White House to announce IT-powered smart grid on Monday

White House to announce IT-powered smart grid on Monday

Summary: The White House is holding an event on Monday to unveil new initiatives to implement a smart electric grid in the US. IT is expected to play a prominent role in the plans.

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TOPICS: Emerging Tech
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On Monday, the Obama administration is preparing announce the next steps that the US will take to build its 21st century electric grid, and IT is expected to play a big part in the plans.

The White House is hosting a 90-minute media event called "Building the 21st Century Electric Grid" and is releasing a new report on what it will take for lawmakers and the private sector to come together to solve this aspect of the energy challenge.

The press invite from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy stated, "The Administration will announce a number of new public- and private-sector initiatives designed to accelerate the modernization of the nation's electric infrastructure, bolster electric-grid innovation, and advance a clean energy economy, in part by taking greater advantage of digital and communications or 'smart grid' technologies."

The event will feature a number of heavy hitters from the President's cabinet, including:

  • Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy
  • Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer
  • John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology
  • Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture
  • David Hayes, Deputy Secretary of Interior
  • Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality
  • Phil Weiser, National Economic Council Senior Advisor

Jesse Berst, chief analyst of SmartGridNews.com, reported, "We hear that a few leading utilities and at least one technology vendor will be featured as well. Our sources say the announcements will include a new nonprofit to encourage rapid implementation of consumer tools for choice and control."

Here's more from the official White House statement:

"Along with the announcement of new public and private initiatives aimed at building a smarter, expanded grid and empowering consumers, the Cabinet-level National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) will release a new report: 'A Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid.' This policy framework charts a collaborative path forward for applying digital information or 'smart grid' technologies to the nation's electricity infrastructure to facilitate the integration of renewable sources of power into the grid; help accommodate the growing number of electric vehicles; help avoid blackouts and restore power quicker when outages occur; and reduce the need for new power plants."

In 2008, Obama made a series of campaign promises aimed at attacking the country's energy challenge. Some of the more popular aspects of his plan were talk about "green jobs" and the "smart grid." We'll see if Monday's announcement can start moving the ball down the field on both of those initiatives.

The event wil be streamed live at whitehouse.gov/live at 10:00AM Eastern on Monday and the NSTC report and other materials will be available at whitehouse.gov/ostp at that time.

President Obama receives a briefing on the BP oil spoil on July 21, 2010 at the White House. Credit: White House photostream

This article was originally published on TechRepublic.

Topic: Emerging Tech

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45 comments
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  • Any Gov't IT initiative has the potential of going horribly wrong.

    Incentivize private-sector IT growth and innovation will flow but Gov't should stay out of any broad stroke plan that would arbitrarily alter how commerce and IT mesh together.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
    • Can you give ONE example

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate <br>of a "broad stroke plan" that gave incentives to private-<br>sector that didn't involve government to any degree?<br>I can't think of one. Even the incentives come from government.<br>Updating the country's electric grid is going to take a lot of work and cooperation between all parties, including our government. <br>Jesse Berst's (is this the same Jesse Berst of former ZDNet Berst Alerts?) comments did allude to the formation of a non-profit group to look at the issues.<br>Wiz <{;-)
      wizard57m-cnet
      • Capital

        @wizard57m@...

        What is needed is a plan of targeting availability of much-need capital to those who ask for help and qualify--and I don't mean the SBA.

        When car manufacturers tanked -- the Gov't tossed money their way.

        When the Banks tanked because of the effects of lending practices which were deregulated and left with no close oversight, the Gov't tossed money their way.

        When Wall Street tanked because of deceit, the Gov't tossed money their way.

