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July 12, 2010

Northeastern U.S. Heat Wave a Signal For the Nation to Invest in Smart Grid Technologies



With most of the North-Eastern parts of the United States facing a severe heat wave, a grid expert from GE has underlined the fact that in order to combat this environmental crisis, the country has to invest in smart grid technologies on priority.
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In the words of Bob Gilligan, vice president, digital energy business at GE, as record-breaking temperatures in the northeastern United States have consumers turning up their air conditioners, GE's overburdened electric grid is taking center stage. Gilligan continued that the heat wave is causing spikes in power demand, increasing the probability of service disruptions that provides an example of the demand levels the grid can expect to see in the future as penetration of electric heating and cooling continue to expand, and as new demands like plug-in electric vehicles enter the market.
By investing in smart grid technologies, utilities can be empowered to better manage fluctuating consumer demand and keep the AC on without adding more generation and transmission capacity, and although some people have expressed concern about the cost of smart grid investments, electric power outages and blackouts cost the nation about $80 billion annually.
Gilligan noted that additionally, the cost involved in generating a kilowatt-hour of electricity is much more than the cost of saving a kWh through adding intelligence to the grid and improving energy efficiency. Hence, if implemented the right way, smart grid technologies can not only help keep the air conditioners of the U.S. citizens on, but can also help lessen their dependence on fossil fuels, lower CO2 emissions and empower consumers to make smarter energy choices, which will positively impact the energy stability of the United States, Gilligan added.
On its part, GE develops and deploys the technology that helps make efficient use of natural resources, and GE Energy, equipped with a strong workforce of around 85,000 global employees and 2009 revenues of $37 billion, offers power generation and energy delivery technologies to a number of clients worldwide. GE Energy contains three different businesses, named GE Power & Water, GE Energy Services and GE Oil & Gas, which work seamlessly to offer integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy apart from the renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas.

Raja Singh Chaudhary is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raja's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda
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