Why Smart Grid?
What is smart grid?
Smart grid refers to a next-generation electric grid that allows electricity suppliers and consumers to share information in real time, using information technology, to maximize energy efficiency, accommodate all generation and storage options and anticipate and respond to system disturbances in a self-healing manner.
The market for smart grid enabling technologies in the U.S. is projected to grow to $17 billion per year by 2014 from today’s $6 billion. Globally, the market for smart grid technologies is expected to grow to $171 billion by 2014, up from $70 billion in 2009 (SBI Energy).
Smart grid technologies have the potential to create new, green economy jobs.
- Up to 280,000 new jobs can be created nationally directly from the deployment of smart grid technologies, in addition to enabling a substantial number of indirect jobs through the deployment of new technologies (GridWise Alliance).
- Every $1 billion of investment in smart grid technology is projected to propel $100 billion in GDP growth (Apollo Alliance).
Clean-energy investments create 16.7 jobs for every $1 million in spending; investing in fossil fuels, by contrast, generates 5.3 jobs per $1 million in spending. Illinois could see a net increase of about $6.6 billion in investment revenue and 70,000 jobs based on its share of a total of $150 billion in annual national clean- energy investments (Center for American Progress).
Smart grid also has the potential to produce climate benefits. As old buildings become more energy efficient, clean energy sources — wind, solar and hydroelectric power — are integrated into a smarter electric grid and electric vehicles are adopted.
Illinois is home to over 1,800 megawatts of wind generation capacity, which is enough to power more than 500,000 homes with clean, emissions-free electricity (Illinois Wind Energy Association).
In the U.S., buildings account for 38% of all CO2 emissions. Buildings also represent 72% of U.S electricity consumption (U.S. Green Building Council).
As the result of the Chicago Climate Action Plan, 15,000 dwelling units and 400 commercial and industrial buildings have been retrofitted for energy efficiency. Two hundred buildings have also been permitted under the new Chicago energy code since April 2009 (City of Chicago).