Green Smart Grid Initiative

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Interesting facts about the Green Smart Grid

Energy Efficiency | Renewable Energy

Emissions | Climate Impact


Energy Efficiency

The smart grid will enable new types of efficiency beyond “traditional” energy efficiency.  It will allow dynamic dispatch of energy efficiency (demand response) in a way that this resource most effectively competes with supply side options.  The Smart Grid’s information and control systems will also allow operation of the entire electricity system to be dynamically optimized at all times. It will also enable customers to use energy more efficiently by accessing more complete information about their electricity use and having new energy management options and incentives. Below are some facts about the contribution that the smart grid will make towards an efficient electricity system.  

Demand response, the heart of the ‘smart grid’ concept of a power system that can respond immediately to changes in supply and electricity prices, could account for a fifth of U.S. electricity. 
Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), cited by Reuters, “Smart Grid Good for Big Solar, Wind: US Regulator,” October 2009
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The potential contribution of demand response programs in the U.S. increased more than ten-fold in only two years.  In 2008, it is estimated at about 41,000 MW, or about 5.8 percent of U.S. peak demand, up from about 3,400 MW in 2006.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), “2008 Assessment of Demand Response and Advanced Metering: Staff Report,” December 2008
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If the electrical grid were 5% more efficient it could displace the equivalent of 42 coal-fired power plants. 
Jon Wellinghoff, Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, US House of Representatives, May 2007 
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A 5% reduction of nationwide electricity consumption, due to smart metering coupled with “time-of-day” pricing, would eliminate the need for 625 new combustion turbines.
Christian Science Monitor, “Juicing Down for Global Warming,” July 2007
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Smart Grid technologies can help families save 10% on their power bills.  
Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, “Pacific Northwest GridWise Testbed Demonstration Projects,” October 2007
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Studies show that consumers who receive information about their electricity usage through Smart Grid devices use up to 20% less energy. 
The Brattle Group, "The Impact of Informational Feedback on Energy Consumption---A Survey of the Experimental Evidence," May 2009
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“Approximately two-thirds of the fuel burned to generate electricity is lost in the generation and delivery process. Or, to put it another way, our electric power system operates at approximately 33 percent efficiency.”
Galvin Electricity Initiative, “The Electric Power System is Inefficient”
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For every unit of energy that produces cool air in a traditional power grid-based air conditioner, 4½ units of energy are wasted.
Chris Hickman, Ice Energy, “Why is Storage Important and How Can We Get It Done?”, September 2009
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“Hidden within consumers' electricity bills are the costs of maintaining and operating aged and often dirty generating plants called ‘peakers.’ They may run 400 hours a year or less just to meet peak electricity demand when summer temperatures are highest. One out of every 10 generating plants is in that standby category…and they cost consumers billions of dollars in unnecessary utility bills annually.”
New York Times, “Consumer Response a Lingering Riddle for Backers of 'Smart Grid',” October 2009
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Without action, energy consumption is expected to rise by as much as 25% by 2012 in the EU. Smart Grid enabled feedback devices can reduce that consumption by 10%.
European Commission, “Addressing the challenge of energy efficiency through Information and Communication Technologies,” May 2008
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US power demand is projected to double by 2050.
U.S. Department of Energy, “The Smart Grid: An Introduction,” 2008
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“Utilities worldwide spent $13.9bn in 2012, up 7% on the previous year, on smart grid technologies such as advanced metering and fault management.”
Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “Smart Grid Infrastructure Remains Global Growth Market”, January 2013
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Renewable Energy

By using smart grid technologies, and smart grid practices like demand response, the electricity system can accept and manage the amount of intermittent and variable renewable energy that policymakers and the general public desire and expect to be developed. Below are some facts about the connection between the smart grid and renewable energy.

