Modernizing the United States’ electric system by implementing a “smart grid” could yield up to $2 trillion in benefits, according to a new assessment from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
The EPRI conducted a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of smart grid implementation with initial efforts beginning in 2010 and expected deployment through 2030. The investment required for new infrastructure, technologies and applications would likely run between $338 and $476 billion, but the EPRI expects associated benefits to be much higher, in the range of $1.3 to $2 trillion.
A more streamlined, efficient electricity grid would allow for more reliable delivery of electricity, reduced waste, improved security and better ability to incorporate energy from renewable sources like solar and wind. With more information about energy usage and greater pricing choices, the smart grid could also bring cost savings for consumers.
The EPRI report is designed to be a resource for industry players and decision makers “first to help us appreciate just how far the state of the art has advanced, and second, to help the industry make prudent investment decisions going forward,” said Mark McGranaghan, EPRI VP of Power Delivery and Utilization.