts of the world that have fallen behind will catch up.
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