Jesse Berst of the Smart Grid Newsletter wonders whether the recession will kill the Smart Grid. In today's "Grid Automation" column, he details reasons why it might and reasons why it won't.
He says a recession might kill Smart Grid because (1) utilities can't afford to pass the higher costs on to consumers, (2) falling energy demand and prices are diminishing incentives for energy efficiency, and (3) it might "fall prey to the same panic that has gripped much of Wall Street."
But he also says a recession won't kill Smart Grid because (1) past and future federal incentives will pump money into the electrical infrastructure, (2) state public service commissioners are favorably disposed to Smart Grid, (3) utilities have an urgent need to upgrade their aging equipment and will have to turn to more advanced technology to do so, and (4) as renewable energy and plug-in cars get more attention, the only way to provide broad access will be through a Smart Grid.
Berst concludes that even with higher costs for utilities, the benefits outweight the costs for them and they will ultimately make this a priority.