Smart grid: Unnecessary, or necessary evil?
Regulations, privacy and security concerns, and other issues could hold back developments.
According to a story by
Kevin Bullis at the MIT Technology Review , a smarter electricity
grid could fundamentally change the way people pay for and manage their
electricity use. In theory, the technology could help reduce demand, save
money, and improve reliability and efficiency.
But implementing the
necessary changes will be difficult, according to experts attending a symposium
on the smart grid at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y.,
this week. They expect resistance from regulators and consumers alike, citing
the complexity of the proposed system as well as concerns about privacy and
The smart grid will
incorporate new networking technology, including sensors and controls that make
it possible to monitor electricity use in real time and make automatic changes
that reduce energy waste. Furthermore, grid operators should be able to
instantly detect problems that could lead to cascading outages, like the ones
that cut power to the northeastern United States in 2003. And the
technology ought to allow energy companies to incorporate more intermittent,
renewable sources of electricity, such as wind turbines, by keeping the grid
stable in the face of minute-by-minute changes in output.
at SolveClimate ,
developing a national smart grid is such a high priority for the Obama administration
that regulators plan to let power providers who pioneer the technology pass
their costs on to their customers-before national standards are approved and
before analysts have determined the most cost-effective technologies.
The Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission adopted its official Smart Grid Policy on July 16,
setting priorities for the grid's development that emphasize such areas as
cybersecurity, dynamic pricing, and the need for technology that can facilitate
off-peak charging for electric vehicles.
Experts at the Gerson
Lehrman Group have written an opinion piece entitled " Smart Grid is the Scam of
the Century ."
In it, they discuss that the Smart Grid is a Trojan Horse Big
Brother that wants to get into your home or business under the disguise of
Bullis at MIT Technology Review also wrote an article titled "A Costly and
Unnecessary New Electricity Grid."
In it, he says a national
interstate system for distributing power may prove an expensive boondoggle.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.