        Making capital available to rebuild our country is vital but that need not mean the Feds attach stipulations to how dollars are spent. Let that be.
        Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
      • Re Capital

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate<br>All the examples you just gave in reply illustrate exactly why government must be involved...lack of oversight, excess deregulation...<br>you still did not give me one example of a large national plan that was a success without government involvement.<br>I'll give one example of a successful initiative that did have full backing of our government...rural electrification! By contrast, if we allowed greedy corporate interests to decide who gets a new electric grid, I would forecast a large part of our nation would not be on the new grid. Why? Simply because the ROI would not be enough for the CEOs to make their bonuses and give shareholders a penny if the power companies had to provide service to many rural areas. We would see yet another "digital divide"...there are already large sections of the country without low-cost reliable highspeed internet access.<br>I don't know why you brought up the SBA, but my experience with the SBA has been mostly positive.<br><{;-)
        wizard57m-cnet
      • You just want ONE example?

        How about railroads?

        The government didn't build the railroads, they simply gave cash to the people who did it. That was the extent of their involvement.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Railroads? You are joking, right?

        @goff256<br>I mean, the railroads...yeah, the government had no involvement, except for all those contracts to transport troops, and the Army planned them....then the railroad barons created virtual monopolies that until the introduction of the automobile held much of the nation hostage.<br>Here's a good read for you...<br><a href="http://members.tripod.com/~american_almanac/railroad.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://members.tripod.com/~american_almanac/railroad.htm</a><br><br><{;-)
        wizard57m-cnet
      • Puh-lease

        Really? You think the government built the railroads?

        It wasn't until the 1850's that government money even went to the railroads at all. Until then, it was private investors. Eeven the transcontinental railroad was built by the Union Pacific.

        Read a real history book, not a tripod site.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • re: railroads

        The vast majority of railroads came into existence with the government chartering the corporation and giving land grants.

        The government didn't plan, regulate or otherwise interfere in the building up of the railroad infrastructure, but they sure "planned" a lot of it out of existence thereafter.

        I'll give you an example of a successful national-scale movement that arose without any government involvement: Major League Baseball. :)
        pgit
      • Dietrich: When it comes to banks and Wall Street and automobile companies,

        a lot of the problems in those sectors, were originally caused by government involvement and intervention in those areas to begin with. Without government intervention into those sectors, chances are that the problems would never have been created and no rescue plans would have been needed.

        People often overlook the real reason for why businesses or the economy fail, but, oftentimes, the problems can be traced to the hidden costs and external factors which were intrusive and damaging, even if some of those interventions might have been "well intentioned". When it comes to government involvement in any part of industry, we generally end up with more problems than if those industries were allowed to go it alone.
        adornoe
      • wizard57m: Sorry about repeating myself, but, what I said to Dietrich,

        is just as applicable as a response to your posts:

        <b>When it comes to banks and Wall Street and automobile companies, a lot of the problems in those sectors, were originally caused by government involvement and intervention in those areas to begin with. Without government intervention into those sectors, chances are that the problems would never have been created and no rescue plans would have been needed.

        People often overlook the real reason for why businesses or the economy fail, but, oftentimes, the problems can be traced to the hidden costs and external factors which were intrusive and damaging, even if some of those interventions might have been "well intentioned". When it comes to government involvement in any part of industry, we generally end up with more problems than if those industries were allowed to go it alone.</b>
        adornoe
    • RE: White House to announce IT-powered smart grid on Monday

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz
      i alway hear people talk about government should stay out. but let me ask you this sir.Shouldn't the government get involved with a project that might well be, the biggest
      change to the national energy sector?
      saneblane
      • I'm not Dietrich, but, my answer to that is a very simple &quot;HELL NO!&quot;.

        The energy sector would be a lot better off if the government would stay out of the energy sector, and the country would be a lot better off if the government were not regulating the industry to the point where we have to import a lot of our energy and we end up paying outrageous prices for energy because of that intervention.

        Big government is the source for most of the economy's and country's problems, so let's not make things a lot worse by giving them more regulatory and control powers.
        adornoe
  • RE: White House to announce IT-powered smart grid on Monday

    THE ENGINE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THIS 21ST CENTURY IS "BROADBAND."