"Electric sector modeling shows that a more flexible system is needed to accommodate increasing levels of renewable generation. System flexibility can be increased using a broad portfolio of supply- and demand-side options, and will likely require technology advances, new operating procedures, evolved business models, and new market rules."
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, “Renewable Electricity Futures Study”, June 2012
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“Generation from wind increased from about 6 billion kilowatthours in 2000 to about 120 billion kilowatthours in 2011. Improved technology has decreased the cost of producing electricity from wind, and growth in wind power has been encouraged by policies that support the use of renewable energy sources.”
U.S. Energy Administration (EIA). “How Much of Our Electricity is Generated from Renewable Energy?” June 2012.
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Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 41.14% of new electrical generating capacity installed in October 2012 and 46.22% for the first ten months of 2012.
Renewable Energy World, Renewables Account for 46% New US Electrical Generating Capacity Since January, December 2012
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Cutting demand by a few minutes or seconds also could let the U.S. grid cheaply incorporate renewable sources like wind and solar that otherwise would need backup from plants that stayed idle most of the time.
FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, cited by Reuters, “Smart Grid Good for Big Solar, Wind: US Regulator,” October 2009
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“Integrating wind or solar power into the grid at scale – at levels higher than 20% – will require advanced energy management techniques and approaches at the grid operator level. The Smart Grid’s ability to dynamically manage all sources of power on the grid means that more distributed generation can be integrated within it.”  
U.S. Department of Energy, “The Smart Grid: An Introduction,” 2008
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Wind tends to blow hardest at night instead of the time when people have the most demand for electricity.
The Wall Street Journal, “Unbridled Energy: Predicting Volatile Wind, Sun,” October 2009
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“Currently, every wind farm and solar installation has to be backed up by a nearly equivalent amount of conventional fuel to keep the power grid running. That raises costs.”
The Wall Street Journal, “Unbridled Energy: Predicting Volatile Wind, Sun,” October 2009
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“[B]ecause resources such as solar and wind power are intermittent, the grid will require integrated monitoring and control, as well as integration with substation automation, to control differing energy flows and plan for standby capacity to supplement intermittent generation. Smart Grid capabilities will make it easier to control bi-directional power flows and monitor, control, and support these distributed resources.”
U.S. Department of Energy Electricity Advisory Committee, “Smart Grid: Enabler of the New Energy Economy,” December 2008
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Demand Response programs in Texas helped prevent a major blackout there in 2008 when there was a sudden drop in wind capacity. 
National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, “ERCOT Event on February 26, 2008: Lessons Learned,” July 2008
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“[T]he energy generated by incremental wind resources attributable to Smart Grid development is [estimated to be] 33.4 to 66.8 billion kWh in 2030.”
Electric Power Research Institute(EPRI), “The Green Grid: Energy Savings and Carbon Emissions Reductions Enabled by a Smart Grid,” June 2008
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By increasing the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, the smart grid will lead to a major decrease in the carbon emissions that are leading to global climate change. It will also increase other types of efficiency that lead to additional CO2 reductions.  Below you will find some facts relating to the contribution that the smart grid can make to reducing carbon emissions.

FERC’s estimated 20 percent reduction in peak demand “if realized, can reduce significantly the number of power plants needed to meet peak demand and thereby reduce carbon emissions by as much as 1.2 billion tons of carbon annually.”
Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), testimony before the Committee on Environment and Public Works, United States Senate, August 2009
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The Smart Grid can reduce emissions by 60 to 211 million metric tons of CO2 a year by 2030.   
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), “The Green Grid: Energy Savings and Carbon Emissions Reductions Enabled by a Smart Grid,” June 2008
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Installing smart meters will take 114 meter reading and maintenance vehicles off the road and avoid 1.2 million miles of driving and eliminating 1.5 million pounds of CO2.  
Portland Gas & Electric, “PGE Moves Forward on Smart Meter Installation Territory-Wide,” April 2009
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The Smart Grid helps reduce emissions by managing electricity peak load. CO2 emissions on peak can be 230% higher than off peak. 
San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Company, “Proposed Energy Efficiency Risk-Reward Incentive Mechanism and E M&V Activities” (comments filed with the Public Utilities Commission of California, Docket R0901019), May 2009 
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Expanded development of the Smart Grid would result in a 16% drop in CO2 emissions by 2030, the equivalent of taking 90 million cars off the road.
Ryan Hledik, The Brattle Group Inc., "How Green Is the Smart Grid?" The Electricity Journal, 2009, vol. 22, issue 3, pages 29-41 