    WITH THE EXPONENTIAL GROWTH IN SMART DEVICES AND ITS APPLICATIONS, AS WELL AS THE GROWTH IN INTERNET TRAFFIC AND TRANSACTIONS, WE NEED TO BUILD INTELLIGENT INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES FOR: BROADBAND SERVICES, HEALTHCARE IT, SMART TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, AND SMART GRIDS.

    PLEASE SEE:

    www.21stcenturycommunications.blogspot.com
    www.21stcenturyinfrastructure.blgospot.com
    www.nationwideeehrinteroperability.blogspot.com
    www.gkquoquoi.blogspot.com

    GADEMA KORBOI QUOQUOI
    PRESIDENT & CEO
    COMPULINE INTERNATIONAL, INC.
    Gadema
  • RE: White House to announce IT-powered smart grid on Monday

    Of course the security aspect of it better be taken very seriously.
    A nice fat target for the POS hackers.
    MoeFugger
    • Security? We don't need no stinky security.

      @MoeFugger We are in the year of the "cloud". Security is not even worth a bullet point.
      wackoae
    • RE: White House to announce IT-powered smart grid on Monday

      @MoeFugger Don't worry - they are hiring the best of the best from Sony......they seem to be available to hire right now!
      Nadaphanboi
  • Stupidest Idea Ever

    America has many problems: greed, dishonest corporations, short-sighted unions, people out of work, industries in decline....

    Out of all these problems, I fail to see how an IT-powered smart grid does anything useful for the nation.

    If anything, a smart-grid will allow easier flow of electricity to different corners of the country. While this is superficially good, the net effect will be that consumer prices will go up.

    Why, because in markets where generating capacity is currently at a surplus and cannot be easily moved, smart-grid will allow it to get exported out of state. People in wealthy states with electricity deficits will bid-up price and drive rates up.

    That doesn't even include paying for all the technology upgrades to make a smart grid possible... Does anyone really believe that taxpayers won't be on the hook for that somehow?

    And finally, it sounds cool, but I suspect rate-payers will foot the bill for this crap and end up with Chinese-built wind turbines and solar panels feeding power into it. We will end up with a grid that will facilitate increasing the trade deficit even more.
    croberts
    • Agree and disagree...

      I agree that it is a dumb move, but mostly because it calls for heavier government involvement in our lives. <br><br>I disagree with the concept of wealthy states getting preferential treatment, because, if the demand is there for more capacity, the energy sources or energy companies, would prefer to generate more and accommodate more people than to simply give up on a market segment to accommodate another segment. Most customers for an energy company are not the wealthy type, which means that those energy companies would likely want to offer better and more service to the majority of their customers. Besides, ever hear of the law of "supply and demand"? If the demand is there, some company will generate the supply or increase the supply. It's a simple equation of the free-market which simply works.
      adornoe
  • RE: White House to announce IT-powered smart grid on Monday

    - OR -

    Currently quasi-governmental sudo-private companies have regional monopolies. They raise prices on a yearly basis with little to no visible return to the consumer. Where else are the customers going to go? Off the grid?

    While it may be true that people in wealthy states may "up the demand and drive prices up" the opposite will also be true - that when consumers have choices they can find the cheapest option - which has the affect of bringing pricing down with more services attached.

    It's possible you will see prices even out across the US - which means if you live in a low cost utility area now - you may be negatively affected. But if you live in a high-cost utility area, then you will suddenly see a decrease in utility rates.

    -CF
    ChronoFish
  • Get out!

    I want to know:<br>1) Why the White House thinks that government is the proper institution for managing electricity generation and distribution in the United States, other than the possibility that the White House is full of Socialists, and<br>2) Why any journalist who was not a Socialist would report this as anything other than a blatant, uncalled-for power grab by the government.<br><br>Is there <i>any</i> aspect of human behavior that the White House and the journalists do not believe is the province of government?
    Robert Hahn