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles on a smart grid will displace millions of gallons of oil per day, leading to a net decrease in carbon emissions.   
US Department of Energy, “The Smart Grid: An Introduction,” 2008
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“If the grid were just 5% more efficient, the energy savings would equate to permanently eliminating the fuel and greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars.”
U.S. Department of Energy, “The Smart Grid: An Introduction,” 2008
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“Full implementation of smart grid functionality will provide substantial reductions in U.S. energy consumption and carbon emissions:  9% direct reductions, 3% additional direct reductions by supporting additional EVs & PHEVs at very high penetrations (> 60%) by smart charging, 5% indirect reductions from reinvestment of $ from avoiding the addition of extra capacity for regulation and reserves to support a 25% renewable portfolio standard.”
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, “Potential Energy and Carbon Benefits of a Smart Grid,” September 2009
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Climate Impact

Climate change will have a major impact on the U.S. electric grid. Rising temperatures will lead to increased air conditioning use, stressing the grid during times of peak demand. Severe weather may cause power outages, leading to economic damage and inconveniencing millions of Americans. Smart grid technologies such as synchrophasors, advanced control and monitoring equipment, and smart meters will make the electric system better able to respond to the impacts of climate change, whether it is through preventing power outages, speeding up outage restoration times, or limiting peak demand through demand response. Below are some facts about how the smart grid can address some of the impacts of climate change.

Between 2003 and 2012, weather-related outages are estimated to have cost the U.S. economy an inflation-adjusted annual average of $18 billion to $33 billion.
The White House, Executive Office of the President, “Economic Benefits of Increasing Electric Grid Resilience to Weather Outages”, August 2013.
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Continued investment in grid modernization and resilience will mitigate the costs of weather-related outages over time. These investments may include installing smart grid technology such as smart meters, outage management systems, synchrophasors, and advanced control capabilities.
The White House, Executive Office of the President, “Economic Benefits of Increasing Electric Grid Resilience to Weather Outages”, August 2013. (
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“The magnitude of the challenge posed by climate change on an aging and already stressed U.S. energy system could outpace current adaptation efforts, unless a more comprehensive and accelerated approach is adopted.”
US Department of Energy, “U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather”, July 2013.
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“We'll fund a better, smarter electricity grid and train workers to build it - a grid that will help us ship wind and solar power from one end of this country to another. Think about it. The grid that powers the tools of modern life - computers, appliances, even blackberries - looks largely the same as it did half a century ago. Just these first steps toward modernizing the way we distribute electricity could reduce consumption by 2 to 4 percent. ”
President Barack Obama, "Remarks of President Barack Obama: Promoting the Recovery Plan with Secretary Chu", February 5, 2009

“To meet the energy challenge and create a 21st century energy economy, we need a 21st century electric grid.”
U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu, "Investing in Our Energy Future," September 2009

“And it turns out that demand response, local storage, and distributed generation are among the best 'dance partners' to ensure we can reliably integrate renewable energy resources into the grid.”
Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), "Remarks of FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff CAISO "10/7/09

“To get a greener grid, you need a Smart Grid. Solar and wind power are necessary and desirable components of a cleaner energy future. To make the grid run cleaner, it will take a grid capable of dealing with the variable nature of these renewable resources.”
U.S. Department of Energy, "The Smart Grid: An Introduction," 2008

“The Smart Grid empowers consumers to control their own carbon footprints.”
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), "Electric Industry Concerns on the Reliability Impacts of Climate Change Initiatives," November 2008

The Green Smart Grid Initiative
GSGI is supported by the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid (ADS) and the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition (DRSG). 
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